Freeman: Redefining Live for the New Era of Events

May 19, 2021 by
Man with headphones listening to a live audio stream.
 

Going Entirely Virtual With Custom Streaming Technology

In a world where the end-user experience dictates which brands make it, Freeman leverages a 100-year legacy in event management to connect businesses with their audiences. Freeman powers their virtual and hybrid events with live and on-demand streaming, which allowed them to quickly adapt during the pandemic.

   

Accommodated a

3,000%+

increase in average streaming hours per month.

Transitioned to a

100%

virtual event space overnight.

Now streaming approximately

95,000 hours

of content each month.

 

Case Study Snapshot

Challenges: Solutions: Outcomes:
  • Needed an immediately scalable solution to accommodate a 3,000%+ increase in streaming hours.
  • Required advanced functionality for real-time text and audio translations within an interactive streaming experience.
  • Sought to address these needs and achieve additional customization without expanding their in-house team.
Wowza Streaming Cloud

 

Wowza Streaming Engine

 

Logo: Wowza Professional Services

 

  • Leveraged Wowza to stream prerecorded files as though live, thereby delivering on client expectations without bringing on additional staff.
  • Enlisted engineering expertise to build a custom platform supporting multiple in-player language selections during a live broadcast.
  • Partnered with our Professional Services team to architect these unique configurations, which are now being built into Wowza’s future product offerings.
 

Digitally Transforming in the Face of a Crisis

When in-person events became a physical impossibility in early 2020, it didn’t stop the global leader in events from delivering on client needs. Freeman effortlessly transitioned to a 100% virtual provider during the pandemic. Although live streaming had long been a part of their offering, it became their bread and butter overnight.

Conferences, trade shows, product launches, and roadshows all went virtual. While Freeman already powered their video infrastructure with Wowza, swiftly scaling to deliver solid viewing experiences for all of their clients was no simple feat.

“The problem we were trying to solve was: How can we transition from a company that primarily has events production experience to offering large-scale streaming support for our clients? And how do we do that without requiring a significant change in our labor?” explains Niccolo Castrataro, manager of digital media at Freeman. “We also had to support this shift through hundreds of streams happening in a single week, without necessarily being able to hire hundreds of streaming engineers.”

And so, Freeman began using the Wowza Streaming Cloud service to schedule hundreds of pre-recorded videos for playback as though live. This allowed them to stream thousands of hours of video at the same time without expanding in-house staff. They benefited from the agility to deliver on client expectations while keeping costs down.

“The systems and APIs built into Wowza Streaming Cloud made it very easy for us to schedule hundreds of videos for playback at a time. Counting on this system to reliably start up the scheduled playback and begin streaming required almost no labor on our part,” says Castrataro. “We didn’t need operators watching over encoders or setting up each individual output.”

 
A man attending a virtual event sitting in front of laptop.
 

Connecting Global Communities With Real-Time Interactivity

In the digitally delivered event space, there are no boundaries to connecting with your audience. But keeping viewers engaged requires delivering a dynamic experience that end-users can control. With events crippled by COVID-19, Freeman redefined the industry and reinvested in future opportunities.  

Freeman sought to power an interactive virtual business solution that supported eleven simultaneous translations and captioning options. This would allow users to combine English captions with Spanish audio or Japanese captions with French audio, depending on their needs.

In addition to requiring a custom solution for this multi-lingual feature, low-latency content delivery was key. The audio and text translations needed to be created and broadcast concurrently with the live source.

“We engaged with Wowza’s Professional Services group to support low-latency streaming to thousands of attendees with in-player language selection for eleven simultaneous translations and multiple live stenographer captioning options,” explains Felipe Giannazzo, Freeman’s media solutions designer.

“With no comparable existing service, we collaborated with Wowza to deliver an interactive experience to union delegates across the country, allowing users to conduct their business virtually during the height of the pandemic using a new custom-built web platform. Almost a full year later, Freeman continues to offer services to many of the largest unions in the United States utilizing our Online Parliamentary Tool.”

 
A woman in front of a desktop computer with headphones on participating in an interactive live event via low-latency streaming.
 

Making Moments That Matter Today and in the Future

By embracing change and reinvesting in future opportunities, Freeman survived the biggest disrupter of the 21st century: COVID-19. And beyond just meeting their customers’ demands, the event powerhouse worked with Wowza to redefine the industry with innovative live streaming solutions.

Wowza and Freeman partnered to architect unique configurations for multi-lingual event capabilities, which are now being built into the Wowza Streaming Cloud service. Freeman also continues to rely on Wowza’s technology for scheduled playback, simulcasting, video processing, and more.

Beyond just using Wowza’s products in their tech stack, Freeman relies on our streaming engineers as an extension of their in-house staff. This gives them the tools to tackle whatever comes their way — now and as we transition into the new normal.

 

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About Traci Ruether

As a Colorado-based B2B tech writer, Traci Ruether serves as Wowza's content marketing manager. Her background is in streaming and content delivery. Aside from writing, Traci enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending quality time with her kith and kin. Follow her… View more