Omega Institute

eOmega Drupal Case Study

Omega Institute

Since 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies has provided educational experiences focused on yoga, wellness, sustainability, and meditation. Their workshops attract speakers such as former president Bill Clinton, Joe Cross from the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and notable Tibetan Buddhist, Pema Chodron. Looking to increase their reach, Omega approached Mediacurrent to extend their existing Drupal website by building a live streaming video platform that would be the cornerstone of their online learning department.

 

Project Goals
  • Create a smooth end to end experience for users and content administers from the moment they find the workshop, purchase the workshop, interact with the live stream, and watch archived video. 
  • Integrate the registration process with Omega’s internal tracking systems to ensure affiliate link codes, coupons, and registration data were being properly captured for online learning workshops the same way they were for on campus workshops. 
  • Scope, build, test, and launch the live streaming platform in time for a highly publicized workshop. 
  • Train the Omega team to be able to create their own workshops and broadcast live streams independently of Mediacurrent.

 

Challenges and Solutions
High Traffic: With live events, there is the potential for many people to access the website at the same time. To avoid lags in performance and even having the site crash entirely, we built the live stream platform as a lightweight PHP application and completed extensive load testing. We also recommended and assisted migrating the web properties to a flexible hosting platform that would let them scale the web resources as needed. 
Integration with third party systems: Several systems were needed to create a seamless experience for the livestream and video on demand functionality- all of which had to be integrated with Drupal. Some of the key systems include Wirecast (used for on the fly editing), Brightcove (supplied the on-site player and video streaming), Zencoder (encodes live streams to be able to play on iOS devices), and Livefyre (live chat functionality to promote community and answer tech support questions). 
Testing for emergency situations: To prepare ourselves and the Omega production team for anything, we created several test cases to cover the potential scenarios that could arise during a live stream. Examples include testing the system and workflows for the electricity going out at Omega, internet fluctuations for users or on campus where the stream is being created, various browsers and systems, reloading the page mid-stream, one of the third party systems failing, and more.
Featured Modules
Our goal was to leave as small of a footprint as possible. In addition to the live streaming video application and bringing all of the current modules up to date, we installed and extended these key modules to accomplish Omega’s goals: 
  • Commerce Suite: Utilized for registration for online workshops, secure online checkout, coupons, and early bird registration capabilities. 
  • Varnish and Memcache: Improved the performance of the website- especially for anonymous traffic. 
  • Rules: Created custom email notifications during the the checkout process, auto-reminder emails for the broadcast, and for information recovery if someone lost their link to view the live stream. 

 

On-going Support
Along with on-going enhancements to live streaming, we continue provide Omega with ongoing Drupal support to ensure the continuation of optimal performance.
Deployment improvements: We actively collaborate with Omega’s internal developers on establishing Drupal best practices and standardizing deployment procedures. 
Vimeo to Brightcove project: Omega’s video library was originally stored on Vimeo. We created a seamless integration of Brightcove with Drupal, we migrated the content from Vimeo to Brightcove, allowing content to be tagged and categorized for improved user search experience. 
Improved Site Search: When we started working on the site, the site search did not index all of the appropriate pages and didn’t reliably return the appropriate results. We made significant improvements to Solr to make sure users received relevant results for each search query. 
Editorial workflow: Omega needed a reviewer system for content as it was created, so we provided them with a workflow so that each new page of content goes through an extensive internal editorial process prior to being published.