Wowza ClearCaster Delivers Exponential Growth in Civic Engagement

Here is a case study put together by Wowza showcasing how the City of Corona, CA put the ClearCaster™ appliance to use for covering their town hall meetings on Facebook Live. If you are looking to solve streaming issues like latency and dropped streams, definitely check this out. The ClearCaster is feature rich and will take your live production to new heights!

Wowza ClearCaster Case Study

Getting citizens to participate in government can be a challenge, whether at the national, state or local level. When it comes to civic engagement, it’s important to reach constituents where they already are, using the tools they’re already familiar with. Recognizing this, the Information Technology team at the City of Corona, California decided to start streaming coverage of town hall meetings on social media. However, the City initially struggled with latency and reliability issues when broadcasting to online destinations. When they upgraded their production studio, they also upgraded their previous Wirecast-based system to the Wowza ClearCaster™ appliance. Now their live streams draw record numbers of viewers who are more engaged than ever before.

City of Corona Struggles With High Latency and Hardware Issues

At a time when verifying the legitimacy of online information sources is more important than ever, it’s crucial for government institutions to have a strong presence on social media. By reaching citizens on the platforms they’re already using, local, state and national government entities can cut through the claims of “fake news” to provide accurate information, get them involved in local politics and engage with directly with their questions and concerns. Like many government institutions, the City of Corona holds regular city council meetings, which are broadcast live on TV. And like many government institutions, the equipment and production workflow the City was using was woefully out of date. After Kyle Edgeworth joined the City’s Information Technology team as Deputy Chief Information Officer in 2016, they decided the system needed an update. Initially, the team implemented the Granicus legislative content network (which happens to be built on Wowza technology). This allowed them to post agendas and live-stream some council sessions.
“That worked well, but it wasn't focused on where our constituents were, where they were actually getting their information and how they wanted to access that information,” Edgeworth describes. “There's a large group of people that were engaged on social media, and that was a place where the City wasn’t really engaging our constituents.”
Edgeworth recommended that the City start live-streaming council meetings on platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube, where citizens were already spending their time. In fact, they noticed that even the DIY streams council meeting attendees posted to Facebook Live from their smartphones got higher engagement rates than the official live broadcasts the City was sending to Granicus. The time had come to implement a workflow for streaming council meetings to social media destinations. Given the decaying state of the old system, the City of Corona decided to gut their old broadcast system and control room, and did a complete, modern-day rebuild, spanning from late November 2017 to February 2018. City of Corona Master Control Room Before Updates Master control room at City of Corona, before wowza clearcaster case study Master control room at City of Corona, after “As part of our refresh of our council chambers, we built in a system where we can make sure we would be able to engage with our constituents,” says Edgeworth. Edgeworth served as the primary manager in the redesign and project manager in the initiative to start streaming on social channels. In their first streaming workflow, the team used Wirecast software to simulcast to Facebook Live and YouTube, with the MacBook Pro laptop they were already using for editing and post production pulling double-duty as an encoder. However, the team quickly ran into a common streaming problem: Using the same hardware for both live video encoding and post-production can put too high a CPU (Central Processing Unit) burden on the machine, resulting in high latency, buffering and technical issues.
“Even though it was on a video-editing computer [that was] brand new, it still was having a lot of latency issues,” Edgeworth says. “Our bandwidth was more than capable, but the actual hardware itself was very finicky on how we had to run the broadcast—it was very interesting.”
Another major issue: Wirecast didn’t support closed captioning, which all government broadcasts are required to have by law. To their dismay, the team found that even though captioning was set up properly on the production side of the workflow, Wirecast was stripping all the embedded captioning out upon ingest and sending a non-captioned stream to social more

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