Innovative Use of Wowza Streams In-Room Entertainment for 30,000 Cruise Ship Cabins

Digital communication on cruise ships is not the first scenario that comes to mind when it comes to content streaming, but it’s crucial for crew members to transmit safety videos, weather updates, and emergency broadcasts to passengers, not to mention, provide high-definition in-cabin entertainment.

UIEvolution has used Wowza media server technology in a novel and innovative way– to stream content reliably and securely to tens of thousands of screens, ranging from in-room TVs to digital signs, aboard cruise ships.

Such a solution needed to be hosted locally, work with the hardware (e.g. smart TVs, set-top boxes, and other OTT devices) that the cruise line used, deliver fast and reliable video and audio streaming at sea, and be flexible enough to evolve. To do so, UIEvolution utilized Wowza Streaming Engine software to power its ExperienceManager platform across a variety of cruise ships.

The resulting platform can be deployed on-premises and features a centralized infrastructure. Each cruise ship has two dedicated servers, powered by Wowza, for load balancing and redundancy.

Because Wowza Streaming Engine integrates well with third-party solutions, cruise lines can calibrate ExperienceManager’s content management system (CMS) to fit the look and feel of their brand’s aesthetic and marketing scheme.

ExperienceManager is compatible with whatever TV, set-top box, or OTT device is used on the ship, which in turn, allows passengers to enjoy high-quality on-demand video streaming, with the ability to start, pause and resume video. Cruise ships are also required to play mandatory safety videos at the outset of a cruise. Wowza’s API customizability was also used to create a cruise-ship solution that allows for interruption of in-room entertainment and digital signage with safety announcements and videos in case of emergency.

In terms of audio content, Wowza software enables multicasting of radio-station content, which translates into near-instant delivery of audio-only streams from the same server to devices anywhere on the ship.

UIEvolution is continuing to expand the capabilities of ExperienceManager. One recent innovation is a custom streaming app that lets passengers stream on-demand content on their own devices, anywhere on board the ship. The app leverages Wowza Transcoder, built into Wowza Streaming Engine, which creates various bitrate renditions for each stream and delivers them adaptively to fit each viewer’s device.

As a result of integrating Wowza, UIEvolution has grown from a single-cruise deployment in 2013, to supporting 30,000 cruise ship cabins today. UIEvolution’s Wowza-integrated ExperienceManager platform has been adopted by hotels and retailers as well.

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