Southfield, MI, April 8, 2020 – Sun City Lincoln Hills, a 55-plus retirement community near Sacramento, CA, prides itself on self-governance by its Community Association, which is comprised of several voluntary committees that report to a member-elected Board of Directors. To enable its hard-of-hearing members to more fully participate at these large committee meetings, Sun City Lincoln Hills now utilizes the enCaption automated captioning system from ENCO to provide live open captions of every spoken word.
As an AV-savvy active-adult community with 11,500 residents, Sun City Lincoln Hills has routinely used professional quality video, audio, and lighting to enhance its well-attended meetings. Now, live video of the meetings is fed into enCaption, which automatically adds the always-on open captions and outputs an SDI signal to a streaming device via the Community’s private YouTube channel. The captioned video then displays on iPads that are available to meeting attendees, as well as on-demand viewing of media files uploaded to the Community’s website.
“Now, with open captions displaying on their iPads, people have a very accurate interpretation of the proceedings,” said Sun City Lincoln Hills Executive Direction Christopher O’Keefe. “I’m extremely pleased by the high-quality captioning produced by the ENCO enCaption system to serve our residents.”
At the meetings, O’Keefe serves as the primary presenter, calling upon various participants to share their expertise on a particular topic. Typically, three to four people contribute to each presentation. The enCaption system accurately interprets the audio and quickly captions the content without the need for speaker training, which is ready to view on the iPads in just a few seconds.
The Path to Automated Captioning
Seeking a solution that would allow hard-of-hearing attendees to better understand every speaker’s input, O’Keefe tasked Peter Beckett—an Audio-Visual Systems Integration Expert and Sun City Lincoln Hills resident—with evaluating various products and approaches they could cost-effectively employ. Hiring a human stenographer to manually transcribe meetings was impractical, as these services require up to a one-month advance notice.
Beckett’s research led him to ENCO. The enCaption system uses ENCO’s latest enhanced speaker-independent deep neural network-based speech recognition engine to inspect and transcribe the audio in near real-time, and is always available to caption the audio of both live and pre-recorded video. One particularly useful feature allowed Beckett to create a custom dictionary so that he can add resident- and location-specific names. ENCO’s AI-driven speech recognition engine ensures these names are spelled accurately in the captions.
Upon licensing enCaption, Beckett built a 19-inch equipment cart to enclose all of the hardware associated with the enCaption open captioning workflow: a Wi-Fi router, a Teradek Serv Pro streaming appliance, and a complement of iPads that recharge in a drawer. The cart is shared between two lodges that house the Community’s meeting facilities. The main lodge has a multi-purpose ballroom that is used as a lecture theater, among other functions, and accommodates up to 450 people. The second lodge has a smaller presentation hall with 150 permanent seats.
“I do not know of any other organization comparable to ours that provides this sort of advanced technology solution,” O’Keefe said, “I’ve been excited to share the success we’ve had with the ENCO enCaption with my fellow executive directors, who run the other communities in our network.”
Founded in 1983, ENCO pioneered the use of computer-based, digital audio and program automation for radio stations and TV studios. The company has since evolved its award-winning product line to span all aspects of today’s automated broadcast and production workflows, including closed and open captioning, visual radio, audio compliance, instant media playout, remote contribution, and cloud-based web streaming. It also brings the benefits of its patented captioning and live audio/video playout innovations to professional AV environments including conference rooms, lecture halls, sporting arenas and event venues. For more information, please visit: www.enco.com.