Behind the Eurovision stage with Yammer and Azure

With around 180 million viewers every year, more than 40 countries participating and 60 editions to-date, the Eurovision Song Contest is without a doubt one of the biggest and most popular European TV shows ever created. With size, however, comes a need for deep planning, communication and interaction between the organizers. This year, the Eurovision team has opted for Microsoft’s Yammer and Azure Media Services to facilitate collaboration and to seamlessly run the show accross borders, cultures and digital platforms.

“People from all over Europe, and even Australia, this time, are responsible for the success of the Song Contest. They therefore rely on tools which anyone can use, which run on any device and which support them intuitively in their work. With our solutions, we ensure that information is shared and exchanged easily and securely – whether as a video stream of the rehearsals, the arrival time of a singer at the airport or as an up-to-date call sheet, showing when and where you are needed.”

Lukas Keller, Director of the Developer & Platform Group and member of the Managing Board of Microsoft Austria

Collaborating with Yammer at every step of the show…

Planning and orchestrating an event of the calibre and scale of the Eurovision Song Contest requires an extraordinary amount of updates and exchanges, as well as around-the-clock access to planning resources and data. With Yammer, any timetable, task, security message or piece of advice can be shared, distributed and discussed digitally and in real time with hundreds of organizers from around the world. In addition to making it easier to quickly bring teams together and instantly share information, Yammer also provides a “greener” alternative to traditional event planning, by eliminating the need for printed documents.

Yammer use

Another advantage is that users don‘t need any special readers to open documents, and the browser-based exchange is possible from any mobile device (whether iPhone, BlackBerry, Android or Windows Phone), or even from kiosk terminals.

“If you want to see community at work, you’ll find it here. We are growing within just a few weeks from 20 to 800 users. That’s only possible with cultural technology that everyone knows.”

Philip Lauda from the ORF production team

Even just a year ago in Copenhagen, it was all very different. Communication still took place via email and blogs, which restricted security and the design possibilities, as Martin Zimmermann, Specialist for Communication Solutions at Microsoft, explains: “With Yammer, we are providing an interactive communication network as a cloud service, which can be put into operation from one day to the next.“

…with Azure Media Services at the heart of it

Coordinating 800 staff, 1,300 international delegates and 800 volunteers requires flexible solutions and the best tools available. Microsoft Azure forms the backbone of the IT infrastructure behind the Eurovision Song Contest, and with Azure Media Services, videos can be both uploaded and streamed to any platform or device, with the appropriate quality and bandwidth. The platform is managed across data centres in both Amsterdam and Dublin, automatically scaled, creates intelligent backup of the data, monitors the response times, coordinates the traffic and protects the website.

“The functionality that ORF receives from Microsoft here is something which perhaps only two or three solutions in the world are currently capable of. What is really exciting is that it runs on the cloud platform and is completely organised to be a platform as a service. This means that our customers don’t have to concern themselves with anything technical, since Microsoft takes care of that – in addition, the services are highly scalable and always available.”

Lukas Keller, Director of the Developer & Platform Group and member of the Managing Board of Microsoft Austria

Microsoft Azure will be used for sharing Eurovision videos with more than 45 broadcasters worldwide and providing video on demand, taking the Eurovision Song Contest to a new era of technology and helping the show shine on the global stage. Azure also hosts the official Eurovision Song Contest app to help all the fans get the most out of the experience (read more about the Eurovision app).

Can’t get enough Eurovision? Read more about the Eurovision partnership here.


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