Learning made easy with AJA-powered streaming

How can educators overcome the technical hurdles of streaming seamlessly?

When it comes to supporting the education market, technology sits at the heart of shaping the learning experience. At the start of the pandemic, the entire education market faced an in-house communications roadblock, driving the sector into the streaming world to harness remote working and learning. This trend shows no sign of disappearing as the world reopens.

Robert Stacy, Asia Pacific general manager, AJA, explains: “In the first year [of the pandemic], a lot of institutions implemented ‘band-aid’ solutions to react quickly, but with greater familiarity with the process and the power of streaming, many institutions are looking to implement more sophisticated kinds of solutions. Remote hybrid education is here to stay to make the model of education more successful.

“AJA has always had a portfolio of streaming and recording products to meet this need. You need to communicate en-masse in the classroom or remotely and we have the ability to offer solutions that meet that need.”

One standout product that offers flexibility for educators to simplify complex remote and in-house streaming needs is AJA’s latest offering: HeloPlus.

HeloPlus allows for simultaneous camera inputs that can be mixed into a graphics layering engine, offering dual outputs and layering graphics on top as well as sizing independent video inputs to the required scale.

Stacy says: “When you are encoding outputs, you can set up independent profiles for each, such as an RTMP output for streaming to the web and an HLS output to stream to a network within a campus facility.

“You also have group mode, which allows multiple HeloPlus devices to be controlled simultaneously under the direction of one HeloPlus as a master control. If you’re working with multiple cameras or language outputs, you can trigger the master to allow the subunits to follow and stream simultaneously.”

Simplified streaming

Of course, a technology-centric education industry means that lecturers and education staff require systems that are easy to use, even with limited familiarity. For AJA, this thinking sits at the heart of product design.

Stacy says: “We have a record and a stream button so at the most basic operational level, we allow people to hit stream and it’s streaming or recording at the same time. It’s really simple and you can also use a web UI to use the product and a rest API that allows users to build custom control with a control system such as a Crestron.”

SRT is also supported to allow remote lecturers to contribute an SRT feed into an external encoder with the use of AJA’s Bridge Live product to stream to multiple destinations and NDI.

“In larger scale setups, where a remote lecturer is required, they can be set up in a remote location with a HeloPlus, transmitting that feed via SRT and going into a Bridge Live which converts that feed back into an SDI output or NDI network.

“There is also a scheduler which can pre-plan the starting and stopping of recording, integrating with Google Calendar, ICS and other services. It also integrates with our Keypro recorder systems which records in a high resolution per res format, allowing you to record in high resolution, stream and record to H.264 with HeloPlus, then you can trigger the KeyPro Ultra 12G to trigger the HeloPlus and simultaneously do all of these things.

“AJA Video has always been the Rosetta Stone of video signals and we try to make tools that have a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ nature. You’re solving what seems like a really simple problem, taking video signals and streaming it to people, but there is a lot of sophistication and subtlety that goes into that. While the products do something that is quite complex, we do this through a very simple UI that even a layperson has the ability to use the product.”

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