The Video Call Center Grabs First Government Contract by U.S. Agency for Global Media

The Video Call Center (VCC) has been awarded its first federal contract by the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) to provide a platform for the creation of new interactive video chat-driven television programs and social video programs. VCC was selected due to its existing comprehensive solution which combines audience aggregation and automated production with expert production services.

USAGM will use the VCC’s patented automation system, HAT, and patent-pending Caller Queue technologies, as well as professional consulting and production support services, to create innovative TV and video-streaming programs in which audiences take active roles as on-camera participants.

USAGM, formerly known as the Broadcast Board of Governors, oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. USAGM networks reach more than 300MM individuals in over 90 countries each week. With the support of the VCC, USAGM will develop a series of new television and video productions that enable audience members and other guests to participate directly within the show, similar to a traditional radio call-in show, but with full broadcast-quality video of all participants.

The VCC gives USAGM access to uniquely-efficient production workflows, including automated productions that need only minimal technical crew. Features of the VCC system provided to USAGM include:

  • Caller Queue provides USAGM with custom cloud-based waiting rooms, branded to the needs of each show, where video callers wait to be selected for their turn to appear on air. A show’s producer can see who is waiting, understand what each caller wants to speak about, prioritize callers, communicate with callers, and select individuals based on a range of criteria.
  • HAT is an exclusive VCC product that can fully automate the tasks usually performed by a technical director, audio mixer, and graphics operator. This powerful system makes it possible for a show’s host or a non-technical producer to single-handedly produce a program without distraction while on air. The production team can be dispersed and located virtually anywhere in the world. The intelligent system uses contextual information about who is speaking to react automatically and switch between prepared professional on-air looks that include shot selection, cross-talk boxes, graphics, pacing, dissolves, and cuts, to effortlessly deliver a polished show with minimal or no technical staff.
  • VCC’s Caller Cloud service provides the expert audience screening USAGM requires and ensures that remote contributors appear on-air with the best possible picture and sound. Guests only need a smartphone with standard mobile data or a WiFi connection to appear on-air and never have to download specialty software. Instead, the VCC uses standard native video calling apps including Apple FaceTime and WebRTC-based Gruveo and Jitsi, in addition to popular apps such as Skype. Hosts and their guests can see and hear each other, interacting naturally thanks to the VCC’s instant return system, which provides two-way communication with near zero latency.

“The VCC is proud to support the USAGM as it explores new techniques to engage with audiences around the world,” said Larry Thaler, CEO of the VCC. “This is a remarkable opportunity that showcases how the comprehensive video-call based production techniques pioneered at the VCC are valued by USAGM to expand the tools it has to interact with audiences.”

From low-cost IP remotes originating anywhere in the world to the most audience-engaged live programs, the Video Call Center is an essential part of today’s most innovative productions. The VCC has incorporated nearly 7,000 live video calls into more than 850 programs that have been broadcast live on television, cable, and the Web. The VCC will be exhibiting at the NAB East show at the NY Javits Center on October 16th-17th, booth number N810.

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