Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ad Hoc Live Streaming Test

We are starting to see demand for Live Streaming services.
IT has a project underway that will address that formally.  High quality, fancy equipment and all that.

This is not that project.

We decided to take a little time to test out cheap/free solutions to suggest to our clients while we waited for the big "everything communications" project (somewhere around 2014).

We tested 5 tools - Elluminate, Google Hangouts, vTok (for the iPad), UStream, and ooVoo

Yes - I know that some of these tools aren't designed to do live streaming, but we had it lying around.

Also - Skype was taken out of consideration because of security issues.  
People use it anyway - but IT is reserving the right to point and laugh when they have a security issue.

We asked our audience for feedback on the following:
- Video latency - Does the video freeze?  Look jerky?
- Audio latency - Does the audio stop?  Do I get "chipmunking"?
- Ease of access
- Does it freeze the computer?
- Any comments regarding features and user experience.

Testing Protocol
We decided it would be fun to use a game of indoor bocce for the test.

This allowed us to test the following:
- Motion
- Visibility from standard "speaker" distance of faces AND (hopefully) PowerPoint presentations
- Audio from standard "speaker" distance

And how often do you get an entire abandoned space to play in that still has power and wireless?
We had to do SOMETHING fun before we all moved out ;)

Testing environment considerations- This space is in the basement of a dorm.  With all the kids. And their movie streaming.  We felt that this provided the best "worst-case scenario" short of a hotel ballroom (which this space used to be).

- Relative video quality - we are using different web camera setups. We plan to run another test focused on web cameras later.

- Relative audio quality - again, we are using different microphone setups.  We plan to run another test focused on audio input devices later.
We will have the results of these tests in a later post.  And maybe video :)

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