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A very Grand Finale

Telstra News

Posted on April 6, 2011

3 min read

What do you get when you mix the might of Google, the ubiquitous reach of YouTube and the technical brilliance of Telstra, with the extraordinary talents of 101 fine musicians from 33 countries?  You get one amazing performance. YTSO-Sydney-Opera-House-blog-contentYou probably know that the YouTube Symphony was put together over the last few months by video auditions only. The brilliant “winners” were flown to Sydney and thrown together.  Well, they arrived.

Ahh, the soft melody of a flute, drifting over the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour. As a full moon rises over the greenery of the Botanical Gardens, the sweet sound of violins swell, joined by the softer wind instruments, oboes and clarinets, culminating in a glorious crescendo of brass and percussion, exploding into the clear air over Sydney’s glorious skyline.

But then it rained. And oh boy, did it rain. We had planned for thousands of people to flock to the foreshores of Circular Quay, all hooking up to the free Telstra WiFi so that they could stream the musical action live, from inside the Concert Hall. Teams from all over Telstra were involved. TIPM, TEG, Engineers, Architects, Planners, Account Executives. All working hard to bring WiFi inside and out of “The House”.  But it rained. Sure, many people came out to see the amazing projections onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House. Just not the thousands that we were expecting.

But did that spoil the show? No.

Did that dispel the excitement? No.

Did it rain on our parade? Well, a bit.

But on March 20, the world was treated to an amazing mix of classical and modern symphonic music, live from the Sydney Opera House. There were outstanding performances from the musicians, the digital projections “painter “, technicians, composers and even a sand artist.

The Times said it was “The most delightfully incongruous alliance of the arts and the internet yet to emerge in the 21st century.”

YTSO-Sydney-Opera-House-sand-blog-contentIt was the #1 Trending Topic on Twitter and the three and a half hour Grand Finale was streamed to over 33 million people online and 2.8 million mobile devices through YouTube. We streamed it to the T-Box in an IPTV exclusive. In total, 422 Terabytes of data was transferred, which is roughly the equivalent of watching TV, for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 43 years! Our friends at Chief Entertainment handled all the live encoding for the streams that went to the world, in High Definition.

Inside the concert hall, approximately 25% of the audience connected their phones, computers or other mobile devices to the Telstra WiFi network and Tweeted, Facebooked and posted photos, videos and messages to their friends and social media mates.

Telstra technicians wracked their brains to come up with a non-intrusive way to install the WiFi into this amazing building. The Sydney Opera House is made of thick, thick concrete and reinforced by steel. Not the best materials to try to penetrate with WiFi. But the solution involved over 30 WiFi access points, strategically positioned around and within this unique, heritage building.

It was a fine concert, a great night and an amazing effort from many, many Telstra people – some of whom were able to attend the concert in person. If you missed it, don’t worry! You can still see it online. And you’d never even know that it rained.

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Did you come to the concert or watch it online? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.