Issue 26

Pearl Nano SRT Encoding Powers Hybrid Auctions

Auction broadcasts across four time zones, with SRT enabling the immediacy and adrenaline of a live auction-like experience


14 October 2021

Heffel Fine Art Auction House, premier seller of Canadian art, needed a way to virtually bring together its Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal offices for its semi-annual auction events. As an intuitive and high-performance SRT encoder, Pearl Nano enabled a hybrid auction with real-time bidding between the multiple offices, almost 2,500 miles apart – all while meeting the prestigious art dealer’s imaginably standards for video quality.

Connecting 3 Locations For Hybrid Event

Heffel auction house wanted to host a hybrid auction event to include remote bidding participation with its Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal offices. In the past, Heffel organised large, centralised auctions semi-annually. Heffel’s consignment specialists would travel from their offices to the event and participate in the bidding in person.

Facing travel restrictions and physical distancing requirements, Heffel turned to live video technology for a solution. The idea was to build a video bridge to enable simultaneous bidding across all three offices.

As a premium auction house, Heffel has high standards when it comes to video production value. Low latency and high fidelity were the key requirements for the remote contribution solution, so high compression solutions such as video conferencing were ruled out early on.

The information services department in charge of the event production settled on Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) technology for remote video contribution. SRT is an open-source video transport protocol that can deliver a high-quality, low-latency video experience across the public Internet. To take full advantage of SRT contribution, the team needed a reliable SRT encoder at each office location.

The team at Heffel went with Pearl Nano video encoder to power SRT contribution. The head of information services, Goran Urosevic, chose Pearl Nano because it was easy to preconfigure and ship to the Toronto and Montreal offices. Heffel’s staff at all of the satellite offices found setup to be intuitive:

“Nano’s compact and rugged design made it easy to ship. At the other end, all the teams had to do was connect the camera and the audio system to the encoder and power it on.” – Goran Urosevic, Director of Information Services at Heffel

The setup featured four Pearl Nano units at the Vancouver production studio receiving dual SRT feeds from the Toronto and Montreal offices. The Vancouver studio produced a low-latency live stream for the consignment specialists at the satellite offices to watch and participate in the live bidding. By adjusting the SRT settings, the information services team achieved sub-four-second latency for the live stream.

The Results

Reaffirmed brand image – Heffel’s reputation comes from continuously striving for excellence in all aspects of work. By choosing Pearl Nano for reliable, high-performance video contribution, Heffel delivered a hybrid auction event experience to match its high standards and the audience’s expectations.

Improved auction performance – The low-latency contribution solution delivered by Pearl Nano and SRT helped Heffel craft an experience similar to that of an in-person auction event, allowing bidding thousands of miles apart in real time. By using modern technology, Heffel preserved the sense of excitement and urgency of an in-person auction, and set new records throughout the event.

Higher cost-effectiveness The Nano-powered solution helped Heffel lower operational costs for each auction event. The ability to participate remotely freed the satellite office consignment specialists from traveling to a central auction location, saving time and money associated with travel and logistics.

Peace of mind for the IT team – The option to preconfigure and ship Pearl Nano units to the satellite office for a simplified setup experience meant one less thing to worry about for Heffel’s information services team. In addition, the device’s proven reliability made Urosevic feel confident in the remote contribution solution during such a high-stakes event.

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