Northwoods Replaces Sneakernet with Resilient Streaming Platform
Not long ago, Jeremie Kilgore, Associate Campus Pastor at Northwoods Community Church, remembers the struggles and time wasted by previous attempts to transport service video to multi-site campuses. “We would have to drive to our Peoria campus which is 45 miles away from our Galesburg campus. So on a Saturday night, somebody would have to leave at 5 and wouldn’t get back until usually around 9, which is a 4-hour evening that you’re taking just for the recording of the service,” explains Kilgore. While physically driving the media to the multi-site campus was less than ideal, it was necessary in order to ensure that the service video playback would be reliable. Previous to the “sneakernet” approach, the church had attempted multiple streaming solutions, typically ending in failure. According to Den Marlin, Worship Pastor at Northwoods, “Our previous solution to running the video on the weekend had a 100% failure rate. So every weekend, we knew it was going to fail at some point. Our hope was it would fail during rehearsal where nobody would see, but that wasn’t the case.”
Realizing the need for a more permanent and reliable solution, Jason Lee, IT Director at Northwoods, along with other Creative Arts staff, began searching for alternatives. Lee mentions that on his very first Sunday, the stream buffered and stalled. “You can’t you can’t invite new people into that environment and expect them to be impressed by that” Lee explains. The team knew that the growing church, with 5 campuses in Illinois and an expanding online community, required a resilient stream that would not fail, ending in awkward and unprofessional interruptions. Like many other churches, the team was also looking for a system that could be managed fully by volunteers.
When the team came across the Living As One Multisite Platform, powered by the patented Resilient Streaming Protocol (RSP), Lee knew that the system was exactly what Northwoods was looking for. The system, regarded by the industry as the first reliable site to multi-site solution for live streaming across the public internet, gave Northwoods the resiliency and streaming quality that they needed. When told that the system could withstand complete internet outages, Lee requested to see it in action. He mentions that when the network cord was pulled from the Multisite Decoder, “we’re watching the video and it’s still playing perfectly . . . and he plugs it back in and then we watched the buffer just continue to count on back up. I think I was kind of the ‘aha’ moment for me.”
Scott Cramer, Northwoods Multi-Site Director, explains that when the team turned to Living As One, it was like “living off of 25 cent tacos for the last 5 years and you just drop a box of steaks in front us.” The church immediately began implementation in their campuses, training volunteers how to set cues and manage playback at remote campuses.
“The beauty of Living As One is how easy it is,” Reece Johnson, Northwoods Media Producer notes. “We’ve noticed that the stress level of our weekend directors and our volunteers is close to none . . . they’ve gone from being super stressed, almost to the point of not wanting to serve and dreading the weekend, to excited about being here.” Along with reducing stress for volunteers, the Living As One platform has helped the IT and Creative Arts Staff at Northwoods have successful weekly services without time-consuming drives to campuses or worrying about network interruptions. “We found the Living As One product to be so resilient that there wasn’t a lot of dialing in the QoS and throttling that we had to do in order to make it successful, mentions Lee. “Once we got it set up it really was really pretty much set it and forget it for us.”
We’ve noticed that the stress level of our weekend directors and our volunteers is close to none . . . they’ve gone from being super stressed, almost to the point of not wanting to serve and dreading the weekend, to excited about being here.
Years Since 1st Multisite
Hours of Driving Saved per Year
We found the Living As One product to be so resilient that there wasn’t a lot of dialing in the QoS and throttling that we had to do in order to make it successful. Once we got it set up it really was really pretty much set it and forget it for us.