Change for Good

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Change is always a good thing? Change is never a good thing!

I have been pretty quiet these past months as far as updates are concerned and that is because the focus has been on making the platform more attractive to sponsors and advertisers and then going out to sell these marketing opportunities in order to keep Shetland Webcams online and moving forward at the same time. The latter has been a challenge to keep new things happening for the benefit of our viewers whilst at the same time being able to pay the monthly running costs of the network that continues to increase in popularity every week….that means more costs for bandwidth and also having to increase the burst capacity on our edge network.

Not all the cameras on the network are in locations attractive to sponsors however so it is now time to consolidate costs so cameras where the is little potential for revenue are now on the “at risk” list - to use an HR term that still haunts me today.

Currently the following cameras have been placed on that list:

Cliff Cam 1, Shetland Museum, Town Hall, Island of Fetlar, Tourist Office, Market Cross, Sumburgh Airport

At the same time this list has become the target for me to go out and sell the fantastic marketing opportunities that Shetland Webcams offers due to the traffic that this site currently generates.

This list was created 1st January 2019 with the aim of getting 50% of those under sponsorship by the end of the year.

Cliff Cam 1 looks like it may be safe, and I will be able to announce further details of the sponsorship once discussions and all paperwork has been finalised.

I also need to strike a balance in keeping some of these “without revenue” cameras online to keep the interest of the viewers. An example of this is Cliff Cam 3 – it has no sponsorship currently, but it is the camera that grabs the highest peaks in viewing with weather, aurora, sunsets and those close-up puffin shots! This is currently our Demonstration Camera and it also has high quality binaural sound and we are now equipping this camera to become the new RedEye Club demonstration channel and is the poster child of the Shetland Webcams network.

As we commence the launch of the RedEye Club, I am mindful of the emotion that removing certain cameras from the network evokes….and that has already been demonstrated by our avid viewers from all corners of the planet….so I do indeed hear you. The dilemma is even more acute when this happens. Fetlar, Shetland Museum and Town Hall fall into this category.

I had originally anticipated that these ‘at-risk’ cameras might be granted a stay of execution from support coming from the RedEye Club however, unless proven otherwise, the feedback received by email since I launched the concept for the potential of an ongoing viewer support channel has been generally negative with many making me aware that webcams that promote tourism should never be user-funded. Whilst a part of me does not dispute these sentiments the reality of the current situation is far from ideal in anyone’s eyes.

I asked for the feedback though and thanks to those who did respond and to the one person who was so supportive and wanted to contribute immediately.

A lot of money has already been invested into the RedEye platform though as I had committed to the idea at the end of last year, so I am proceeding with the plans but now somewhat scaled back to what is perhaps best described as a “Donations Page with Benefits”!

After licking my wounds by apparently offending too many people I have 100% abandoned any concept of a subscriptions platform to view webcams - even though this was not the intention.

I think the perception was that all cameras would only be available on a subscription basis. I have re-read the original blog post many times and I do not believe that was ever conveyed but it does appear that this was what was taken from my post.

The original timeline for RedEye launch was Q1 2019 so by the end of March. Clearly that is long gone as the goalposts have moved whilst trying to grab the salient points from those who provided feedback. There is clearly no support for a user-supported element of the Shetland Webcams platform and at least this has now been made clear and taken onboard.

RedEye will now be launched when we have made the changes to support a donations-based infrastructure on our current website. Thanks, as ever, to David Gifford at NB Communication for continuing to meet my ever-changing goalposts.

On a more positive note we have already made significant changes to enhance the service on our sponsored camera streams with the recent addition of 12-hour rewind facility that you can now access directly from the live stream.

Our new UK server in Gosport is doing a nice job dealing with the increased demand for providing this service. Our service provider in the UK is IOMART and they are extremely well connected (peered in tech terms) with Australia, Asia and US West Coast regions – unlike our European EU Edge server which was somewhat randomly peered so it often had good days and bad days….sometimes very bad days.

All our Sponsored Cameras have now been migrated across to our UK edge network and a special thanks to my account manager, David Haskett, for being a really great sales person who has helped Shetland Webcams stay online.

Interactive Map

View our interactive map to find out where our cameras are located.

The Shetland Webcam network is supported by Shetland Broadband, Lerwick Port Authority, the Promote Shetland project and commercial sponsors. To learn more about Shetland visit Shetland.org.

Proudly supporting Shetland