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Launch of new Streaming Media Service (SMS) platform delayed

The launch of the new SMS platform has been delayed until October at the earliest. This is disappointing news for everyone, especially given the fragility of the current service.

Earlier this month, we asked you to reserve the SMS for business-critical uploads only. This was intended to be a short-term solution to bridge the gap until the new service went live in August. 

Given the regrettable additional delay, we understand that content owners need an alternative way to continue to share their content with University colleagues and the general public until the new platform is available. There are several University-provided solutions available to you.

Temporary alternatives to the SMS

Sharing media within Cambridge

University staff and students all have access to Microsoft Stream, which lets you upload and share media as part of the University tenancy’s library (log in to your University Microsoft account to view):

  • Microsoft Stream – streaming media player 
    Stream is a streaming media player service. It is integrated with Teams and the other Microsoft 365 apps. It has a web interface, allowing Cambridge staff and students to find media available within the University’s Microsoft tenancy. You can create your own channels (collections) and grant access to either named individuals or staff and students within the Cambridge Microsoft tenancy and any external guests that have been added to it.

Sharing Media with the public

If you decide to use YouTube in the interim, there is a tool to quickly import your YouTube content to the new SMS platform so it will be easy to include it in the University’s new collection (Media.cam) in future.

  • YouTube 
    You have access to YouTube as part of your University of Cambridge Google account. You will need to add YouTube to your account if it is not visible. Uploading to YouTube lets you share your media publicly (although it does have the drawback of including advertising). You can create personal or group-managed channels.

File storage services that let you create sharing links

While file storage services are not the same as streaming media players, you can upload media files and create sharing links with permissions to allow viewing and/or downloading. OneDrive for Business (unlimited storage) and Google Drive (20GB space) are available to you via your University Microsoft and Google accounts. DropBox for Business (unlimited storage) is a paid-for service, available at a reduced rate to University users. 

What's caused the delay?

The SMS uses an organisation and permissions model that reflects the University’s federated nature. The new platform comes preconfigured with some, but not all, of the user roles we need. Similarly, we have asked the vendor to use the University’s organisational structure within the solution and to ensure that all users are correctly mapped into the organisations to which they belong. This is to ensure that our users can view any content protected by Raven and/or restricted to organisations of which they are members. It has recently become apparent, however, that this requires more development work than originally anticipated by the vendor. 

After completing their detailed discovery work to understand the scale of the challenge and design their technical approach, the vendor has notified us that they will need to extend the delivery timeline. The estimated delivery date is now October 2022.   
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Published: 27 July 2022

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