CASE STUDY | New England Institute of Technology

New England Institute of Technology delivers transformative IPTV and digital signage with Exterity

As a leader in technical career education in south-eastern New England, Rhode Island’s New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit technical university offering a range of associate, bachelor and master’s degrees in over 50 programmes.

Each one has been thoughtfully designed with input from both educators and industry experts. The institution has three campuses: the main one in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, with two other locations in nearby Warwick. New England Tech’s newest campus covers over 200 acres and features a completely renovated 265,000 sq. ft. educational facility, including the recently completed 42,000 sq. ft. student centre.

The challenge

In 2014, under the leadership of President Richard I. Gouse, New England Tech started planning the University’s first ever residence hall. The multi-million dollar capital project would transform the campus into a traditional university setting. The modern 400-bed residence hall offers single and double occupancy rooms, as well as semi-suites with student living areas divided into 13 “pods”. Each of these pods can house approximately 30 students and includes its own lounge and study rooms.

Social spaces in the residence hall include study rooms, game areas, a fireplace lounge and multi-purpose room, student collaboration rooms, kitchen area, vending machines, public area TVs and a patio opening onto a courtyard green. The residence also has a gigabit-capable Ethernet and WiFi network with access points in each room.

The network is designed to power an IPTV solution that serves the halls and integrates with the wider campus-wide upgrade to distribute content to TVs and digital signage in the common areas.

As Jacques N. Laflamme, Chief Information Officer for New England Institute of Technology, explained: “Our old IPTV system only offered two channels and it was clunky to operate both for TV and digital signage. The new halls will allow us to create an audio-visual platform that is better suited to the needs of our residents and of the wider campus.”

Laflamme looked at newer systems including technology from two comparable vendors before testing a solution from Exterity. “The difference was evident from our first demonstration,” he said. “Exterity was a truly integrated system that offered a great deal of flexibility and an intuitive interface that we find incredibly easy to use.”

“Building our own channel package was straightforward and the Exterity platform allows us to not only create detailed schedules but also to quickly change individual and groups of displays.”

The solution

With a comprehensive set of features for both video and signage, the Institute chose an Exterity IP video solution, which was installed with the assistance of ATR Treehouse, a well-regarded local AV and Video production solutions provider. Following intra-department committee recommendations to decide which channels and features would be made available to the TV in the halls of residence, the Institute worked with DirectTV to create a flexible licencing package that would allow it to build a channel line-up from a pool of over 300 entertainment, news, movie and sports channels. The 22-channel line-up also integrated six local, free-to-air digital terrestrial channels to provide student with access to local news.

The solution uses a mix of Exterity Media Players, AvediaStream Encoders, Transcoders and Origin Servers, all controlled by the AvediaServer central IPTV management platform. The whole process took about two weeks to implement and delivers TV and digital signage to 70 fixed displays, ranging from 85” UHD TVs in recreation rooms to 32” LED screens used to display menu items in the cafeterias.

The result

“Building our own channel package was straightforward and the Exterity platform allows us to not only create detailed schedules but also to quickly change individual and groups of displays,” said Laflamme.

According to Laflamme, the Exterity system is instrumental in adapting ceremonies for the American football and baseball season, as well as the Olympics.

The focus on flexibility also extends to halls of residence students. Using the Exterity system, the Institute was able to deploy an app that enables students to watch IPTV channels on any smartphone, tablet or PC – providing it is connected to the local WiFi or Ethernet network.

Digital signage has also benefited from the deployment of the Exterity system, with staff and students singling out the increase in quality of the animated and static graphics. “We have made it easier for groups and events taking place around the campus and the local area to create and publish signage through the creation of scripts that let students design signs and quickly upload them into the Exterity ArtioSign system.”

With the new IPTV up and running, and delivering faultless operation, Laflamme is now examining ways to extend its value further.

“We already run a campus radio station and courses on digital media and video production, so we are now considering the possibility of creating our own campus- wide TV station. We know the Exterity technology has the flexibility to deliver these features and potentially other areas, like televised lectures and more streaming content.”

“Overall, it has been a very successful project that has delivered to our expectations while opening a lot of potential for the future,” Laflamme concluded.

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29 October 2020 11am (GMT)

Streamlining the virtual student experience