- Today in Vienna the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF and Microsoft have unveiled details around a technology partnership.
- The Eurovision Song Contest as the world’s largest TV entertainment show crosses the bridge to a new era in technology through the use of numerous innovations from Microsoft.
- The partnership in detail: Microsoft Azure, an open, flexible, enterprise-grade cloud platform, will be used for sharing video with more than 45 broadcaster worldwide and providing video on demand; Azure will also host the official Eurovision Song Contest app. To coordinate 800 staff, 1,300 international delegates and 800 volunteers Yammer and Lumia 535 smartphones and Eurovision Song Contest apps will be used.
With nearly 200 million viewers, the Eurovision Song Contest is not just the world’s biggest TV entertainment show. It also presents enormous technological challenges with regard to voting, real-time data transmission and coordinating more than 1,700 journalists, 800 volunteers, countless TV stations and other partners. The “Building Bridges” theme underscores the goal to transcend geographical and cultural boundaries through technology. “The theme fits very well into Microsoft’s philosophy. After all, our cloud-based services and technologies are breaking down barriers each and every day by connecting people around the world and helping them achieve more,” said Georg Obermeier, CEO of Microsoft Austria.
Microsoft as bridge builder into a new Eurovision Song Contest age
Microsoft Austria CEO Georg Obermeier proudly declares, which Microsoft technologies are used in the Eurovision Song Contest: “We are deeply honoured to have the privilege of working on a major event such as the Eurovision Song Contest and make it the best one yet. Azure, our enterprise-grade cloud platform, will help fans enjoy video on demand and bring content to 40 broadcast partners around the world – in addition, Azure will host the official Eurovision Song Contest app, which will help almost 200 million viewers in more than 45 countries keep tabs on and vote for their favourite acts. Also, we’re thrilled that Yammer and our Lumia smartphones will keep the international Eurovision Song Contest team seamlessly connected as they put on this unforgettable experience.”
The technology partnership at a glance
- Yammer supports the Eurovision Song Contest production team in its efforts to plan and coordinate before and during the show. Here, Yammer serves as a platform for disseminating and exchanging all the information required to stage the contest and acts as an important feedback channel.
- Microsoft Azure cloud platform is a collection of integrated services – compute, storage, data, networking and app – and forms the backbone of the IT infrastructure behind the Eurovision Song Contest. Azure data storage, media services and web site solutions offer the production team a means to create a video database for exchanging with 45 partner broadcaster throughout the world and the uninterrupted operation of a video on demand solution.
- Apps also play a major role in the matter of communicating with nearly 200 million viewers from more than 45 countries, 1,300 delegates from 40 participating countries, 800 volunteers and 1,000 staff. Consequently, the official Eurovision Song Contest app constantly keeps fans informed of the latest developments in Europe’s most popular TV show, and transforms the end-user’s particular device into a screen with live updates during the show. What’s more, the app – which will be available in the second half of April on Windows platform and subsequently on Android and iOS – enables users to participate in the vote faster and more easily than ever before. In addition to apps for the viewers, a further, dedicated Eurovision Song Contest application for internal use makes communication and the work processes of all those involved in organizing the event that much easier. More than 500,000 simultaneous users will be handled by the apps running on Microsoft Azure cloud platform as the back-end.
- Lumia 535 smartphones for 800 volunteers: The volunteers are close to the action, at the same time, they look behind the scenes of the Eurovision Song Contest and offer guidance and support to delegations from all over Europe and journalists from all over the world – true to the motto: “Building Bridges”. To ensure they can do their best in carrying out this task, they are always kept up-to-date and have all the necessary information they require, Microsoft will be providing the volunteers and delegations with a total of 800 Lumia 535 smartphones. In addition to the many integrated Microsoft features, the Lumia 535 offers a 5-megapixel front-end camera and a 5-megapixel main camera. With its large 5-inch screen and 1 GB memory, the Smartphone opens up all kinds of possibilities for users, making it an ideal companion at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Innovative solutions for the challenges of the world´s biggest TV-event
The Eurovision Song Contest demonstrates impressively the challenges in organization and communication associated with an event of this magnitude in a networked world. “The biggest advantage of Microsoft is the ability to adapt its innovations and technologies to the needs and demands, which the Eurovision Song Contest brings with it”, underlines Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest from the European Broadcasting Union. “We have a reliable partner with Microsoft, which has fully convinced us and met all of our requirements with innovative solutions at the highest level. Thus we make sure that the Eurovision Song Contest, on the motto of ‘Building Bridges‘, breaks in a new age of technology.”
Microsoft is a bridge builder which supports the digital transformation
“At Microsoft, we are dedicated to helping people achieve more as a mobile-first, cloud-first company, and the alliance with the Eurovision Song Contest allows us to beautifully illustrate what this means. With our mobile technology – including powerful, yet affordable, Lumia handsets coupled with apps like Yammer – even teams working internationally under tight deadlines can work seamlessly, anytime, anywhere. And, with our cloud, any organization can quickly scale to meet demand, even if it’s around one of the biggest international entertainment events of the year”, Microsoft Austria’s CEO Obermeier added in conclusion.
- Current information about the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna http://www.eurovision.tv and http://songcontest.orf.at
- Pictures on http://presse.orf.at (registration required) and http://www.eurovision.tv/press
- Pictures of the press conference http://1drv.ms/1y3Sybg
- More about Microsoft technologies and gadgets for the Eurovision Song Contest: Lumia 535, Microsoft Azure, Yammer
- Please note Eurovision Song Contest picture credits before using.
- Photocredits for the press conference © ORF and for the Microsoft technologies and gadgets: © Microsoft, Printing for the press is free of charge