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18/03/2010

Snowplough-Cam Test For Streambox

Snow over The US city of Detroit lead to a unusual opportunity to test a novel use for the Streambox Live IP-based video system.
When recent heavy snowstorms affected citizens in WDIV-TV's metropolitan Detroit viewing area, the Streambox service and the Sprint 3G Mobile Broadband network provided a novel newsgathering solution: snowplough-cams.
The NBC affiliate supplemented its live news and weather coverage with video of road conditions streamed from smartphones mounted on the dashboards of county snowplough trucks.
The video was rebroadcast by major news organizations including CNN Headline News, MSNBC, and The Weather Channel to enhance their national weather coverage.
"Major weather events can have a dire impact on citizens' ability to move about safely, and news organizations have a responsibility to ensure that viewers are armed with the most current and accurate information possible.
"The streaming system worked well for us to bring in many live videos from all over metropolitan Detroit for WDIV-TV, and the snowplough operation is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak," said Jeff Liebman, News Operations Manager at WDIV-TV.
"When paired with the reliability, robust 3G network speeds, and signal clarity afforded by the mobile broadband network, this application afforded us an extremely cost-effective and scalable method for giving viewers a firsthand look at road conditions as they happened."
Designed for broadcasters, regional and national governments, and enterprises, the Streambox Live service enables many-to-many real-time and file-based video acquisition over low-bandwidth networks.
Video contributors, journalists, and citizen reporters can download the free Streambox Live video software to their cell phones, laptops, and networked devices and then file breaking news stories in field locations that are sometimes difficult for satellite news-gathering trucks to reach.
Armed with only a camera, mobile phone, or laptop and a low-bandwidth IP connection, field reporters can upload compressed video streams to the studio, where they can be decoded and broadcast live or archived via the Streambox Live data centre.
For the recent Detroit snowstorm, WDIV-TV worked with the government of Oakland County to install mobile phones in 25 snowplough vehicles.
Each phone had been pre-configured with the Streambox Live cell phone software encoder featuring Streambox's exclusive ACT-L3™ video compression technology.
Throughout the day, the phones captured and encoded views of streets and roads that were being cleared by the snowploughs and transmitted the compressed video via Sprint 3G Mobile Broadband to the Streambox Live data centre, and then on to the WDIV studios.
There, the video was decoded by Streambox SBT3-5200 decoders and media players for use on air. In addition to using Streambox technology in live broadcasts, WDIV was able to leverage the Streambox Live data center to manage, track, and access archived video uploads for later broadcast. Following the initial project, WDIV is now working with Oakland County to deploy the system to its entire fleet of snowploughs, with plans to extend the application to snowploughs operating in Wayne and McComb counties.
(BMcC/GK)
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