VBrick Systems Enables Distance Learning For Deaf Students
Gallaudet University Uses MPEG-2 Streaming Video for Clear Closed Captioned and Sign-Language Programming
WASHINGTON D.C. (April 20, 2004) - Gallaudet University, (www.gallaudet.edu), the nation’s premier higher-learning institution for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, has deployed an advanced video communications system from VBrick Systems (www.VBrick.com) for multicast streaming video that includes both closed captioning and American Sign Language.
Gallaudet paired a VBrick 4200 MPEG-2 encoder with a VBrick 5200 MPEG decoder to stream lectures, meetings, university functions and produced campus programming from anywhere on the campus to every desktop on Gallaudet’s campus data network. Gallaudet’s implementation follows a one-year equipment loan from VBrick and Internet 2, during which the university discovered multiple uses for VBrick intelligent network video appliances, and verified a favorable response to the technology by both students and faculty.
“The VBricks solve the problem of ‘visual fatigue’ that had long hampered our distance learning efforts,” said Jim Dellon, Director of Television Programming for Gallaudet University. “Because of poor picture quality with earlier streaming technologies, and the absence of support for closed captioning, viewers could not comfortably read sign language or view supplemental text transcripts. The eye strain was just too much. In addition to providing a clear picture at full-screen resolutions, VBrick technology allows us to move video to and from virtually anywhere using our existing network infrastructure.”
Gallaudet found it was imperative to provide students, staff and faculty with a high-quality streaming video system to replace their limited campus cable TV network for information-sharing, education and training purposes. The VBrick solution addressed the university’s needs for a plug-and-play system to run affordably on the existing campus data network, as well as minimize visual fatigue to an audience that relies heavily on visual details within the streamed images.
How It Works
The portability of the VBrick encoder allows the solution to travel anywhere on campus within reach of a network connection. When Gallaudet wants to broadcast a class, meeting, or event on campus, they simply deliver a VBrick encoder along with a video camera or video source such as VCR or DVD player, and then plug the encoder into any connection on the existing campus data network. The video feed is then compressed into MPEG-2 format streaming video and sent across the network to any number of desktops on the campus. Students and faculty then access that video through a designated link sent out to them or posted on the Gallaudet website.
While Gallaudet initially deployed the VBrick system primarily for teleconferencing use in meetings and lectures, its use expanded during the trial period, leading the university to purchase the portable VBrick appliances for a number of additional uses. Since then, Gallaudet has brought their campus theater into the 21st century by deploying the VBricks in broadcasting events from the facility’s existing studio and other campus event venues out to any desktop on the campus, including dorms, classrooms, offices and Gallaudet’s on-site K-12 program. The university also broadcast its convocation ceremony, a dedication ceremony for its new Student Academic Center and a campus-wide series of events surrounding enhanced homeland security for the university.
“This implementation represents the true versatility of VBrick’s networked video appliances,” said Michael Baker, Vice President, Business Development, of VBrick Systems. “VBrick solutions take advantage of the existing high-bandwidth networks on educational campuses, and harness that infrastructure for plug-and play capabilities that result cost-effective ways to quickly implement high-quality video broadcasts. For Gallaudet, the extremely high quality of the MPEG-2 stream is the ideal technology to meet the needs of its students.”
Gallaudet plans to work with other universities with which it has existing relationships to share the high-quality video streams by taking advantage of the high-bandwidth Internet 2, and enhance the existing partnerships for educating deaf and hard of hearing students, staff and faculty.
More than 20 million Americans, or 8.6 percent of the population age three and up, are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
About VBrick Systems, Inc.
VBrick Systems, Inc. manufactures simple, reliable video solutions that enhance communications and reduce costs for organizations large and small. VBrick enables enterprises to benefit from high quality visual communications through networked video appliances. VBrick MPEG video solutions provide the simplest and most dependable visual communications to businesses, educational institutions and government agencies ranging in use from distributing news and information and distance learning to training and surveillance. Based in Wallingford, Connecticut, USA, VBrick Systems' products are distributed through industry-leading value-added resellers, system integrators and distributors. Find out more at www.VBrick.com.