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MediaSpace provides multimedia satellite services at an optimised cost and on an international deployment level, proposing solutions to anyone anywhere in the world. Mediaspace's infrastructure, set up from a combination of satellite and terrestrial networks, offers global solutions thanks to the MediaSpace service platform.
MediaSpace addresses the needs and requirements of Organisations and International Institutions by offering the user communities a wide range of satellite-based telecommunication solutions, filling the shortfall in efficient, adapted and affordable communication tools that are currently available. MediaSpace solutions are developed in accordance with the individual needs of each organisation's departmental field, such as education, health, local economy, culture, sustainable development, religion, cultural exchange, and more.
MediaSpace is not a proprietary system: it is the result of a collaboration between complementary partners - IT and Telecom companies, operators, business providers and Non-Profit Organisations, who have joined together to implement and operate the system and ensure its evolution. Moreover, it uses and promotes standards while answering the requirements and constraints of the users. The objective of MediaSpace was to set up a Non-Profit Alliance creating an operational framework adapted to the mission of the system and in particular to bridge the North, South, East and West with a truly global infrastructure.
MediaSpace is the result of an ESA ARTES program for application projects led by Alcatel Space. The project allowed the constortium to define a generic architecture for a service platform based on Alcatel Spaces's experience in this domain, to instantiate such architectures within a real case and then to implement the service platform in ESRIN. Results were also obtained using models and the placement of satellite systems in the telecommunication framework, as well as market analysis to establish trends and feasibility studies for worldwide services. This pilot step has been tested, implemented and validated in partnership with organisations with a truly international presence and who have different user communities; such as Non-Profit Organisations, Universities, Medical Communities, Public Institutions, Research Institutes etc.
MediaSpace has several intrinsic characteristics that make it a possible node for a future European initiative. Primarily the user community, served by the pilot step: the system has been dedicated to shared usage by non-profit organisations, medical and teaching institutes (especially those which bridge Europe to the rest of the world), research organisations that are skill providers and consumers of fast networks, and cultural communities who can take advantage of the global network structure.
The objective of MediaSpace was to establish that a global infrastructure can efficiently support the development of incoming countries, optimising overall user costs and building a bridge of knowledge and information.
The pilot step has materialised these objectives with communities representative of the target user segment, including sites in isolated places. These user groups are listed below. They have played a major role in the establishment of the system requirements and have also validated the system in the operational phase.
Focolare Movement - a humanitarian worldwide non-profit organisation.
Communità di Sant'Egidio - a Church public lay association.
Hospital of Padova - a medical community.
APL (Aulo de Producto Lacteos) - a teaching and research organisation in the agriculture and fish environments.
Eurasiasat - a satellite operator.
Satko - an ISP and multimedia service provider.
Bagatelle - a medical community.
IAS (Institut Aeronautic et Spatial) - a research organisation in aeronautics and space technologies.
Iztech (Izmir Institute of Technology) - a study and research institute.
ANTRAK - a risk and emergency non-profit organisation.
UNESCO - a worldwide non-governmental organisation for knowledge, culture, environment and rights preservation.
On the right, a map shows all the participating user organisations, within their particular group, that have taken part in the MediaSpace pilot project.
MediaSpace's global presence currently covers Africa, North and South America, Europe and Eastern Europe and will soon be extended to Asia and Australasia.
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What services, for which use?
The MediaSpace hosting platform provides both on-line and off-line services, accessible via personalised portal pages. The portal provides each community with a secure and unified access to the services, together with management facilities and a direct access to the MediaSpace support office. The user site configurations are also reduced to a minimum, while the customised environments offer a simple and high-quality portfolio of services, which are as follows:
Network optimisation and connectivity services:
Content Management services:
|These service families are all provided from a hosting platform, which is the core of the system, and which supports the application servers, the management system and the uplink facilities. Each community selects its own set of services varying from low level services like connectivity or distribution to the upper level services like e-learning and e-education, (a collaborative work environment in a virtual classroom).||
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One of the larger organisations that has been involved in the MediaSpace project is the Focolare Movement, having eleven user sites deployed at present.
The Focolare Movement is a worldwide, non-profit association spanning 182 countries. About four million people, representing a great variety of racial, religious, cultural, social and professional backgrounds, adhere to the goals of the Focolare and are committed to bringing about a more united world.
Focolare Movement on the pilot phase of MediaSpace
"Our organisation began using MediaSpace with great enthusiasm for the end results and services it offers. Our general impression is extremely positive and naturally our intentions are to continue using MediaSpace and increase the number of sites involved in the project." Cesare Borin, Director, New Media Office, Focolare Movement.
An example of the success of the MediaSpace project for Focolare was shown at a live event in Castelgandolfo, Rome in September 2003. The event was filmed live (in real-time) at Castelgandolfo, uplinked by DVB to the satellite using a mobile station on site, and then was finally received by the ESRIN MediaSpace service platform. The signal was then processed by the MediaSpace service platform, encoded in MPEG4, converted in IP and uplinked in DVB/ IP. The DVB/ IP signal was then split so that it could be sent to two different satellites, the first covering Europe and the second North and South America, it was then received by Focolares' sites around the world, which were installed with the Alcatel Space A9722 satellite router receiver.
The live viewing figures from this event were as follows:
The event was also simultaneously recorded and stored on the MediaSpace service platform, so that it could be streamed off-line (after the event) to their African partners, in Douala and Fontem, via satellite.
Nowadays, Focolare periodically performs this type of event.
Following this series of events involving Focolare centers throughout the world, more than 100 additional Focolare sites have requested to become users of the MediaSpace project. Subsequently a huge deployment operation is foreseen in the next few months.
Inline with Focolare's involvement, Sant'Egidio have also joined the MediaSpace project and we are presently deploying equipment and services to nine sites in Europe; in Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Hungary.
The MediaSpace project started in November 2001, and this first step has been devoted to the study of user requirements, the consolidation of the system architecture, particularly with regards to the application and service layers, business strategy and switching to the operational phase. The result of which has led to the creation of the MediaSpace Alliance.
MediaSpace relies on an Alliance of European complementary partners - satellite and terrestrial operators, industrial, application/ product/ service/ business providers and ICT specialists - to build customised telecommunication solutions specifically designed for the institutional and non-profit markets needs and requirements, ensuring that its users benefit from best practice and up-to-date technologies. These firms have entered into this Alliance to foster the necessary synergy in order to provide a better unified and adapted answer to the User Communities' requirements and needs.
The MediaSpace Alliance Members have undersigned a Memorandum of Understanding, in order to establish and animate this strong cooperative relationship and to regularly meet in the frame of the MediaSpace Alliance Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee's role is, among other tasks, to precisely define the exploitation, development and promotion of the use of satellites for large bandwidth multimedia services and European technological solutions for international organisations, with respect towards deontological and ethical guidelines, as further detailed in the MediaSpace Charter.
The MediaSpace Alliance is composed of the following partners: