Microsoft Azure: powering Australia’s “Netflix of Education” – ClickView

Video within the education sector once had a very poor reputation. It was seen as lazy teaching built upon old school media formats like VHS and even DVD. But for Evan Clark, Founder and CEO of ClickView, video represented a whole new way in which teachers could engage with students, especially digital natives.

ClickView is a great Australian innovation story. Dubbed the “Netflix of education” the Sydney-based company is delivering a cloud-based video library to educational institutions throughout Australia and now, supported by Microsoft Azure, throughout the world.

The organisation’s business is built around delivering educational video content to schools, directly linked to the Australian Curriculum and key learning outcomes. Its content is designed to complement existing teaching methods, not replace whole lessons.

As well as storing and delivering videos via the Internet, it also develops and produces its own content in a production studio in Melbourne and supports the development and storage of teacher and student created content. The tagging of the created content to the syllabus is a unique selling point for ClickView as it grows throughout the world.

The company existed before the cloud, starting life in 2003 as an on-premise streaming solution for schools that required a software install and a server. But when ClickView made a move to Azure in 2012 it was a move that would catapult it into the growth cycle that sees it reach hundreds of schools across the world.

Having previously built its cloud storage platform on AWS, ClickView moved to Azure when it launched in 2012. It was seen as an opportunity to align to the rest of its business, which was already using a lot of Microsoft technology. Among other things it also enabled the company to have virtual Windows Servers sitting in a kind of almost identical manner, just on the cloud.

Evan Clark, CEO of ClickView said: “Schools are passionate about one thing, educating our children. They’re not concerned with providing top IT infrastructure, they don’t want to allocate often limited resources to worrying about things like server availability, uptime, storage and redundancy. By taking this responsibility away from them they have more time to spend on teaching, and innovating new teaching methods based around video learning.”

But the next step on this journey for Evan and his team is the launch of ClickView Live, a safe and easy way for schools to securely live stream important events with student, parents, alumni and the wider school community in real-time. The product has been built entirely on Microsoft Azure leveraging the Azure Media Services platform, specifically tools like Media Services Live Encoding.

Azure Media Services enables an on-demand, full HD, video streaming platform that’s built specifically for the requirements of schools wanting to stream out school assemblies, awards nights, sporting events.  Using ClickView, schools can stream to any parent, any offsite teacher or any offsite student.

It doesn’t matter whether or not to they are using a mobile device or a desktop.  They can embed these streams within their school website or they can embed the stream within their learning management system.

ClickView Live is already being used by some of the biggest schools in Australia. For example, The King’s School in Parramatta has recently been able to live-stream its End of Year awards night to parents in rural areas, touring rugby teams and those students which had already returned home for Christmas. It is truly a life-changing innovation, bringing families closer to their children’s education. Mark Kelly, Head of Media at The King’s School was very impressed with this new service: “We wanted to have an ability to live stream events that are important for our community to see. The only option that we had, really, was ClickView. ClickView Live is a tool we want to use across every aspect of The King’s School.”

“The power of Azure Media Services integrated with the application and storage hosting of Azure has been a godsend, both for our customers and for us as we look to continue to grow internationally” said Evan Clark

As the company gears for continued growth, Evan Clark is glad to have Microsoft Azure in his corner: “We’re looking to continue to grow our business in the US and Canada, both key markets for us. Without Microsoft Azure and its ability to scale across the globe it would make this growth opportunity much more difficult.”

Sahan Wimalasiri, Infrastructure Administrator at Click View, elaborated on how the cloud has accelerated this growth cycle: “Microsoft Azure enables us to be up and running in new schools, regions and countries with the click of a button. With video delivery via the cloud, potential customers can be set-up and using our product immediately.”

“The Microsoft name and the familiarity that comes with it is a big boon when it comes to talking with schools and educating them about this solution. Further than that though we are seeing that a lot of schools are already on the Office 365 platform. We can integrate with that to provide a single-sign on service. We can also offer Azure Active Directory reintegration with the ClickView Feed,” said Sahan.

Schools around the country (and world) are signing up to the service in droves and thanks to Azure, ClickView is in a great position to satisfy this demand through the cloud. With innovations like ClickView Live being steadily rolled-out, the future is certainly bright for this Australian business.

The company has also recently released a Windows 10 Universal App – download it here.

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