Senior Living Facility Uses Video to Strengthen Community Engagement
Atlanta’s King’sBridge Retirement Community has “community” in its name for a reason: they understand the importance of providing that “friends-and-family” feeling to their residents. They use their in-house cable television to promote that community feeling. Residents enjoy viewing and talking about movies and TV shows, so King’sBridge provides Comcast cable television in every room. But that’s not all. A new King’sBridge locally inserted channel shows important community information such as menus, event schedules, recent activity photos, religious services, in-house DVD’s, birthday parties and more as part of their private digital signage network. A second channel plays scheduled DVDs and live video from IP cameras previously installed in gathering areas and nature settings.
Goals & Challenges:
- The facility was looking for a solution that could be used to manage AV content from a variety of sources, create TV channels from that content, and distribute the channels to resident’s cable TVs, common area displays, and other media enabled areas of the facility.
- The legacy system was unstable and would cut out randomly. The King’sBridge tech manager was spending too much time addressing reliability problems.
- The legacy system’s many devices and connections increased the time needed to resolve issues.
- The facility wanted two new high-definition channels—one for signage and one for King’sBridge-specific video.
For answers, King’sBridge Tech Manager Alex Malone turned to a resident engagement platform for senior living communities who then called upon its extensive knowledge of video systems to recommend West Pond Enterprises.
In turn, West Pond recommended the FlexStream MX-400CC channel creator. The MX-400CC was designed for anyone looking to add just a few channels to an existing in-house cable TV network.
The installation was easy and fast. West Pond technicians remotely analyzed the Comcast cable network, configured the technology, and validated the installation, which shortened the installation schedule and minimized interruptions for King’sBridge. Two HD channels were created using the MX-400CC. These two channels were:
- The King’sBridge signage channel that permits residents to watch signage including:
- News and announcements of interest, including menus, event schedules, photos, videos and more.
- The King’sBridge video channel that permits residents to watch multiple types of facility-specific content:
- Live feeds from cameras throughout the facility’s public areas
- Videos played on the facility’s central Blu-ray player
These channels were distributed as follows:
- The King’sBridge signage channel is distributed to Common area TVs via coax cable with and without the Comcast set-top cable box
- The King’sBridge video channel that is distributed to residents’ rooms to be viewed with the Comcast set-top cable box
- To other equipment, such as the media center, using IPTV transmission
Reliability was paramount and West Pond didn’t disappoint. “With this new technology from West Pond, we haven’t had drops in our broadcast,” Alex Malone said.
At the headend—the control center—the FlexStream MX-400CC channel creator inserts two cable TV compatible channels into the local Comcast cable TV network, provides continuous audio & video content for the two channels, and monitors the cable TV network to ensure reliability and a quality viewer experience. The MX-400CC continuously feeds these two channels with audio & video content from a variety of sources including:
- HTML signage
- HDMI/Component/Composite video capture
- Stored video files from any source, transcoded by FlexDM
- Broadcast TV channels
- IP cameras & more
The upgrade integrated the following third-party hardware with the MX-400CC Smart Headend Channel Creator:
- Cloud-based Digital Signage
- VIVOTEK IP-bullet camera
- LG Blu-ray/DVD player
- 720P30/60 HD
- 1080i HD
- HTTP (web-based HTML5 signage)
- RTSP camera
- RF US cable compatible QAM TV to Comcast for channel insertion
- IPTV to other media viewers within the facility
The FlexStream MX-400 platform supports West Pond’s cloud-based device management system, FlexDM, which provides video transcoding services and remote management of the MX-400’s settings and channel configurations.
“This little box has replaced at least three pieces of hardware in our server room. It also does the job better! I’ve slashed the time I need to spend maintaining or troubleshooting the system,” Alex Malone adds.
“The help I’ve received has been—and continues to be—invaluable,” Alex said. The device is highly scalable and adaptable. For example, in the future, the facility may enable the MX-400 ATSC tuner to function as backup channels if cable TV is out for an extended time.
The system also allows for future expansion; possible future features may include:
- RTSP camera to feed live video of chapel events on the 2nd channel
- Recording and playback of local events and services
- Wrapping the live video with informational graphics
- Adding background music to the signage channel
Alex Malone sums up the current result as well as future possibilities: “The West Pond system enables King’sBridge to expand its use of multimedia throughout the building for the enrichment of the residents.”
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