How Video Can
Reduce Training Costs
And How to Double Your Bandwidth
Efficiency in the Process
SYNERGY BROADCAST SYSTEMS
16115 Dooley Road
Addison, TX 75001
972-980-6991 or 800-601-6991
Recent economic conditions have placed unusual burdens on cities
across the country and forced cut-backs and delays on every variety of
project. Training for fire and rescue personnel is no exception as
budgets have been trimmed curtailing travel, conferences and other
special activities that can benefit training of first responders.
Even though budgets have been slashed the need for additional
training continues as fire and rescue units face increased danger from
a wide range of situations from chemical and biological to accident,
fire, natural disasters and even the potential for terrorism.
In the absence of field, classroom and hands-on training, video
becomes an important learning tool. We know from research1 that
people tend to remember:”
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we hear and see.
What’s new to this research is that we will remember 70%-90% of
what we see, hear and experience.
The experience element does not always mean hands-on because
today’s visual learners get almost the same experience from a well
done training or demonstration video as they do from hands-on work.
Skeptical? Think about any news stories where someone has saved a
life and when interviewed about how they knew what to do, answered,
“I learned how to do this from television or watching a video.”
Recent research into using video in a classroom or training session
shows that people who are exposed to regular integration of media
Outperform non-exposed peers on tests
Score higher on writing assignments
Are more active in class discussions
Apply more varied and creative approaches to problem solving
Use more figurative language.2
HOW AND WHEN TO USE VIDEO
Video can be used in a variety of ways to enhance any training topic.
Here are some examples of best practices for classroom use:
Always preview video in advance to make it easier to connect to
When possible, show short clips from longer programs to either
introduce or reinforce discussion.
Set the stage for attentive viewing by giving participants active
assignments before a clip to encourage their attention and post
Use the pause button to promote interactivity between yourself,
the video clip and the participants.
Where appropriate, use the pause button to freeze on a specific
frame of video to encourage the participants to search for more
Lead-in’s to video segments could include:
“Listen for this term…”
“Think of similar examples…”
“List the things in the video that…”
After the video:
Check for understanding
Reinforce a point
Connect to real examples
Ask, “what did you see, etc…”
It’s clear that video is an important tool. What’s also clear is that it is
important to reduce training costs while improving results and training
In these times of bare-bones budgets, departments must introduce
new and better ways outside of classroom and hands-on training and
video-on-demand fulfills this need in several ways:
Video On Demand delivers video when and where it is needed
and this is especially critical for fire and rescue personnel who
operate on unpredictable schedules and interruptions.
Video On Demand provides for focused one or one usage or
classroom or small group usage. Video on demand can be used
in the fire station for a small group meeting; in the training
center for classroom use or one-on-one by fire fighters during
Video On Demand can be reviewed again and again to improve
comprehension and understanding so personnel learn at their
own pace for added retention.
Video On Demand is the right technology for new fire fighters because
they have grown up in the Internet generation and are very familiar
with new technologies, social networking and multi-media and are
used to acquiring knowledge in this manner.
While it is clear that video makes sense for training in today’s
environment the bigger question to address is the implementation and
management of a system in a municipal environment so it saves
money but also offers improvement versus other alternatives.
VIDEO DELIVERY OPTIONS
There are multiple video delivery options available for today’s fire and
1. Duplication and Delivery: This is a stand-by system for
many facilities that provide the most basic video training.
Training programs are copied to a videotape or DVD and it is
mailed or delivered to each fire station or individual in the
The advantage of this method is that every station or person
receives a copy. The bad news is that this method is not cost
effective. Consider the cost of duplication equipment, media,
staff time and distribution expenses to deliver the program.
In addition to the costs of duplication and delivery there is no
way to track that the intended user actually viewed the
program or monitor content over time is it can be lost, tossed,
stolen or damaged which results in additional costs for
duplication and delivery of more copies.
Technical difficulties also exist. VHS tape is no longer available
for purchase as this format has reached “end of life” and has no
future. DVD, on the other hand, is the current technology but
format wars have been waging on the newer formats HD-DVD
versus Blu-Ray and earlier formats suffer from “too many
format types” (DVD-R; RW, etc.) which can cause a duplicated
DVD to play properly on some brands of DVD players but not
play properly on other brands.
2. Satellite Delivery: Content driven satellite delivery has
existed for many years but is both costly and passive similar to
watching network television. There is no interactivity and the
biggest drawback is all programming is on a schedule that
cannot be individualized to deal with the unpredictable nature
of a fire and rescue shift. This means it is possible that a
program can be broadcast multiple times on the satellite but
never viewed by the right personnel because the schedule
never coincides with their actual time in the station. This
makes satellite delivery the most costly and inefficient.
3. Municipal Cable Channel: Many cities have negotiated deals
with their local cable company so that fire and rescue has a
specific private cable channel available to them as part of the
local cable franchise agreement. In the past these channels
were usually funded by the franchise agreement but in recent
years some of these arrangements have come under attack by
the cable companies as they attempt to “re-harvest” local
channels back into their system.
For cities that operate a fire and rescue channel they find that
these channels have the same issues as satellite delivery. That
is, the system depends on a schedule which automatically
makes it inefficient. In addition to inefficiency, the cable
channel requires dedicated personnel to make sure it contains
suitable content or the satellite signal serves as the primary
source of content.
4. Streaming Media: The Internet and city-wide networks offer
the potential for streaming media to desktops and laptops but a
lack of control and supervision makes this option difficult. City
IT Departments must ensure that certain types of data and
network traffic receive high priority to keep the city fully
functional. Things like utility databases, IP phone systems, 911
call centers and other important functions should always have
priority. Streaming video from unknown sources can have a
very negative impact on network performance and is not secure
which typically results in the source being blocked.
Another potential problem is the use of city-owned PC’s in the
fire stations. These are usually needed for departmental
communications and not practical for video streaming use.
All of these options are available but each one has a variety of
weaknesses that cities need to avoid to ensure timely delivery of
programming without interruption of services or unnecessary costs.
What’s needed is a solution that provides answers for the drawbacks in
today’s traditional methods:
1. Content needs to be available 24/7 and easy to access and view
when personnel have time during their shift. Anything that is
scheduled is inefficient.
2. Content should be viewable on any TV in the fire station
whether it be an analog TV, LCD flat screen or HD plasma
screen TV and not require a dedicated PC.
3. The system should be easy to manage and maintain to reduce
personnel and operating costs.
4. The system should be capable of providing live programming if
necessary for emergency situations or special events.
5. Content should be deliverable using the city’s network but only
during off hours so normal and high priority network traffic is
never compromised and with specific traffic controls so IT
managers can maintain Quality of Service for the entire
network. Solutions with this feature provide cities with the
ability to double their network traffic just by utilizing night-time
bandwidth without compromising peak traffic or the quality of
VideoCourier Can Double Your Bandwidth Utilization
VideoCourier provides cities and municipalities with the ability to
deliver video content to multiple locations using “off-peak” bandwidth
and place important education and training programming in the hands
of fire and rescue personnel so they can maintain their training and
education during down time on their shift.
About Synergy Broadcast Systems
Synergy Broadcast Systems was established in 1987 and is located in
Dallas, TX. The company provides turnkey video automation solutions
that are modular, flexible and economically scalable to fit the needs of
most facilities and provide a migration path for future growth and
expansion. The company’s products and solutions include IPTV,
remote video delivery, broadcast and cable automation, video on
demand, media conversion, archiving and digital signage.
For more information on how VideoCourier can help you double your
bandwidth productivity please give us a call. We’ll be happy to help
you work through the various issues and identify a customized
approach that works best for your situation.
Synergy Broadcast Systems
16115 Dooley Road Addison, TX 75001
Lall, Geeta Rani, Ways Children Learn, Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1983, p.5.
Research project by Teachers College at Columbia University, 1992.