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A Campus-wide IP Video Network for a State University, Part 2

Jun 8, 2010 12:01 PM

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I would think the IT people who are going to be the primary ones in charge of this really gravitate to those reporting features. And being able to not only tell what's going on for, say, security reasons and organizational things, but just for their own peace of mind as to being able to take a snapshot of what's happening and see if they can tailor the system for better use once they have an idea of who's using it, what for, and how much.
Oh, exactly. We have detailed graphs and reports on what videos are watched, when, and it's really amazing the amount of information and when I use those type of systems personally. Let's say for the website, it's very important because it allows the people who are creating the content and the people who care about the consumption of their content; it allows them to be much better. When you know how the users are behaving, you can start tweaking and fiddling and make that experience so much richer. [Timestamp: 11:32]

It's your own built-in Neilsen rating system.
Exactly. That's exactly it.

So what's Slide Caster all about?
Slide Caster is a pretty important tool. We have the ability when you do a recording—let's say from the classroom—we have the ability to capture not only the video, but we can take a computer input at the same time and associate that firmly with the timeline of the video. So you can replay the camera that might be on the teacher and the whiteboard but as well, let's say, his PowerPoint presentation. And we don't do that the way that most systems do. Most systems they would say, "OK, launch the camera, upload your PowerPoint, and every time you hit the forward key we'll advance it on the server or whatever." We're actually capturing the physical output his computer and associating that with the video captured, so it's almost a multistream video capture type of environment. So the elements are always tied together, and we do that using some specific synchronization technology that we actually implemented throughout the system. [Timestamp: 12:42]

And when you've got a big installation like this going into a place like NC State, what are the kind of steps that you have to go through on the installation—I mean from the time that you know what you're going to do to the time that you get in there and have it all ready to show people?
The IT department has to do the network planning. If you're deploying video, you have to make sure there is no choke points, you have to make sure that bandwidth to all of the anticipated end points is provisioned, and it doesn't take Internet architecture to do that; that's fairly simple. The next step you have to do is make sure that multicast is enabled—and sometimes that's a hurdle in some organizations, but at universities it's typically no problem whatsoever. The next thing that you have to do—and the installation team for Video Furnace is very adept at this—what we do, we do a site survey, and within the site survey, we work very closely with the IT department to identify beforehand all of the port numbers, all of the IP addresses associated with this system, all of the multicast addresses that all of the channels are going to be broadcast out on. We work with them to make sure that their firewalls are adapted to those streams as necessary and we take all of this information back to our manufacturing or our systems staging plant in Chicago, and we actually kick the—it's called kicking; we, what would be a normal word for that—we configure a server or a server cluster as the client needs with the exact information that the university has provided. So when we ship and install a Furnace system there is not a lengthy on-site process for determining all of this. It's all been predetermined; it's kicked into the system. They plug the power in, the Ethernet in, they flick the power switch, and it's a very wonderful out-of-the-box experience. So typically we can launch a system within a few hours at a university. [Timestamp: 14:53]

So what's been the reaction from the university so far to this thing?
Everybody at the university is extremely positive about the installation. I think we have another university that's a great fan of the technology and the use of deployment. The students have access, where they're allowed, to the videos that they need to get to as well as the free-to-air TV that they're broadcasting, and of course the administrators love the reliability and the ease of use of the system. So I think, overall, they're very happy clients. And like I said before, it's amazing talking to the IT people who have implemented this system in what a hands-off type of a deployment it actually is. They don't have to issue system configuration guides, they don't have to install software anywhere. The system comes preconfigured and people can actually get down to what they need to do which is, aside from establishing the live content to cross the site, ingest the video on-demand assets and establish the playback channels for their internal TV stations, etc. [Timestamp: 16:03]

All right, Peter Maag with Haivision. The NC State IP video network that they're breaking ground on now, it looks like they've got a lot of different uses for this that they're going to be expanding into. And thanks very much Peter for being here to give us the details on this.
My pleasure, Bennett. Thank you very much.

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