"Scheduling is practically an afterthought now. The idea that now I can just make a block playlist is just the most convenient thing ever."
–J.P. Booth (Production Engineer)
Calcasieu, LA—Located near the southwest corner of Louisiana, Calcasieu parish sits in the heart of hurricane country, and to communicate emergency messages to its community, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury utilizes LEIGHTRONIX video communications solutions.
The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury's Government Channel, C-Gov, currently uses the UltraNEXUS™ video server, PEG Central® streaming video-on-demand service, and PEGstream-SD™ live streaming encoder combined with the PEG Stream™ live streaming service to provide live streaming. While the parish uses all three avenues to accomplish its communication needs, the most important is the ability to communicate effectively to its citizens in emergency situations.
"We're 25 miles from the Gulf of Mexico here—very much in hurricane country—and if the parish calls for mandatory evacuation, our citizens are scattered in hotel rooms and gymnasiums across the south with no way to get emergency information except through computers," Tom Hoefer, director of C-Gov said. "The videos of our press conferences and emergency meetings that we're able to put on our channel and (our PEG Central site) is really the best way for us to get our information to people who are not here locally."
The UltraNEXUS also provides an emergency messaging feature that the police jury plans to implement in the parish's next emergency. Production Engineer J.P. Booth has tested out the system and says it will be a valuable asset the next time the community encounters an emergency such as a hurricane.
"When we do use it, it's going to be awesome," Booth said. "I tested it out to see how it worked, and I did like it a lot. It was pretty convenient and pretty easy to use.
"Having the feature built in is pretty convenient considering we got (the UltraNEXUS) right after hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit, and right after that hit (communication) became a very hot topic. Having (the emergency messaging feature) built into the UltraNEXUS will be really convenient."
The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury has been happy with the system in non-emergency situations as well, pointing to its reliability and practicality. The UltraNEXUS saves C-Gov valuable time with its easy-to-use automated scheduling and helps them meet their goal of being "100 percent digital."
"The most important thing we liked about the UltraNEXUS is the way we got data to and from the device was through FTP (File Transfer Protocol)," Booth said. "That was the crowning achievement of the UltraNEXUS for us. We didn't have to dump things into it in real-time or export it to tape, we could just file transfer it over to the UltraNEXUS."
Prior to utilizing the UltraNEXUS, C-Gov had to add media to their broadcast system in real-time, occupying much of their employees' time. Hoefer said the UltraNEXUS has freed up his employees to work on other things as opposed to babysitting the file transfers.
In addition to saving time, the UltraNEXUS solution provides Hoefer peace of mind by allowing Him to relax when he is not at work.
"I can feel confident to be out on a weekend somewhere and I don't have to worry about something going wrong on the channel and getting a call 'hey we're off the air again.' It runs remarkably smoothly on the air and that gives such peace of mind," he said.
The UltraNEXUS provides a fast and effective scheduling solution for Booth and Hoefer. Once a week they have a brief meeting, set the schedule, and then are freed to focus on other things.
"Scheduling is practically an afterthought now," Booth said "The idea that now I can just make a block playlist is just the most convenient thing ever."
C-Gov has been using the UltraNEXUS and the LEIGHTRONIX live streaming solution for almost a year and added PEG Central in March of 2012. In that time Hoefer has been continually impressed with the performance of the LEIGHTRONIX products and services and would recommend them to anyone else looking for an all-in-one broadcasting and streaming solution.
The UltraNEXUS has solved access and quality problems for the parish while also adding a clean appearance through the PEG Central page that gave the parish's website a more professional feel.
"It adds to the professionalism to have it in our own format," Hoefer said. "You're not just adding something to YouTube™ that any kid with a laptop can do; we have our own visual shell around it and it looks really professional."
The Parish's PEG Central website also accepts higher quality videos than many other solutions. The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury noticed immediately their videos had a drastic increase in clarity when compared to the parish's previous solutions.
"The video quality we noticed was just amazing," Booth said. "The first thing we ever uploaded to PEG Central, we went to look at it to see how it looked and it was just amazing.
"When you upload something to YouTube, you pretty much have to do it as a low quality file like a low bit-rate .wmv, but the file that goes from UltraNEXUS to PEG Central looks 10 times better than the .wmv did on YouTube."
When the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury set out to find a solution for the C-Gov's video communication needs, they originally thought they would not be able to afford a system that provided everything on their wish list.
Booth was expecting to pay at least $30,000 for the system he would purchase, but, when he received the price from LEIGHTRONIX, he said he realized he found an affordable solution.
"So many different things are combined into one," Booth said. "And the value for the money was awesome."
Calcasieu Parish Police Jury needed a broadcast solution that fully integrated streaming, giving residents easy access to content through various mediums.
How It Works
UltraNEXUS allows the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury to upload content to its broadcast channel and then have it pushed automatically to the Internet. The PEG Central page allows videos to be posted for on-demand on a website and the PEG Stream and PEGstream-SD allow for live streaming. As a result, meetings, PSAs, training sessions and emergency messages can reach the public effectively through television and/or the Internet.
In Their Words
"The fact that anything we dump into the UltraNEXUS automatically gets shot to PEG Central is pretty awesome. It's not a two-step process; it's an automatic one step process."
Production Engineer, Calcasieu Parrish Police Jury
"I'm very pleased. It's a very good value and the convenience has really freed us up to do a lot of other things."
Director of the Calcasieu Government Channel (C-Gov)
At a Glance
- Name: Calcasieu (pronounced Cal-ca-shoo) Parish Police Jury
- Police Jury Definition: "The governing body of a Louisiana parish corresponding to a board of supervisors in the counties of other states" –The Merriam-Webster Dictionary
- Products Owned: UltraNEXUS, PEG Central, and PEG Stream and PEGstream-SD
- Location: Southwest Louisiana
- Population: 189,768
- Local University: McNeese State University
- Hurricanes in Louisiana: According to the National Hurricane Center in West Miami, Florida, a hurricane can be expected to hit land in Louisiana once every 2.8 years.
- Famous Residents: Joshua Ledet–second runner-up on the eleventh season of American Idol