City of College Park

Gerald Walker Video Interview Link
College Park City Hall
For an end-to-end solution that provides complete transparency, College Park chooses LEIGHTRONIX
The City of College Park, GA, found a video server solution that allowed for a simple way to provide video messaging on their local cable channel, integrated with streaming video-on-demand
Gerald Walker with College Park's UltraNEXUS, the broadcast and streaming video-on-demand solution from LEIGHTRONIX
Gerald Walker chose the UltraNEXUS and PEG Central duo from LEIGHTRONIX because of their streamlined approach to broadcasting video programming on cable and streaming video-on-demand.

It was through LEIGHTRONIX that Public Information Officer for the City of College Park, Gerald Walker, discovered the streamlined solution that would provide area citizens with the kind of transparent government that they were looking for.

“We decided to redo our Web site and were in the process of redoing our cable channel, so we were able to look at the UltraNEXUS™ as a solution on two fronts,” Walker said. “We found that the LEIGHTRONIX brand was the solution to a number of very intricate challenges that we had, namely providing our citizens with video on the Web.”

Walker wanted the ability to provide community members with in-depth video that offered detailed explanations on what the city was spending their tax dollars on. Before implementing the UltraNEXUS video server solution, his department only had the ability to broadcast slide shows to residents.

“Before upgrading, College Park had a rather simple slide show broadcast and that just did not give us the flexibility of telling video stories, and being able to convey audio to our citizens,” he said. “It looked almost like our information could be in the lobby of a hotel, but now we are very robust. We’ve been able to really get our word out and get video out and do a number of things with our programming to develop a full programming feel for our citizens.”

Walker and his staff create video programming on issues such as generating awareness on any public meetings that are coming up, content based on making sure citizens are aware of where their tax dollars are going, anything new such as city based projects, all the way down to garbage collection changes and changes in the city staff’s holiday schedules.

“We use this video programming to really try and push that information out to citizens and be sure they are kept in the loop on everything,” Walker said. “Now with the UltraNEXUS and PEG Central™, we push that information out through video on our Web site as well, providing another way for citizens to stay informed.”

Walker demonstrates the UltraNEXUS emergency messaging system.
One component that Walker appreciates is emergency messaging because, “citizens are going to get that information in an instant.”
 
Walker uses the UltraNEXUS to transfer media to broadcast and Internet channels.
The UltraNEXUS allows for simultaneous encoding of media for broadcast and the Web, providing simplicity in transferring content.

Along with the need for a solution that would allow the City of College Park government to be more transparent, Walker also needed a solution that would be easy to use when updating content because of the many roles that his department provides for the city.

“On top of my responsibility for running the city’s cable channel, we also deal with marketing, public relations, and working with the general public on communication,” he said. “What really attracted me to this process was its ease-of-use. I was instantly able to command the UltraNEXUS, because it had such a simple operating system.”

The UltraNEXUS was a true time saver being a video server that both broadcasts programming to a cable channel and simultaneously uploads video content to PEG Central, a streaming video-on-demand Web service.

“The ease-of-use for PEG Central and the UltraNEXUS is something that I’m so happy about because I’m a little more technically challenged than others,” he said. “It’s so simple for us to use the site and the UltraNEXUS when we know that the bridge between the UltraNEXUS and PEG Central is a very simple one click rule. Once you’ve clicked record, the process starts, the FTP (file transfer) to the video-on-demand site starts, and once it’s uploaded we get a message letting us know it’s ready to be both scheduled for broadcast and published to our Web site.”

The easy process allows the very busy public information officer to focus on other tasks for the city, without having to worry about mishaps surrounding the integration of his cable channel or the Web site.

“Both of those coming together really gave us the opportunity to concentrate on other things because we are not bogged down with a number of technical manuals trying to make things work,” he said. “The quality and performance is also evident in the video server. We’ve had no hiccups, no problems with the system, and even with a person like me, who might hit the wrong button, it’s so resilient that it continues to play.”

The UltraNEXUS broadcast server also provided him an easy way to reach citizens during an emergency.

"There is an emergency messaging component that is very important,” Walker said. “If we have inclement weather we can quickly get that message up on the screen and know that we can program it to say exactly what we want, program it to run exactly the right amount of time, and know that our citizens are going to get that information in an instant.”

The City of College Park also utilizes the TOTAL INFO® dynamic video content feature to keep citizens updated throughout the day. The TOTAL INFO subscription allows for information to be added to any local cable channel’s regular program line-up. It includes local weather and metro traffic, along with up-to-date news, sports, financials, and daily trivia.

“We use TOTAL INFO every time we get an opportunity to fill some time slots that we don’t have programming,” he said. “So it is a major bonus when we are able to alert citizens as to what traffic conditions are before they step outside. Plus they get a briefing on weather, sports, and news.”

Above all else, Walker appreciates the UltraNEXUS server and the LEIGHTRONIX hosted PEG Central video-on-demand site because it allows him the ability to provide complete government transparency to his community.

“We have to make sure that we leave no stone unturned to let the citizens know exactly what their tax dollars are doing down here at city hall,” he said. “As soon as a video hits PEG Central, I know that I’m going to get a certain number of hits. It’s great to go in on the backside and see who’s watching and see that people are watching, and know they are able to watch them at all times throughout the day. Transparency is very important to us, but the ease-of-use of PEG Central to deliver those messages to our citizens, is just a godsend.”



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the City of College Park's story

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