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Chicago Public Schools Uses SAFARI Montage System to Deliver Live Presidential Inauguration

Wynnewood, PA (February 2, 2009) - What do you do when one of your U.S. Senators is being sworn in as the first African-American President of the United States, your school district superintendent is becoming the U.S. Secretary of Education, and you need over 408,000 students in your district to view the inauguration? You call on SAFARI Montage.

The IT department at Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was faced with precisely that challenge. While cable TV is provided in 95% of CPS schools, typically there is only one cable drop per school with no means to distribute that feed throughout the building. Using SAFARI Montage Selective Video Streaming (SVS) – CPS’ On Demand system – schools were able to view CNN’s live Cable TV broadcast of Barack Obama’s inauguration, while also participating in the first-ever district-wide assembly. SVS allowed for the successful re-distribution of cable feeds over the CPS network. SAFARI Transcoders effectively transcoded the feed (with permission from CNN) and multicast the live CNN broadcast of the inauguration across the district’s data network.

“SAFARI Montage has helped us create an opportunity to bring the experience of a truly historic moment to our students and faculty in a consistent, cost effective and manageable way. Moreover, we can repeat this again and again for anyone who missed the live broadcast or desires to use it as part of an instructional lesson,” said Bob Runcie, CPS Chief Information Officer.

In addition to viewing the live broadcast via SVS, CPS students also conducted interviews, viewed an inauguration video created by students for the students, observed reactions surrounding the events of the inauguration, presented art, choir and band performances that not only showcased their artistic abilities, but also provided historical context for the event. Viewing of this content was made possible through SAFARI Montage CreationStation®, the easy-to-use software tool that enables schools and districts to upload and share user-created digital media.

CPS knew that Internet streaming was not a viable option to deliver live simultaneous streams, especially to all of its 655 schools trying to witness the inauguration at the same time. With SVS, IT administrators were able to manage which video-based resources were accessible to teachers and students, as well as to ensure that bandwidth consumption was controlled.

Delivery of Cable TV to the classroom is also becoming increasingly more difficult. With the 2009 switch to Digital TV, many schools that use the traditional RF coax model of cabling – trunk-based configuration with a series of taps where cables drop off for each display device – will require major costly updating to run digital broadcasting content.

CPS has installed a high-speed network to many of its schools for all visual resources because they recognize the benefits of running DTV over the data network as a means to provide a better approach to visual instruction. The events surrounding the inauguration were proof of that.

The ITS eLearning Digital Media Team from CPS, along with the SVS system, produced the assembly and implemented the required solution, infrastructure and video engineering for the broadcast.

About SAFARI Montage

Library Video Company’s SAFARI Montage system is the award-winning, broadcast-quality, Video-On-Demand solution for school districts that comes preloaded with educational video titles from the industry’s leading video publishers, including Schlessinger Media, PBS, The History Channel, National Geographic, Scholastic, Disney Education, BBC, Sesame Street and more. SAFARI Montage WAN Manager — the only Wide Area Network Digital Media Management solution — provides maximum flexibility for a school district to upload and manage all of their district’s digital video from a central location. This ground-breaking product gives school districts the ability to upload their own video content at the district level and easily disseminate it to all classrooms throughout the district.

About Chicago Public Schools

The Chicago Public Schools is the nation’s third-largest school system in the U.S. and second-largest employer in Illinois, with 45,000 employees. It has more than 655 schools and serves over 408,000 students.


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