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In a couple of months we have an international awards ceremony to hold, and would like some way of announcing the winners, in real time, on-line via our website for people who are not at the ceremony.

Last year we went all-out and live streamed the awards, but I don't think the reception was great from people in countries/locations that couldn't handle the bandwidth. The year before, we simply posted up all the results at the same time after they had been announced on-location.

How best could we implement a system that allows people to see the results one-at-a-time as they are announced? Something simple, but effective.

Idea so far: The announcer keeps a phone/tablet on their podium, and simply presses a "Show Live" button on their admin side "dashboard", which pushes the next winner to the website. (Or a back-stage person presses the button instead.) People then refresh to see the changes.

How better could this be implemented? Is there something glaringly obvious I'm missing, or an off-kilter idea that could just be crazy enough to work?

Finally, slightly more technical: would it be AJAX we would use to alert people sitting on the site that a new category winner has been announced, without them sitting there bashing F5 waiting for something new to show up?

closed as off-topic by Joshua Barron, Charles Wesley, Code Maverick, Evil Closet Monkey, Matt Obee Apr 24 '14 at 11:32

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  • We've done real-time announcements via Twitter, embedded in our site as a widget. Same idea, no pesky infrastructure to build. – Daniel Newman Apr 22 '14 at 15:47
  • How much effort are you guys willing to put into developing this system? – Rayraegah Apr 22 '14 at 17:33
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Before I answer your question, I am making an assumption that you are talking about a website, hence I will not talk about desktop/mobile apps.

From a User Experience perspective naturally it would make sense to have along with your live streaming capabilities, a text/image based live-log if you will. Lord knows how many times I've been frustrated watching an event live and not being able to keep up.

Last award along with details and links to previous awards. A photo or twitter stream to accompany would help to add to the "live" experience.

Although the implementation will be varied depending on your needs, there are 3 typical paradigms in the HTTP world.

  1. Short/continuous polling : Client makes a request to the server at set interval to check whether there are any more updates.
  2. Long polling : Client makes a request, server holds the response until new content is available (or timeout). Whether there was new content or not, client immediately makes another long polling request and so on.
  3. True push using web sockets : If both server and client implement web sockets, server can push data to client when it wants to.

Typically in a broadcast type scenario such as yours, I would avoid going for 2 and 3 because the server ends up doing a lot of waiting. 1 is how Twitter and other notification based sites currently do it.

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Both avenues of thought would work in your situation. Although streaming does cause bandwidth issues this may only be the case as far as audio and video. Perhaps doing a live stream again would be beneficial but have the option of only loading the audio making it much easier for those to load with low bandwidth. I do like the idea of keeping the website up to date as well so that people can refresh to see the results. Unfortunately there aren't many other options, so it might be best to come up with a combination of them all to keep everyone happy, obviously if you have the resources.

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