January 4, 2020
Looking Back at 2020
Well 2020 was quite the year. None of us saw that one coming but amongst all the turmoil we wanted to find the good things. At least in our Singular world.
Back in January, we started the year with optimism; continuing our growth, building our community of users and spreading the word about our cloud-based platform. Singular had already been involved in some fantastic projects in 2019 including the award winning Ineos 1:59 event. Our community was growing, the Singular For Schools program had launched at IBC and we were ready to spread the word about Intelligent Overlays.
But as Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” and Covid certainly derailed a lot of people’s plans.
A New Decade Begins with Cloud Migration
After a busy start to the year, things went crazy. Clients were suddenly finding themselves locked out of galleries, control rooms and events. Ever resourceful, broadcast professionals sought ways to keep their content on air without their tried and tested workflows. This brought unprecedented adoption of new broadcast technologies and workflows at breakneck speed. Many clients had no choice but to work in the cloud since they had no access to hardware. Technologies that were previously deemed too risky for live broadcast were now the only option. And guess what? For the most part - they worked! Clients implemented new platforms and created new cloud-based workflows.
In the midst of this mass migration to the cloud, we saw a very sudden and significant uptake among enterprise clients adopting Singular. In addition to being cloud-based, Singular is already integrated with a large number of third party platforms which makes the transition from traditional broadcast graphics tools to Singular a natural one. Clients soon found out that implementation of our platform also offers small production teams the flexibility to be highly innovative, without the cost and resource concerns of traditional production. Over the course of this year, we have seen a wide range of fantastic Singular projects during lockdown and beyond:
Very early in 2020, one of our most innovative clients based in the US, Blizzard, made the decision to move their entire live production into the cloud. Singular worked with service provider RCS to help build out this workflow for their live events across World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Overwatch League Finals. Not content to “simply” move their production to the cloud, the team at Blizzard wanted to enhance their viewing experience in their native OTT platform by utilizing Singular’s On Device capabilities. This enabled the implementation of Singular's Intelligent Overlay feature-set that offers a two way dialogue with every single viewer. The interactive overlays allow viewers to vote, cheer, enter a quiz, or buy merchandise directly from the live graphics. Not only this, but through a first-of-it’s-kind integration with the just released AWS IVS platform, viewers could also switch player cams, choosing between 12 different player cams with sub-1 second latency. All of which created a personalized viewing experience for every single viewer.
Over in Europe, Sky UK and Sky Deutschland made use of the platform both as a way of creating content remotely in the cloud for things like the Sky Football Show and Sky Cricket, but also as a backup system to their familiar SDI workflow when unable to access their hardware. Sky Deutschland created several digital shows that both supported their main broadcasts but also tested new innovative formats and targeted different audiences. Most recently they pushed things even further with a European first; a 5G live production using mobile phones and Singular for the graphic overlays.
In Australia, Optus Sport got creative by developing a completely new show format they call “Optus Sport Isolation Quiz”, a remotely produced interactive quiz show that is live on Facebook. The whole show is produced by a small remote team using Vmix and Singular integrated with Google Sheets. Singular’s Composer allowed them to easily customize the on-air look to create masterpieces like their brilliant 90s themed version of the show.
In smaller scale productions, Singular continues to be embraced by a huge range of sports content producers who want professional-quality graphic overlays that used to be only accessible to sporting giants like ESPN.
Now amateur leagues and niche sports are able to enhance their live productions by adding live graphics. This includes traditional sports like Football and Basketball as well as lower profile sports such as Barrel Horse Racing, Climbing, Dragon Boat Racing, Field and Box Lacrosse, Circus Arts, Orienteering and more.
Check out some more 2020 user Showcases, here.
Singular for Good
At Singular, we set out to not only offer cutting edge live graphics tools with our platform but unprecedented accessibility; anyone can now have professional quality graphics, regardless of their background, location or budget. We are democratizing live graphics tools whilst pushing them into the modern era. As part of this social purpose, we have grown our Singular For Good program in 2020 which offers free, Professional accounts to Schools and Nonprofits.
When we started the program we never could have predicted that in 2020 students would be attending and producing graduation ceremonies online from their bedrooms, families would be forced to watch school sports matches from home and congregations wouldn’t be able to attend religious venues. Everything from fundraising galas, university lectures, and counseling sessions would all rapidly transition online.
Schools would continue to educate and inspire the next generation of content creators just as the landscape of modern content production was rapidly evolving. Broadcast clubs like CNTV and DSB Live (and even Elementary School students) are learning and utilizing Singular to stay up to date with modern overlay techniques for producing professional-grade live content.
As we’ve seen unprecedented growth in our Singular for Good program, we’ve released dedicated Marketplace themes to support various school and nonprofit initiatives including Gala, Graduation, Horizon and more. We are grateful for SFG community and welcome our new members including WildAid, the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, Oxford University, the Danish Ministry of Education, and others.
Our Partners are Essential
Singular on its own is an Intelligent Overlay platform but it is nothing without the impressive work of our innovative partners and broader community. We are consistently inspired and surprised by the level of creativity and innovation coming from our adopters. This work continues to influence the development of our platform and inform us of the features you want and need. This is why our partner program is so important to us and we’ve seen it more than double its size in 2020.
Our Technology Partners use Singular to complement their own offerings and our Service Providers use Singular as part of the services they provide to their clients. Both have seen a big growth in the work they are getting with Singular and that looks set to continue in 2021.
If you are interested in becoming a Singular partner please get in touch with a member of our team or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we head into 2021 there is still a lot of uncertainty. The team here at Singular however will continue to focus on supporting our community and promoting Intelligent Overlays; giving easy access to anyone looking to enhance or upgrade their live production.
We have seen our community produce exciting projects that innovate and push things forwards but we also want to hear directly from you. Please reach out if you have challenges you need help with or ideas you can’t quite figure out. Make sure to let us know what you’re doing so we can promote your work. If we’ve learned anything from 2020 it’s that we need to support each other and that a little bit of kindness can go a very long way.
All that remains is to say a massive thank you to you for the support and goodwill shown throughout 2020. We will continue to do all that we can to drive this movement to a new world of Intelligent Overlays for all of us. All we ask is that you continue to innovate and challenge the status quo as we continue to improve the platform. Stay healthy and safe and here’s to a 2021 full of happiness, fun, creativity and more live content with Singular.live Intelligent Overlays!