New Tribes Bible Institute, established in 1955, trains the next generation of young people passionate about God's glory and reaching the nations with the gospel of grace. Current enrollment is approximately 400 students combined between the two campuses, located in Waukesha, WI and Jackson, MI.
The process of archiving these classes recently underwent an upgrade to a new Barix Technology-based networked streaming audio recording and archiving system. Dan Perik, who was promoted to IT manager of the New Tribes Bible Institute, Waukesha campus, in mid-2004, initiated the upgrade after discovering that the existing systems was anything but efficient.
On the Waukesha campus, curriculum is taught in the Institute's three classrooms, with class size averaging 70 to 90 students per class, 50 minutes in length. Regular services are held in the Chapel, which is capable of seating 300.
The on-campus student population is 200; not every student can attend every class. The New Tribes Bible Institute adopted a policy of recording classes and making them available from the Institute's file server in 2003. Students can access the recorded files via the campus intranet connection, be it a hardwired computer ethernet connection in the lounge, café, dorm rooms or via the campus-wide WiFi network.
Previously, the time-consuming recording process involved an IT department employee or student intern taking MP3 recorders to each classroom every morning, plugging them into the lectern, and hitting the record button so they would record the entire class day. After class was over, the MP3 recorders would be brought back to the IT office where the day's MP3 class recording files were downloaded onto a computer.
"We were looking for a way to make class recording as automated as possible, and that's where the Barix Technology devices came in," Perik said.
Barix AG, based in Zurich, Switzerland, manufactures communication technology that provides new solutions utilizing standard network infrastructures. The system connects machines that speak different languages and enables them to communicate with each other over TCP/IP, regardless of distance.
Perik integrated the Barix Technology Instreamer, a network-based audio converter for digital audio streaming, into the existing network to record chapel services. A single Barix Annuncicom, a network-based, standalone intercom system device, was utilized in each of the three classrooms.
Perik's assistant, Kevin Ter Louw, configured each of the Barix devices to stream on signal. Essentially, when the teacher turns on the lectern's wireless lapel microphone system and starts talking, the Barix device senses the audio and starts streaming to the server. "The teacher doesn't even have to press record," Perik stated.
Each Barix device has been preprogrammed to time out and stop recording if no audio is detected after 15 seconds to save file server hard-drive space. On the file server, Perik set up simple scripts that would connect to each of the Barix devices by HTTP. "We're not going for high-fidelity," he pointed out. "The monophonic Annuncicoms deliver just an excellent quality recording of the teacher speaking."