Haivision Network Video has announced that the University of Maine System (UMS) has deployed Haivision's Furnace™ IP video delivery system to enable transmission of live classroom video from eight campuses to nearly 60 locations across the state. The university is using 13 Haivision compact Barracuda™ H.264 encoders to deliver video to 125 Stingray set-top boxes (STBs) in 125 viewing classrooms, as distant as 300 miles away. Some Stingray systems have been deployed as mobile units, giving remote education sites flexibility on how and where they can display live video.
"We have converted the University of Maine System's video delivery network to a completely IP-based system in which all campuses and off-campus centers receive live video classes via the high-speed WAN," said John Tiner, senior systems and design engineer, Information Technology Services, for the University of Maine System. "The Haivision Furnace IP video delivery system allows us to use this network very effectively to distribute high-quality live video through simple user controls and an intuitive administrative interface. As a result, we've been able to take full advantage of our IP network in providing more robust educational opportunities across the state."
Instructors equipped with wireless microphones lead live classes at the various UMS campuses while standing in front of a green screen. An on-site distance education technician controls cameras and video and audio switching, and electronically fills the green screen with Web pages, Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations, DVD videos, animations, and other backgrounds, which the remote audience sees on-screen behind the presenter. The technicians also monitor encoding with the Barracuda system and transmission of the live video using the Haivision InStream™ player. Students at the remote viewing locations watch lectures on a 32- to 42-inch display. A return link connection by phone enables students in the remote viewing classrooms to participate in real time.
The company says that the simplicity of the Furnace system, Barracuda encoder, and Stingray STB allow UMS to deliver live classroom video to remote sites with minimal administrative intervention. No on-site teacher or IT staff member is required.
Current enrollment in the UMS distance learning program totals approximately 3,800 students per semester, with 84 electronically delivered classes being offered for the Fall 2010 semester. Classes include math, business, sociology, art, computer information systems, nursing, economics, English, history, and human services. The Furnace system runs daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., enabling simultaneous delivery of lectures from as many as 10 classrooms equipped with the Haivision Barracuda system. The UMS technical team deploys three additional Barracuda encoders as needed for content acquisition and streaming from the live TV studio, as well as for backup.