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NCRV mobile game app ‘The Smartest Human’ a big succes

The television medium is increasingly re-enforced with other media to create an interactive experience for the users. This can be realised with a website, but these days with social media and mobile apps as well. Dutch broadcaster NCRV fully endorces this cross media concept.

NCRV has successfully used the cross media approach on multiple occasions. For this NCRV has formed NCRV-i, a separate department that is tasked with creating cross media experiences around its radio and television programs. This department has generated some impressive results. For example a website for the television program SpangaS that was elaborately showered with prizes. A number of very successfull mobile games was released, among wich a game for the succesfull program ‘Man bijt hond’ (‘Man Bites Dog’).

NCRV works for mobile apps often together with Elastique. This is an internet bureau that specialises in offering unique online experiences. They started in 2008 and from the beginning they have been awarded notable projects.

The Smartest Human
In the summer of 2011 the NCRV has developed the popular app for the program ‘In Therapie’ (‘In Therapy’). For this work they have received a SpinAward for creativity in digital communication.

The last project of NCRV-i is a mobile game app for the TV program ‘De Slimste Mens’ (‘The Smartest Human’). This game should enable players to compare their inteligence and skills with other players.

The timeline for developing the app was very short. Work on the mobile app for 'The Smartest Human' begon mid June and the app had to be online during the last week of July.

Technical Implementation
Directly after starting the project, NCRV and Elastique  got in touch with CloudVPS. Elastique and CloudVPS subsequently discussed and put together a scalable proposal for the hosting.

The proposal involved a datacenter redundant solution consisting two load balancers, two database servers, four application servers and one server for static content. The Customised Solutions department of CloudVPS would be supporting the project with support and advice.

The application servers should be able to deal with a large number of PHP processes. This turned out to be very efficient by using Nginx instead of Apache. Elastique has also made the application ‘stateless’. This means it is easy to add application servers to the cluster or to remove them.

Finally, Elastique and CloudVPS optimised the database to make it resilient to an enormous number of queries.

The game was launced on Monday the 23rd of July. It quickly became so busy that another four applcation servers needed to be added. This happened without a hitch because the software on the application servers is stateless. At a later stage, after some optimalisations, the extra application servers could be removed.

The app was popular in the app store as well. It became the most popular app in the Dutch app store and was in the top 5 for six weeks.

Elsa Gorter, senior editor at NCRV-i says: “We enjoyed working with Elastique and CloudVPS. Both parties quickly adapted to each other and a stable environment was quickly created.”

Joris Diederic Lock, a partner at Elastique says: “CloudVPS supplemented our service very well. We specialise in the application, they worked with us builing the cluster and optimising system-software. This was a very positive experience for us.”

Push message service
This project has resulted in at least one interesting spin-off. Elastique noticed that push messages to mobile applications were quite expensive to buy externally. This is why Elastique developed an iPhone push notification service for 'The Smartest Human'. This service makes it possible for developers to easily integrate push notifications on iOS and Andriod devices using an API.

At this moment the service is developed to make the platform available to third parties. Elastique expects to be able to offer this service commercially at the start of 2013.

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