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Seamless system allows medical school to go global: Stanford lecture capture technology is user-friendly, far-reaching.

At the Stanford University School of Medicine's new learning center, one system of capturing lectures does it all--from scheduling and recording an event to distribution of audio and video files.

"When you're training future medical doctors, it's important to ensure they have all the tools and resources to become the best physicians they can be," says Trent Tanaka, Director of AV Technology at the school.

That was the university's goal two years ago when it opened the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, which houses the newest and highest tech classrooms at the school. Each of its 20-plus learning spaces is outfitted with HD cameras and projectors, interconnected by an AV system that reaches throughout the building.

With the Stanford-created MediaFlow system--the winner of AMX's Innovation and Automation Control Award--event organizers and lecturers don't have to worry about set-up, archiving or distribution. All they have to do is turn on a microphone. Even better, the end result can be released internationally.

"MediaFlow helps us not only to capture the core medical courses for review, study, or discussion, it also allows any event, presentation, or conference in our spaces to be accessed worldwide," says Tanaka.

Before MediaFlow, capturing lectures was a "very manual process," says Tanaka. The school was still working with a system established in the 1970s. Organizers of international conferences and other events had to hire their own videographers. That's no longer the case. The fully-automated MediaFlow system allows for centralized control, and it is more convenient for support staff. With the help of AMX touch panels, which are accessible through a private AV network, tech workers can operate from almost anywhere. "They can control the AV feeds and systems on campus, at home, commuting on a train or on a plane flying at 30,000 feet," according to Tanaka.


MediaFlow's creators also overcame the challenge of bridging two separate video feeds.

"We couldn't find a lecture capture system to meet our requirement of having one feed for the camera and one for the presentation," says Tanaka. "So we decided to build our own system, incorporating the best technology from a wide variety of vendors."

On the back end, the department used Apple servers and customized video workflows. On the end user side, they utilized 7-inch AMX touch panels and control systems to integrate scheduling data and controls, which include electronic door signs outside of classrooms.

"These interactive displays allow our users to view the schedule of a specific room at a glance and select any event to see more details," explains Tanaka.

Within 24 hours of a lecture or lesson, students can receive course videos in the format of their choice: camera feed, presentation feed, picture-in-picture combining the two or MP3.

MediaFlow captures between eight and 18 events a day, ranging from 50 minutes to up to five hours. Since the system was implemented, it has captured more than 7,000 sessions.

Tanaka is gratified knowing MediaFlow has allowed vital, lifesaving information to reach anyone who needs it, in the U.S. or abroad, as smoothly and easily has possible.

"For our students, if something goes wrong during their careers as doctors, dire consequences may occur," says Tanaka. "This reminder motivates us to use technology to help ensure that learning doesn't end at graduation, but is a lifelong process."
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Publication:University Business
Date:Sep 1, 2012
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