Case Study

Blue Ribbon Task Force Symposium Reaches out to a Global Audience with VIDIZMO Live Webcast!

The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access was formed in late 2007 to explore one of the most urgent issues of the information age i.e. Identifying Economically Sustainable Solutions to the Challenges of Preserving the Ever-Growing Amount of Digitally Based Data. The Task Force is funded by the National Science Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in partnership with the Library of Congress, the Joint Information Systems Committee of the United Kingdom (JISC), the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), and supported by Task Force member institutions.

Business situation

To meet the economic challenges of preserving today’s deluge of digital data, Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) conducts annual symposium on economic sustainability of digital information. This year the event was planned to be hosted by Microsoft Corporation on April 1, 2010 in Washington DC.

The symposium went on board with the presence of renowned industry professionals such as Hal R. Varian, Chief Economist at Google, William G. Bowen President Emeritus at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fran Berman, Vice President for Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Thomas Kalil from the Executive Office of the President of the United States. The conversation covered wide range of topics from research data to the commercially owned cultural content including a panel discussion on the topic of The Economics of Digital Information.

The challenge was to capture and host the whole day symposium for an unanticipated audience, and the attendance was expected to be colossal due to the significance of the event. “The response to the symposium has been extraordinary – we filled all the seats in just a few days,” stated Francine Berman, co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

The deadline was short and BRTF required quickly implementable, cost effective solution, vital features requested by BRTF included interactive chat between the presenter and the audience, and simple playback. The tool was required to be handy and portable to capture the complete floor.

Additionally, BRTF wanted to make symposium recordings available for those unable to attend or wanted to revisit the knowledge stream, “We wanted to both webcast the conversations and provide video after the symposium on the Task Force website to share the information with the widest possible audience.” said Francine Berman. For this, they needed recording feature in the webcast tool, with the capability to edit recorded version later to remove any anomaly during the event.

Further, seeing the profiles of the anticipated audience, the tool required being simple with ideally no learning curve.


The Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) symposium, decided to use live presenter & recorder, a product of Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and technology innovator, VIDIZMO. The technology was introduced to the BRTF team through Shaun O’Conner, Microsoft US Federal Government, Solution Specialist, “The event required end to end Microsoft solution for capturing, streaming, recording, and preserving for on-demand replay of this all day event.” said Shaun.

Within limited timeframe, VIDIZMO came up with a quick implementation and deployment of the solution for BRTF requirements. The personalized homepage devoted to BRTF promoted symposium agenda and allowed quick registration of the live webcast for anyone, around the globe.

VIDIZMO’s Live Presenter & Recorder, built on Silverlight 3 offered instant availability to the audience using any web browser of their choice and on any platform, with no additional hardware/software installation. The application hosted and served using Windows Azure provided greater flexibility and scalability; the live webcast was delivered to the audience without any glitch or degradation, providing rich user experience in a user friendly environment, throughout the symposium. “The webcast seemed to go very smoothly, I haven’t heard that anyone had any problems connecting to It.” complemented Brian Lavoie, Research Scientist and OCLC.

The unique blends of features enabled synchronizing live video with PowerPoint slides, videos, sounds, captions, and quiz forms, and allowed interactive discussion between the presenters and attendees during the symposium through live chat option.

VIDIZMO Live Presenter & Recorder used Microsoft Windows Azure to webcast live interactive video content through Microsoft datacenters to meet the dynamic requirements in real time without compromising the high-definition video quality. Further, with Windows Azure, VIDIZMO delivered the event at remarkably reduced cost as compared to other vendors and with no efforts on IT management, using a single camera and streaming encoder. “The event webcasting seemed to go effortlessly. We were so pleased to have VIDIZMO and we were quite impressed to experience an event without any technical glitches.” said, Susan Rathbun, San Diego Supercomputing Center.

The 508(c) compliant recordings of the live webcast were made available instantly, “I was pleased that you were able to get the recordings up on the web so quickly.” said Brian Lavoie. An extremely short span in which the whole day recordings were edited and published on BRTF’s online homepage for public viewing, received great appreciation.

The use of smart technologies and the dedicated BRTF and VIDIZMO teams collaborated together to led symposium to the success, online and on-site. On the whole, the event was an achievement and success for both, BRTF and VIDIZMO. “It’s a great team and it was a great Symposium. Kudos to all!” applauded Francine Berman, Vice President for Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


High scalability and agility

Live presenter and recorder served utilizing Windows Azure, provided high scalability and gave agility to scale up or down based on number of enrollments in the channel. Powered by robust processing and storage capabilities, offered using Microsoft datacenters, Windows Azure facilitated presenters to showcase synchronized information (PowerPoint slides) with live video webcast without deploying or configuring any physical hardware. Highly scalable and web-based offering enabled us to cater the growing registrations in least time and with no additional cost.

Customization with no Deployment

Ready to use, web based, Live presenter & recorder was made available quickly for the symposium webcast, VIDIZMO support team worked with BRTF team to set-up customized homepage for BRTF to target and register attendees for the live webcast. With a one click sign-up process, BRTF gathered information from event registrants and allowed free access to the live webcast. The live presenter & recorder alleviating huge infrastructure management and maintenance, with no hardware or software deployment, won BRTF’s approval and confidence.

Cost Effectiveness

The shift to Windows Azure gave us the option to deliver live webcast in a Software plus Services model without costly IT or infrastructure investment, with a single, ordinary camera. Built in storage and computing capabilities provided by Windows Azure, ensures us to save average 80 percent of hardware investment and offered highly scalable environment on cloud. With all these savings we were able to provide BRTF with a non-recurring, flat rate pricing inclusive of all the customized services and support obtained during the live session.

Flexible and Rich User Experience

The high-definition live video webcast supported by Silverlight, produced rich user experience and put across Blue Ribbon Task Force’s message in an unprecedented method to invoke interest. Symposium recordings were quickly furnished for BRTF team to take a look and suggest changes. Within 24 hours of the event, interactive video files of the recorded sessions with searchable tags, closed captions, replaced forms, recorded chat and synchronized content, were made available to the public – for sign-up and play!

Products and services used

  • VIDIZMO Live Presenter & Recorder
  • VIDIZMO Player

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