How Total Webcasting Helps Clients Go Virtual During COVID Crisis

COVID-19 has drastically impacted all of our lives, but Total Webcasting has been hard at work adapting to these changes. As meetings, events, and other programs are seeking ways to go virtual, we at Total Webcasting are developing solutions that don’t compromise our trademark comprehensive, fully managed offerings. While we consistently strive to improve, we are proud to announce a number of initial successes.

On Thursday, May 14, Total Webcasting partnered with the New York State Department of Health for a special webcast about the COVID-related pediatric multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome, which drew thousands of viewers from all over the world. Disseminating important news and information—especially about coronavirus—is essential, and Total Webcasting can help share such messages.

Also on May 14, Total Webcasting helped the University of Connecticut’s (UConn) Center for mHealth and Social Media make their fourth annual conference go virtual. Over the course of the full-day program, speakers presented remotely from the safety of their home offices while still able to share slideshows and videos with conference attendees. Viewers did not lack for anything in their virtual experience.

In addition to our big day on May 14, earlier that week Total Webcasting also held a special Law Day webcast for the Westchester Women’s Bar Association (New York), which included a presentation by the Rye Neck High School Mock Trial Team, whose participants’ hard work may have gone uncelebrated because their mock trial competition was shortened by COVID-19. Total Webcasting’s virtual solutions help ensure countless hours of hard work, planning, and organizing don’t go to waste during the pandemic.

Furthermore, we have continued to webcast continuing legal education programs for both the New York State Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Bar Council, as well as meetings for the Dutchess County Legislature and the City of Poughkeepsie (New York), keeping these local governments engaged with the public.

Finally, Total Webcasting is working closely with many regional high schools in order to provide an alternative to large in-person graduation ceremonies. Seniors and their families deserve a ceremony to celebrate this significant life event, and we are hard at work to deliver one.

While these times are challenging given stay-at-home orders and public health concerns, that doesn’t mean we have no recourse to get on with our lives. With some innovation and resourcefulness conferences, meetings, other programs, and even graduations can still be a success, as our recent webcasts have demonstrated.

2019 Year in Review

As Total Webcasting begins to wrap up another year, we can reflect back upon a busy, productive, and exciting 2019. From technological innovation to webcasting a diverse range of programs, 2019 represented a year of growth and development for Total Webcasting, and is a harbinger for even bigger and better things in 2020. Let’s take a closer look at some of the achievements and news that made 2019 remarkable.

Arguably our most groundbreaking innovation since the introduction of TAM (Total Asset Manager), the development and deployment of our live speech-to-text encoder marked an industry revolution. Second, the integration of video conferencing into our webcasts has also undergone significant improvements in 2019. Total Webcasting has created a seamless video conferencing integration system, enabling viewers of live webcasts to experience remote presentations and dialogue all as if they were in the room. Our third major technology innovation of 2019 is the release of the latest rendition of the TW Mediacart, which is more compact and portable than ever but still able to deliver a robust array of services and redundant systems. Some of our longtime clients have even observed that our equipment appeared to be shrinking, yet our capabilities and services continue to expand.

2019 was also full of notable webcasts and significant milestones, as some of our previous posts highlight. This past spring featured perhaps our most successful graduation season to date as Total Webcasting was on site for numerous high school and college graduations, including multi-day ceremonies for the City College of New York, the State University of New York at New Paltz, and the University of Connecticut. A number of educational institutions reached out to us for the first time in 2019, and we look forward to further growth.

This year also marked a pair of impressive anniversaries. 2019 represents a full decade that Total Webcasting has traveled to Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, Illinois, to webcast their continuing legal education (CLE) program, this year drawing an audience of 3,000 lawyers. It has also been a decade working in tandem with the New York State Office of the Attorney General, webcasting numerous CLE and professional development programs throughout the year, as well as other special events like their two-day Legislative Program. Total Webcasting is proud to foster enduring relationships with our clients, and look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries.

The year was also characterized by abundant special or unique webcasts. In September we were in New York City for the 62nd German-American Steuben Parade, a celebration of culture and heritage. We webcasted lectures from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York, one of which heralded opening activities for a new exhibition. Total Webcasting was also present at Fordham University for a lecture delivered by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, entitled, “Humanitarianism and the Public Intellectual in Times of Crisis.” Throughout the year and all across New York State, Total Webcasting provided services for a number of public hearings on important, sometimes urgent, topics including the state ban on vaping, measles outbreaks and inoculations, sustainable energy practices, and drinking water quality, among other things. These webcasts helped expand viewership and remote participation for each of these hearings.

While the achievements and webcasts described above were the most noteworthy of 2019, Total Webcasting continued to grow in many other smaller but not insubstantial ways. Business grew as new clients came on board, some longstanding clients expanded our role with them, and we welcomed new staff to the team. A busy and prosperous year is always worth celebrating, but we at Total Webcasting are already looking forward to 2020 and beyond, and all the ways we can continue to grow, expand, improve, and change the industry.

A Pair of Presidential Webcasts

In the past month, Total Webcasting was on the scene for not just one, but two presidential events.

The first webcast occurred on September 30, 2019, at Fordham University in New York City. Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, presented a lecture entitled, “Humanitarianism and the Public Intellectual in Times of Crisis.” In addition to the rapt audience on hand at Fordham, many more tuned in to the live webcast from all over the world (not to mention those viewers who accessed the recorded archive). Perhaps it should be no surprise that this was a popular webcast: when the leader of a nation speaks, people tend to listen!

Live Webcast
President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, gives a lecture at Fordham University.

Mr. Higgins is the ninth president of Ireland and has served in this capacity since November 2011. In addition to his political career, President Higgins is also known for being a poet, sociologist and broadcaster. The full lecture can be viewed here.

Our second “presidential” webcast took place a few days later, on October 4 at the University of Connecticut (UConn) campus in Storrs, CT, and although there was no foreign dignitary in attendance, the inauguration of UConn’s new president did not lack pomp and ceremony.

Following a series of presentations given by university faculty members, the inauguration of Thomas Katsouleas as the University of Connecticut’s sixteenth president commenced. The ceremony included musical performances, a poetry reading, and a keynote address from Richard Brodhead, who served as the president of Duke University from 2004-2017 and is a native of Connecticut.

From president to president, it was quite the week for Total Webcasting!

Total Webcasting releases the first version of its Portable Hardware Encoder for Live Multilingual Subtitles and CART Service

Total Webcasting has developed and is now using in production our Live Speech to Text Portable Encoder, which provides live subtitles as well as CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) service using multiple AI platforms. This comprehensive solution for live multilingual subtitles is a first-of-its-kind service, combining a unique portable appliance as the encoder and a robust user interface for an array of interactive features, including operator-generated descriptive text insertion (e.g., “Music playing” or “Applause”). With automated workflow, the live subtitles are systematically combined with Total Webcasting’s postproduction subtitles that produce highly accurate human reviewed interactive transcripts and synchronized subtitles.

With more than a year of development and field testing, Total Webcasting has now added this service as a standard feature to every webcast we do. Additionally, the Speech to Text Encoder and Service can function as a ‘standalone’ solution not requiring Total Webcasting’s full-service option. This approach allows for a much more scalable use of this platform combined with industry-disruptive pricing.

In the coming months there will be ongoing upgrades and improvements to the hardware, application, and cloud services, adding to the feature set and stability of the platform. Additionally, other AI functions and new concepts will be integrated for an even more robust offering.

How Webcasting Enhances Graduation Ceremonies

Graduation from high school is a momentous milestone for all those who achieve it. For many it represents the transition from childhood to adulthood, with graduates going on to attend college, accepting full-time jobs, starting apprenticeships or internships, volunteering for military service, and following many other types of calling. Even though I graduated fifteen years ago, I still remember my own ceremony vividly.

But as significant as graduation is for the students, it is equally important to family members, friends, and other loved ones of the graduates. They want to see the student procession while the band plays “Pomp and Circumstance,” hear the class speeches (especially if its their student behind the podium), but mostly they want to watch their graduate walk across the stage and accept their diploma. However, for a variety of reasons, it may not be possible for someone to attend in person. Fortunately, there are technologies today that can bring a graduation ceremony straight to your screen, even from thousands of miles away. Namely, the power of webcasting makes sure everyone can witness that special moment live.

For several years now, Total Webcasting has provided live video production and webcasting services to many high schools (and even some middle schools) in the Hudson Valley area of New York. Each webcast draws viewers from all over the country and internationally, and like all of our webcasts the footage is recorded for future viewing. Did you miss that special moment because someone stood up in front of you? Was the sun in your eyes? Wish you were able to get the perfect close-up? Have no fear—Total Webcasting captured it all.

Total Webcasting was on site for several high school and middle school graduation ceremonies.

Total Webcasting would like to extend congratulations and best wishes to all the graduates of Marlboro, Monroe-Woodbury, Monticello, Rondout, Valley Central, Wallkill, and elsewhere.

College Commencements 2019: A Recap

May is one of our busiest months of the year at Total Webcasting. In addition to our regular workload, each May includes dozens of college graduations across the state and beyond, and we tack on a few new customers each season. But now that we’ve gotten through May and the calendar has flipped to June (which has its own unique slate of jobs, including middle school and high school graduations), it is a great time to reflect on another successful college graduation season.

This year Total Webcasting covered commencement exercises for a variety of institutions large and small, public and private, including the University of Connecticut (UConn), Bard College, Wesleyan University, the City College of New York, the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, SUNY Orange, Albany Law School, and New York Institute of Technology. Some commencements spanned multiple days, many were outdoors (presenting weather-related challenges), and all of them were important to their respective viewers.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) served as an impressive venue for the Albany Law School commencement.

Thousands of family members, friends, and other loved ones tuned into our webcasts from all over the world to watch someone they love graduate from college. We were also excited to note the popularity of our real-time speech-to-text subtitles, which were accessed hundreds of times in each webcast. This technology is essential for many viewers, including those who prefer to read along with speeches. (You can read more about Total Webcasting’s real-time subtitles here.)

And as usual, the commencement exercises at UConn represented Total Webcasting’s coup de maître, highlighting the breadth of our capabilities. Comprised of 14 separate ceremonies held in three different venues across campus over the course of three days, UConn’s complete graduation agenda is a full and challenging one that requires virtually all of Total Webcasting’s resources—in terms of both personnel and equipment. Despite these challenges, 2019 featured another complete success at UConn, and for the commencement season overall.

A Webcast Fit for a President

The Hudson Valley of New York, where Total Webcasting is headquartered, boasts a variety of attractions and is a popular tourist destination for hikers, skiers, artists, mountain climbers, foodies, and many others. One particular landmark is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum, located on the grounds of the former president’s homestead, a beautiful tract of land on the eastern bank of the Hudson River in Hyde Park.

FDR was the first U.S. president to establish a presidential library, which has since become a tradition. According to their website, “On the advice of noted historians and scholars, [President Roosevelt] established a public repository to preserve the evidence of the Presidency for future generations. Beginning a tradition that continues to this day, he raised private funds for the new facility and then turned it over to the United States government for operation through the National Archives.”

Each year, Total Webcasting makes a handful of (relatively) short treks across the river to the FDR Library and Museum to webcast an event. On April 15, 2019, the FDR Library and Museum hosted the talk, “Together, We Win: FDR, Frances Perkins and the ILO [International Labour Organization].” A majority of the program consisted of a dialogue among speakers, which included Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO, Ms. Martha Newton, Deputy Under-secretary with the Department of Labor, Mr. Scott Busby, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (part of the U.S. Department of State), and Mr. Kelly Ross, Deputy Director of Policy of the AFL-CIO, among others. Together these influential speakers discussed the future of labor and fielded questions from the audience.

The panel members had some impressive credentials.

The webcast can be viewed here.