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Project 18: Whole of government video service scoping study

Vquence and Jimi Bostock provided a scoping study on the viability of a centralised whole of government video service for use by agencies and provide advice on the benefits, costs and risks of different implementation models. The study considered emerging international best practice and recommended a federated solution that would provide agencies with a range of flexible deployment options that would allow video to be published within their existing environments and on central services. The report also recommended adding video search and browsing capabilities to

Author Comments

Our team scoped the potential of a whole-of-government video portal/solution. Having significant experience in online video, we were able to hit the ground running. We were also able to set out on the right course through the guidance of our project sponsor, Peter Alexander of AGIMO. Peter encouraged us to talk to as many agencies as we could and also framed government thinking nicely. We were also guided by the comments received on our blog post on the Gov 2.0 site.

Armed with these, we set out to map the video landscape of the APS and talk to a selection of agencies. We found the agencies were very open to the concept of a centralized video platform and forthcoming about the challenges of online video, from production through to deployment. We were also able to quickly identify actual videos that might be produced on the basis of having access to a robust and flexible video platform and the sorts of things they would want in any platform.

Based on these findings, we assessed a wide range of technical approaches and the wider video/social media ecosystem. From these, we made recommendations based on a central solution that agencies can use within their existing workflows to publish on a central site, embed on their own site, and distribute to an Australian Government YouTube channel for the visibility benefits. For the purposes of the public, we recommended adding cross-government video search and browsing to As we discovered, this would likely be a first for any national government and would quickly be the benchmark for all governments. We see that as an exciting opportunity that will enhance the communications between government and the people.

Author blog post

2 Responses
  1. 2009 December 22
    George Bray permalink

    Congratulations on a great report that looks at all the options. Some minor notes:

    p52 the link at footnote 8 is invalid

    p54 – The term ‘SD’ usually refers to the broadcast format 720×576@25. 320×240 is sometimes called CIF.

    p55 – Most large scale “IPTV” deployments still use MPEG-2, though there is a slow movement to MPEG-4 in the broadcast world. The term IPTV is now used also to convey all sorts of video delivery systems over IP, including via broadband to web browsers, where MPEG-4 capability is common.

    Is there anything wrong with governments paying royalties for specifications they use? I don’t think the fact that a technology has a license should preclude it from being considered in a large-scale project. Conceivably, the AU govt could obtain a special license for MPEG-4 AVC. NOT using a standards-based system has implications for associated long-term archiving and metadata strategies.

    p62 – Bandwidth costs. In addition to the costs of an agency hosting their own media, they would also have a concern that unexpected large usage would a) cost them lots and b) make their agency’s connection to the internet unusable.

    The role of bandwidth provider peering might also be mentioned here : the NBN wholesale/peering bandwidth market in AU is set to change the economics of all this, and is presently unknown.

    thanks for an accurate and thorough report!


  2. 2009 December 24

    Hi George,

    When one links to resources on the Web, URL changes happen. Unfortunately, that caught us, too. Your missing link on P52 is . Sorry about that.

    As for paying royalties – I don’t think we disagree. There’s nothing wrong with paying for systems that one uses, as long as the payment is reasonable. At the same time one has to consider that money that goes into payment for basic technologies such as video compression, doesn’t get spent elsewhere, in particular on more interesting applications. For example, consider you had to pay for every character that you wrote on the Web and published because it is encoded in UTF-8 and ISO decided to charge for it. How many Web pages do you think would be published? How much creativity stalled?

    I also completely agree that standards should be preferred over other technologies. My specification of a “standard” includes open specifications that have been developed by communities rather than committees and are specified openly, are stable, and a reference implementation is available openly. I see no difference in such specifications to the specifications defined by official standards bodies and large committee. If anything, such specifications tend to be more practical and usable. “Standards” such as ID3 or RSS have come out of communities rather than committees and I do not see them as any different or less valuable then committee produced standards.

    As for the bandwidth concerns: I agree, peak usage is always an issue, which is why we refer to the inherent scalability of the hosted solutions as a big advantage.

    Thank you so much for the thorough reading of our report and for the additional information. I hope we will see some extended government use of video in the near future!


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