Creating ‘Storm Stream’, a live stream for Simpson

by Michelle Hartmann, Persepectives editor

Getting schoolwork done can be hard enough, but imagine also building a live streaming website for Simpson College, getting it passed by administration and actually running it on a consistent basis.

Dylan Struck, a junior business management and music major, is doing exactly that through Simpson’s EMERGE program. What started off as a simple idea to stream choral concerts turned into a full blown streaming site for Simpson.

 “It was all targeted at music, but then it became broader because my supervisor and some other people were telling me that it would be better received if I made it broader and for the whole school,” Struck explained.

Events put on by Residence Life, Religious Life Community, Campus Activities Board and sports would all be under the umbrella of what is being called Storm Stream.

Storm Stream became Struck’s internship for the spring semester. He started laying the groundwork in the fall, but has been able to make great strides in the spring. According to Jerry Kelley, an advisor to the EMERGE program, it could be ready to go by the fall semester.

“The Enactus group has been filming things for a school channel of student activities. They’re testing it; it’s in the beta test to see if it works,” Kelley said. “If they can get it tested through this school year, in the fall, it should be able to work.”

However, Struck still has some kinks to work through with the program. He is still figuring out exactly how to make events that are normally paid for to still cost for non-Simpson students, staff and faculty.

Events like sporting events and theater productions cost the public, parents and alumni to get into. Struck wants to be sure Storm Stream will not detract from the revenue that would be coming in if people were physically attending the event rather than watching online.

“When you’re a parent or alumni or a person that can’t have access for free, there will be some sort of subscription fee to see the whole video stream,” Struck said.

In addition to figuring out the revenue problem, Struck also had to figure out how the live streaming was actually going to happen. With the bandwidth Simpson currently has, it would not be feasible for Storm Stream to jump onto that connection.

Struck was able to solve that problem by working with Kelley who suggested going through the Indianola Municipal Utility (IMU) rather than a large national corporation. It not only has the benefit of faster streaming, it also has the potential to help the relationship between Simpson and Indianola.

Working with IMU has also lead Dylan to think about what the best way to store videos because storing them would take up a lot of space. What he came up with is a mix of YouTube and Facebook called MyStream.

Within MyStream, students would be able to create their own customized ‘playlist’ of videos. They will be able to tell the system they are interested in sports videos or music videos or Religious Life events. The system will take their preferences and create what is essentially their own Simpson channel.

“It’s a very interactive page…you put in what events you’re interested in,” Struck said. “It’s a customized interactive page.

Struck and Kelley are both optimistic about getting the program up and running next year. It is currently in a testing phase so if everything goes well, they should be able to start it. Eventually, Struck would like to have a whole production team working the cameras and potentially make it into a class for students to take. The more interest Struck is able to create in the project, the higher quality Storm Stream will be.