University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania provides viewers up-to-date localized programming on campus-wide cable channels with UltraNEXUS
All-in-one digital video server provides campus programmer with advanced scheduling and digital messaging tools
Mayumi Hirtzel, IT project leader
Mayumi Hirtzel, IT project leader for the University of Pennsylvania, was pleasantly surprised by the advanced digital messaging features of the UltraNEXUS.

After updating from a legacy video system controller/router to the UltraNEXUS™ digital video server, the IT Project Leader at the University of Pennsylvania, Mayumi Hirtzel, was immediately impressed with how much the server could do outside of controlling tape decks for the university’s cable channels.

“We quickly figured out it could be more than just a controller for us,” Hirtzel said. “There’s so much that it can do through automation here in the background.”

Hirtzel now primarily uses the UltraNEXUS as a means to manage the campus’s digital messaging or virtual bulletin board, a functionality that hadn’t peaked her interest as much when first looking into video servers.

“I was really looking for something that would better control my VCRs and give me more maneuverability with what I could do with our two campus wide movie channels,” she said. “It’s perfect for those things, but I’ve also come to really like how seamless and transparent the UltraNEXUS is in running our campus bulletin board. I’m still sort of used to our old static environment but I love how this seems to be an active thing operating behind the scenes without me having to do a thing to keep our messaging up-to-date.”

Included with the UltraNEXUS is the Advanced Slide Editor, an online interface that provides a library of preloaded icons, backgrounds, and overlays. This all-inclusive editor makes slide creation easy with professional graphics tools and support for independent layers.

“Most of our slides are created by our student staff who make our messaging look really nice,” Hirtzel said. “I really like the different templates and overlays that are available to help give us a polished look.”

Scheduling features help to keep students up-to-date and allow for Hirtzel to stop running old news without lifting a finger.

Hirtzel working on WEBNEXUS
Hirtzel is able to issue alerts to viewers from home by utilizing her server’s WebNEXUS interface to schedule dynamic slides and time sensitive overlays.
“I can program every message to run at certain times,” she said. “If it’s an event that’s ending at 3 p.m. tomorrow, when the slide is created I can schedule it to stop running at 3 p.m. tomorrow. That being automated has been great for me. Before I had to remember when a slide needed to be stopped and manually jump in and do that.”

Since updating to the UltraNEXUS, scheduling things in advance has become a snap for Hirtzel with programming software that allows her to think to the future and get things accomplished far in advance.

“I like being able to program an entire month at a time,” she said. “When we need to we can switch up some movies weekly, but I can ultimately get scheduling done a month at a time.”

Hirtzel has also utilized the server’s emergency messaging feature to provide students and staff with immediate campus announcements. The Web-based messaging feature allows Hirtzel to create overlays that layer text and partial screen graphics over regularly scheduled programming.

“We’ve been lucky to not have any true emergencies but we have used the feature for things like snow days,” she said. “The best part is I’m able to log in and communicate over the cable channel from home. Not having to come in here and take care of that has been really, really, helpful.”

The best part about the campus’s upgrade to the UltraNEXUS, according to Hirtzel, has been the ability to integrate her regularly scheduled programming and bulletin board messages with TOTAL INFO®.

The TOTAL INFO dynamic video messaging subscription from LEIGHTRONIX allows Hirtzel to provide viewers with up-to-date localized weather and metro-traffic feeds, along with national news, sports, financial information, and daily trivia.

“Students have been really grateful for the weather and the traffic,” she said. “I’ve been grateful for the updates to change automatically throughout the day. I really love it because I don’t have to fill 24 hours with the same 22 slides and programming. Students can get real weather, and even real traffic. Which is important to them, if for nothing else, just so they know whether or not to wear shorts out on the college green for the day.”

Overall Hirtzel would recommend the system based on its ease-of-use.

“Of course there was a tiny learning curve but you have that with any kind of new hardware/software purchase,” she said. “But with the UltraNEXUS, I had it shipped to me on a Wednesday and by Friday it was all up and running the campus movie channels and a 24/7 video bulletin board.”

Outside of the product’s functionality and reliability itself, Hirtzel has been very impressed with the way LEIGHTRONIX treated her as a whole.

“The staff at LEIGHTRONIX was genuinely interested in helping me find the best product there was for me to come to work and do my job,” she said. “Never once was I told that the UltraNEXUS could do everything, I mean it does do pretty much close to everything but they were honest about its features when comparing it to other choices. I totally appreciate any company that approaches a sale with that kind of gentler attitude. I truly favor them as a vendor.”

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