In early June, the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC) and RNP launched Eduplay, a university platform of audiovisual content. Something that is currently so present in our lives, streaming audio and video for study, work, and entertainment, began to be developed almost 20 years ago by the scientific community, at a time when there was still no YouTube.
The history of the development of Eduplay involved the contribution of researchers from the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB). In 2003, the idea of creating a video distribution network was selected by the Working Groups Program of RNP, the GT-Digital Video. For comparison's sake, YouTube was created in 2005 and was bought by Google shortly after.
This was the challenge faced by the Digital Video Applications Laboratory (Lavid-UFPB), coordinated by professor Guido Lemos, who built the first video distribution network for the RNP system.
In 2012, when there was already a greater presence of videos on the Internet, it was necessary to create a solution to manage these videos. That was when the video portal@RNP was created by researchers from the Computer Architecture and Networks Laboratory (NLCN-USP), led by Professor Regina Silveira. This work also led to a spin-off company, as a result of the innovation process, formed by students from USP, BrainyIT.
In the launching ceremony of Eduplay at MEC, the director-general of RNP Nelson Simões highlighted the technology behind these content delivery networks. "We don't realize, but there is an architecture behind them that allows the videos to be delivered to thousands of people simultaneously with quality and safety," he said.
Benefits to the Community
One of the new things offered by Eduplay is its adaptive transmission technology, which adapts the video quality according to the quality of Internet access of the end-user, allowing more widespread access. "This is possible thanks to the Content Distribution Network (CDN), present in all capitals of the Ipê network, which facilitates this distribution in a more efficient way," explains Marcelino Wedge, responsible for the service at RNP.
Since it is a repository of videos, Eduplay also relieves the burden of the institution to invest in equipment to store this content. It brings security since the institutions that can post content are part of the Federated Academic Community (CAFe).
In addition, the platform does have commercial advertisements and is integrated with Moodle and the Web Conference service of RNP. "With this integration, teachers can have synchronous classes, and the content is transmitted to up to 4,000 people in the same classroom. The curious thing is that, with the pandemic, in addition to the classes, graduations ceremonies also started being transmitted", said Marcelino Wedge.
A player with more features
After the restructuring, Eduplay implemented improvements in its interface, taking into account the user experience. It also launched new features such as the creation of playlists, the transmission of content to SmartTVs, enabling subtitles using closed captioning in one or more languages, and enabling of chats.
For the development of the service, the next steps in development are the use of Artificial Intelligence to automatically generate captions and interpretation in Brazilian Sign Language to increase accessibility and inclusion.
Video as the future of education
For RNP's director, Nelson Simões, in addition to helping share videos in a safe and democratic way, Eduplay also brings opportunities for experimentation with the newly emerging video languages.
"It is important to continue to improve our views for the future and test new concepts so that our educational platforms be safe and allow for quality education, regardless of the location of the students and teachers," he said.
Eduplay in Figures
2,000 daily transmissions monthly
30,000 recorded video lessons
Impact of the pandemic
3.5 million accesses in 2019
10 million accesses in 2020