City of Ann Arbor

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Ann Arbor Live Streaming Event
LEIGHTRONIX provides Ann Arbor with a high quality, live streaming solution at a moment's notice
By assisting the City of Ann Arbor during a city-wide employee meeting that needed to be streamed live, LEIGHTRONIX was able to demonstrate the high quality and ease-of-use of its affordable, live streaming solution
The meeting, streamed live to the Internet, proved to be a successful run of a new LEIGHTRONIX product called PEG Stream. Once released, PEG Stream will provide all customers with an easy-to-use and affordable way to stream events live over the Internet.

It was LEIGHTRONIX that the City of Ann Arbor turned to when the need for streaming live video content over the Internet for employees was desired during a city-wide staff meeting on Tuesday, January 12, 2010.

Ann Arbor’s city administrator was presenting information on the city’s budget that all employees needed to know. While most of the employees were able to leave their office for the duration of the three hour meeting, some, such as dispatchers and those at firehouses, couldn’t leave their posts.

“So the question was, could we get this meeting to them in real time, as it was happening, because the whole point was that everybody got the same message at the same time,” said Phil Ristenbatt from Ann Arbor’s Information Technology Services. “That’s how the whole idea for streaming this meeting live over the Internet got formulated.”

Having worked with LEIGHTRONIX products in the past to broadcast the city’s public, educational, and government access channels, Ristenbatt knew that they were always on the forefront of the newest video technology. He called owner David Leighton hoping for a solution.

“I spent about a day trying to figure out how to do this as an IT department on our own, then called David to get his input,” Ristenbatt said. “I called him because he’s an idea guy and he is known for creating solutions.”

After discussing the circumstances, Leighton agreed to donate the company’s time and products to the City of Ann Arbor for the day’s event. It was decided the event would leverage the LEIGHTRONIX PEG Stream™ infrastructure. PEG Stream, brand new to the LEIGHTRONIX line, allows for an affordable way to stream video live to the Internet.

“I think LEIGHTRONIX was just on the forefront of listening to what we needed to do today,” said Lisa Wondrash, the communications unit manager for the City of Ann Arbor. “Without them we would not have been able to do this, so LEIGHTRONIX donating their time, resources, and expertise was essential in getting this meeting up and running.”

The process included a few meetings between the Ann Arbor IT department with Leighton and his staff to test the process in the assigned venue for the meeting, a venue that would require using an outside Internet source. Verizon Wireless was used to create enough bandwidth to stream the meeting live.

“The bandwidth was an obstacle,” Ristenbatt said. “We questioned whether we were going to have enough upstream bandwidth capacity to be able to push this in a reasonable quality to our staff sitting back at their desks.”

Another task before the meeting took place was creating a personalized Web portal that would show the live video feed. The City of Ann Arbor currently utilizes a LEIGHTRONIX PEG Central™ account to provide video-on-demand to area residents. The city chose to go with a private Web site that only the staff would be able to access.

“This was an internal meeting, so it was important to the city administrator that all employees got this information directly from him, or had the opportunity to,” Ristenbatt said. “It was information that would affect all employees top to bottom.”

City of Ann Arbor Crew
LEIGHTRONIX assisted the City of Ann Arbor's IT department, along with crew members from the local community television network, in sending a live video stream to a personalized Web site on Jan. 12, 2010.

Ann Arbor decided to set up their own Web site for the event, but, when released, LEIGHTRONIX customers will receive hassle-free hosting for live streamed events with their annual PEG Stream live streaming service.

The service will follow their other previous streaming product models in that it will be effective and reliable, with an affordable price.

The process of streaming the Ann Arbor meeting live to the Internet mirrored the process that the PEGstream-SD will take. The event proved to be a success for both LEIGHTRONIX and the City of Ann Arbor, as the live stream to employees was relayed seamlessly without any complications.

“It came off perfectly and was pretty seamless,” Community Television Network Production Manager Ralph Salmeron said. “I talked to some of the fire stations that were watching it and they said that it was coming in loud and clear, crisp and clean.”

Helping with and seeing the ease-of-use of the envisioned PEG Stream process has the City of Ann Arbor thinking about ways to incorporate live streaming to the Internet at events in the future.

“We would love to do this for other events in the future,” Salmeron said. “Broadcasting live gives community channels a new immediacy and therefore relevancy to the community and the community's ability to receive timely information.”

LEIGHTRONIX also utilized the PEGvault-SD from their extensive line of broadcasting products to provide the city two back-up versions of the live feed. One was recorded and stored as a Web optimized version meant for a Web stream that was later published in the city’s intranet for employees to review as need be, and the other was recorded and stored in a higher quality format made for archive purposes.

“Outside of the live feed we wanted to make sure that this video would be available to employees who didn’t have a chance to make it to the meeting or wanted to go back and revisit the things discussed.”

The successful efforts of all of those involved did not go unnoticed by the City of Ann Arbor’s staff.

“I appreciate them assisting us and understanding the need and wanting to be proactive while going above and beyond what any other company might have done for us,” Wondrash said. “Our partnership is one that we really value and as expected with their help, this meeting was a great success.”


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