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Edwards Lifesciences 'Hearts' Live Video Production In-House

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Edwards Lifesciences 'Hearts' Live Video Production In-House
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Edwards Lifesciences is a global leader in the treatment of structural heart disease and treating of the critically ill. Their biggest technology is heart valve replacement including being able to replace a person’s heart valve without open heart surgery. They also cover the monitoring of patients coming off a replacement procedure or are in the intensive care unit as well as over time to help predict for possible occurrences so that clinicians can make adjustments to help patients recover faster and minimize hospital time.

Edwards Lifesciences is a large organization but were suffering from the same problems that any size organization has: trying to create effective communications internally and externally and struggling with the available tools that they had. For years, their communications were straightforward with voicemails and emails from leadership and some postings on their internal Intranet.

Edwards Lifesciences did understand the importance of video in the enterprise and what role it could play in their communication strategy, so they made a major decision to build out a full production studio at their headquarters in Irvine, California. They brought in Fluid Sound, a commercial AV systems integrator to plan out and think through the possible use case models.

Fluid Sound brought in technology that is easy enough for an internal team to use, manage, and make adjustments without having to be technical experts. They helped foster an environment permitting Edwards Lifesciences staff to create video more easily with less overhead and less time. They now have a complete production studio and control room to easily produce content with an in-house team at a schedule that works for them. The entire production environment is centered around a NewTek TriCaster® TC1 using SDI video input sources along with some NDI® sources that are on the network as well. TriCaster TC1 was a great fit because it offered so much in one box at the right price point that permitted Fluid Sound to expand on other features for the studio and bring other components to the project that wouldn't have been available previously.

In addition to communications, Edwards has another exciting use of video as part of their research center environment. Previously, they had research team members spending a large quantity of time pulling video off of SD cards coming from multiple camera, computers, and medical devices, and either transcoding them or converting them and then bringing them all back together for synchronization to be used as a learning tool for internal engineers, and to external clinicians and physicians.

The research center began video production by a TriCaster Mini. As part of the project Fluid Sound added another TriCaster TC1. These are essentially mobile production studios on carts they wheel into research rooms. They bring in different disparate video sources from the various medical devices, computer sources and GoPro cameras into the TriCaster at UHD resolution. TriCaster bring all those different feeds together and synchronizes everything into a single signal so that clinicians, engineers, physicians see the data in real time. At the same time the individual sources are also recorded for learning purposes which is a huge convenience and timesaver for the teams. They effectively produce, cut and distribute video almost in real time. It has become so popular they are looking at adding this tool to the testing group.

With such a variety of video sources, the team also uses NewTek Spark NDI converters. The converters take SDI and HDMI signals and provide an IP stream to be used by displays and the TriCaster systems. 

Fluid Sound is already working on some expansion of video usage at Edwards Lifesciences. A NewTek NC1 Studio IO module is being integrated to add some extra capacity over NDI for using Microsoft Teams with the TriCaster TC1. They are about to integrate a campus wide video production environment that will permit NDI network sources to be brought into the production studio control room from their large atrium where they conduct company-wide meetings and from the research center with the other TriCaster TC1 located there. The ability to bring in lots of different sources that aren't physically located in the studio facility is one of the forward-thinking elements that Edwards Lifesciences has for the growth of video use in the future. 

As Dennis Pappenfus from Fluid Sound puts it, “Edwards Lifesciences is envisioning ways to use the tools that have been implemented in ways that we didn't think of as part of the planning process. It's really great to see somebody be given some capacity and then watch them learn how to use that capacity in ways that weren't part of the original design specification.”

With four thousand plus employees in Irvine and thirteen thousand globally, Edwards Lifesciences has to be well attuned to connectivity. Video over the network means that people can easily be linked, and production can be done in other locations. Being able to utilize the studio with the network to record patient cases, interview physicians and then to easily share internally within the global Edwards network or outside is a huge benefit they are looking forward to.

Edwards Lifesciences has been using the studio facility for months using it four or five times a week. They expect that in the future it will be booked solid which helps show a real return on investment. Senior executives have recorded messages that are shared with employees around the world. They take the video and post it on their internal network. The studio has been used for sit-down interviews including external personnel coming in and using the facility. The studio has a green screen to people into environments that match the topics they are talking about.

They no longer have to use valuable management time taking over office spaces for interviews. Recently the CEO was able to just walk into the studio and do an internal video which was edited and delivered out to employees within two days. In the first five minutes, five hundred people had already clicked on it to view. The process is now easy by having a physical location and the tools to support it, so they just walk in, turn on the system, do some fine tuning on the lighting and they are ready to go. This is all being done using internal staff managing the video production environment with minimal training and learning curve.

Nolan Tiana explains, “for those of us who are engaged in communications and engaging employees or other stakeholders, it's apparent that video is critical. My words of advice are to invest in it, really get your leadership to buy into it, to see the value in it and walk them through the use cases for what you want to do. Show what it is going to end up saving in terms of time and preparation. Compare what it takes to produce someplace else or bring in third party companies. Paint a picture of what the future can look like, and it will pay off.”

The response from employees has been tremendous. “They really enjoy now not just hearing from the leadership team, but actually seeing them and reacting to their expressions is wonderfully motivating,” according to Nolan.