Saratov24

Powered with: Swift Cocoa Touch, RxSwift, Java, Kotlin, Android SDK, RxJava, ASP.NET WebAPI, AngularJS, Swift, REST, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Azure

Customer

Saratov24 TV, an independent television station broadcasts to over 2 million people in Saratov region. Saratov24 telecasts news, movies, and a wide variety of unique programs and shows 24 hours daily that captivates aspects of life and business throughout the whole region.

Challenge

New content is updated and refreshed to go live every 10 minutes, including news, interviews, shows, and special programs. The customer required a solution to streamline on-demand content delivery for smart device access to their regional audience. All live shows and stored content had to be instantaneously accessible. Also, another priority included push-notifications and direct audience feedback sharing the mobile applications.

The Journey

Meetings were conducted with Olga Khashnutdinova, CEO of Saratov24 to discuss her vision and concepts for the system and mobile interfaces. We explored all aspects of the system, everything from infrastructure, services and especially the User experience. The managing board of Saratov24 had been speaking with several other software development companies including GSPD. We faced competition who had proven track records and strong project portfolios involving content management, web design, and mobile projects. Olga and the managing board finally selected us due to our holistic approach to the entire system and the business outcomes they wanted to achieve. Olga said they chose GSPD because we are: "trustworthy and passionate".

The Solution

Our solution principle simply is:

Even if the solution involves complexity - the solution should simplify things.

The customer already had in place established processes for publishing content and structured file formats for Program Schedules and all media. It was important to understand how we should design the system to ensure it will re-use and extend the existing infrastructure and not add or alter existing processes that would burden Saratov24 content managers. We performed a thorough analysis of the business processes related to all objectives within the scope of the project. Working on-site with the Saratov24 team we mainly focused on:

  • All aspects of programming and scheduling,
  • Methods for building and publishing their TV schedule,
  • File formats used for storing and streaming all content,
  • All aspects of how various types of content is managed,
  • All aspects of storage, network and security infrastructure.

The Implementation

The product we developed from scratch consists of three modules:
  • Native mobile applications for iOS and Android,
  • The content management system (CMS),
  • Back-end services featuring a RESTful server, database, e-mail server and push-notifications hub.

The Mobile applications let you watch programs and shows on-demand keeping the user informed with the latest news, and ability to share comments directly with Saratov24 team, plus the capability to get sneak peeks of upcoming programming through push notifications.

The iOS application was designed according to Apple human interface guidelines aka “HIG”. We created a minimalistic and functional interface that is clean and easy to navigate. Technologies we used include Swift, Cocoa Touch, RxSwift, Moya, YouTube Helper Library, and HLS streaming.

The Android application shows the perfection of Google material design. It works on most of Android devices starting from 4.0.3. We used Java, Kotlin, Android SDK, RxJava, YouTube Android Player API and HLS streaming.

We applied a strong focus on usability and simplicity of the content management system (CMS) User paths were designed to be short and straightforward. The learning curve is tiny. Content managers:

  • Define which content is available on mobile platform,
  • Set banners and other properties for a particular show,
  • TV schedules are uploaded automatically for upcoming weeks,
  • Fire push-notifications for promotions,
  • Automated tracking of feedback from users.

Also, the CMS is equipped with a user management system and authorization module. Users are invited and managed by the super admin. Only Saratov24 personnel have access to the system. The CMS is powered with JS and AngularJS.

The back-end we built is the engine supporting all the amazing features described above. The back-end is the cornerstone of the entire solution and was designed with scalability and extensibility in mind. The back-end is deployed in Microsoft Azure cloud and utilizes Microsoft SQL Server and SendGrid. The REST API and business logic is implemented in C# and uses ASP.NET Web API framework.

The Results

We delivered the full solution to Saratov24 TV in 6 weeks! We collaborated step by step with the customer through the entire exciting journey:

  • We developed the complete specification from scratch within a few days,
  • We prepared and presented visual designs within one week,
  • We rapidly built, tested in parallel, and published the beta within four weeks,
  • A final release build was tested, accepted and published at six weeks.

Highlights include:

The solution works smoothly with the existing TV schedule process supporting with no change to any file format. Once every two weeks a content manager uploads the current file and the system fills out the TV program schedule automatically for all upcoming weeks. The solution provides automated validation so there is no way to upload “broken” data. The system will block erroneous files and will point to the exact line that contains the error.

Content management is highly streamlined saving hours of time previously spent building schedules and managing content. Our solution was designed to integrate tightly with Saratov24 media and metadata storage.

Investing time upfront to learn about the customer’s business was key to developing a great design. We did not end up building “just another redundant system”. Instead, our product naturally compliments the existing infrastructure and process. We assisted the customer in publishing the apps to App Store and Google Play. We also trained the Saratov24 content managers so they could immediately put to work all key benefits of the solution. GSPD provides Saratov24 with post-release support and maintenance on an ongoing basis.

We are thankful for this great opportunity, and we loved working with the Saratov24 TV channel team!

We were looking to engage a service provider with live video streaming implementation background to develop a mobile app and a CMS. The solution was to work as a marketing tool facilitating the IPTV service provision for Saratov 24 TV. We selected GSPD because we felt confident they had the expertise and would do the project on time within budget. Nick and his team at GSPD provided excellent service quality, and were very efficient collaborating with us. Their project management process was completely transparent and we could count on their reliability. The entire project went very smooth and we are looking forward to working with GSPD again on other projects.

Olga Khasnutdinova‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

CEO at Kit Media, LLC
Saratov, Russia