Archives

On-site Transcription Support – NRC

typing

On March 12th to 14th, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held its 25th Annual Regulatory Information Conference (RIC) at the Bethesda North Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland.  This critical event featured numerous speeches, panel discussions, and specialized technical sessions.  The RIC brought together over 3,000 participants, representing both industry and public interest groups, from more than 30 countries.

The NRC requested verbatim transcription for speeches given by Chairman Alison Macfarlane and each of the four commissioners, in addition to select panels and technical sessions, to be linked on the agency’s website.

An NCC Multimedia and Production Solutions (MPS) associate was on site for all three days of the conference to create an audio recording of the proceedings as well as prepare comprehensive notes documents in order for the team to generate accurate verbatim transcripts of record.  We delivered all transcripts to the NRC less than one week after the RIC concluded, and they were available for viewing at nrc.gov shortly thereafter, ensuring that interested members of the nuclear industry, advocacy groups, and the general public were able to promptly review the transcripts.

NCC utilized the wide-ranging skills and procedures of its MPS division for this project:

  •             on-site court reporting services
  •             accurate verbatim transcription
  •             thorough editing
  •             comprehensive quality control

NCC has provided the NRC with on-site captioning; transcription; and DVD authoring services since 2010, and we look forward to supporting the RIC for years to come.

Administrative and Professional Support – DOE

People

Department of Energy Office of Science Small Business Innovation and Research / Small Business Technology Transfer

– 2011-present –

Each year, federal agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR program set aside 2.5% and 0.3%, respectively, of their extramural research and development budgets to provide funding to small businesses through grants or contracts to stimulate technological innovation to meet federal agency research and development needs.  The DOE SBIR/STTR program currently provides $167.5 million ($149.6 million for SBIR and $17.5 million for STTR) annually in research grants to high-technology small businesses in support of high-quality research or R&D on advanced concepts concerning important mission-related scientific or engineering problems and opportunities that are likely to lead to significant public benefit.

Since 2011, NCC has provided end-to-end support of the DOE SBIR/STTR program, successfully executing a base year, four option-year, 8(a) contract to provide on-site administrative and professional support services for the DOE Office of Science SBIR/STTR Grants Applications Processing and Support Center located in Germantown, Maryland.  Our eight-person on-site team manages and operates the DOE SBIR/STTR Center, carrying out important responsibilities that include:

  • Preparing SBIR and STTR funding opportunity announcements;
  • Receiving and distributing grant applications;
  • Providing multi-phase evaluation of grant applications;
  • Preparing and distributing multi-phase grant review abstracts and reports;
  • Reviewing and evaluating the commercialization plans of grant applicants;
  • Providing commercialization assistance and outcome evaluation;
  • Preparing grant award announcements; and
  • Providing post-selection administration support.

In addition to coordinating and executing the above administrative procedures, NCC’s on-site personnel assist with communications outreach and provide any and all necessary customer assistance, among other tasks associated with the electronic grants management process.

By providing thorough management and support of the SBIR/STTR program, NCC has helped DOE achieve several institutional goals, which include 1) funding high quality projects with relevance to DOE mission needs; 2) increasing private sector commercialization of technology developed through DOE SBIR-support research and development; 3) stimulating technological innovation in the private sector; and 4) improving the return on investment from federally-funded research for national economic and social benefits.  We are proud to be associated with this important and unique program, and look forward to continued vibrancy and growth in our relationship with DOE.

 

Custom Event Registration Websites

As a company that offers premiere audiovisual and multimedia solutions to our clients, it’s our business to stay familiar with the newest gadgets and cutting-edge technology.  We remain committed to implementing such solutions when the business needs make it necessary, but we also recognize that while a fancy piece of equipment or program with advanced features is quite impressive, it’s not always the right solution for our clients’ needs. This is especially true when the end-user is not an expert when it comes to navigating complex systems.

So when we were asked to provide an event website with registration for one of our government client’s conferences, we had a choice between offering third-party registration software or building our own lower-cost but customizable site with a simple, clean interface.  Our associates were eager to jump on the opportunity to showcase our dedication to our clients and our flexibility when it comes to meeting their unique requests. Thus, the framework for the event website with registration was built within a month.

Since that first request over two years ago, NCC’s AV & Technology Solutions Team has partnered with our Conference and Peer Review Management Team to launch more than half a dozen individual websites for various private and public sector clients.

The Event Website can be as basic as a single registration page or can be loaded with multiple tabs to communicate the myriad conference details to all meeting participants. No two events are the same, and in keeping with our belief that “one size does NOT fit all”, no two event websites should be either. Flexibility, navigability, and affordability are three key components that make the NCC Event Website an ideal choice.

Flexibility: NCC staff members are dedicated to tailoring our services for our clients through responsive communication and accurate interpretation of individual needs. Once a vision for the Event Website is discussed between the meeting coordinator and NCC’s Conference Team, our associates get to work customizing the website to the client’s specifications. We can modify, add, or delete entry fields for each event so that each has a unique electronic form with the registration information our client needs in order to run an effective conference.  For example, dietary restrictions can help create menus and travel itineraries can be arranged based on necessary travel accommodations as indicated by the attendee. Furthermore, waitlist capabilities, automated e-mail acknowledgment, and session tracking are a few of the other registration features that benefit meeting coordinators as well as attendees. In the days leading up to a large event, meeting details can often change with short notice.

NCC’s in house web designers can respond to requests for changes to the HTML pages or form fields within minutes of receiving a phone call. As soon as the Event Website is launched, the conference team begins monitoring event logistics. Customized Microsoft Excel or PDF reports, name badges, and mailing labels can be generated in a timely manner, allowing the meeting coordinator and our conference team to efficiently track registration and improve overall meeting effectiveness.

Navigability: From a basic welcome page with a customized header to a layered website with tabbed links to organize information, we make certain viewers can easily find what they’re seeking.  All features of NCC’s Event Website are fully customizable and we never compromise on navigability.  Agendas, directions, attendee lists, presentations, speaker lists, travel and hotel information, and other meeting materials are clearly labeled so they can be downloaded by participants. Every page is designed with an eye-appealing aesthetic and built to be user-friendly.

Affordability: Lastly, NCC offers our Event Website at competitive, low rates based solely on the complexity of the final site.  Furthermore, while the majority of registration websites charge a per registrant fee, which can quickly multiple the cost of a meeting, NCC does not. We understand the need for our government clients to choose cost-effective options and are pleased to provide this affordable alternative.

NCC staff members remain committed to providing the best service and value to our clients.  To that end, we’re ready to create our own solution when one does not exist or does not fit within the budget.  Our team looks forward to building Event Websites for meetings of all sizes and types for our current and future clients.

 

LiveWrite

In early 2009, NCC was asked to provide CART services for a student group at a local university that needed to maintain a high quality of service at the lowest cost possible, and on a compressed timeline. To meet this challenge, NCC proposed a remote CART solution as opposed to traditional CART, for which a stenographer is brought on site. While the project was executed successfully and resulted in dramatic savings for the client, the request served as a catalyst for our company to invest in building a more sophisticated long-term solution. The old remote option required the installation of inelegant, third-party software onto the clients’ computers, and so our focus was to create a streamlined, browser-based method of providing CART, which became LiveWriteTM.

Within a few months, our talented AV & Technology Solutions staff had brought LiveWriteTM from concept to final product. Operable within any web browser, the application offers an intuitive and simple way to provide CART services at any venue with a telephone line and internet connection.

As an NCC CART writer listens to live audio (delivered via a standard telephone connection), she enters the corresponding text into the LiveWriteTM caption interface. An event-specific URL (provided to organizations and users prior to an event) displays the words on the viewer side, within seconds of entry by the captioner. End users are able to adjust text size, text color, and background color per their preference. Transcripts are automatically generated as the event proceeds, and can be emailed to clients immediately after completion.

LiveWriteTM has also been used to meet Section 508 requirements for live online broadcasts. An organization can post the LiveWriteTM URL on the event broadcast page, and users who require captioning can view LiveWriteTM in a separate browser window as they watch the proceedings. The transcript can then be timecoded and submitted for use with the archived video.

The convenience and ease of utilizing a web browser for CART or captioning, as opposed to a separate hardware or software solution, makes LiveWriteTM an excellent choice for making any event accessible. This impressive technology, available only from NCC, demonstrates our company’s commitment to excellence through innovation.

Online Certification Database – HUD

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

– 2008-present –

HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC) is committed to providing information to the general public about qualified lead-based paint professionals and healthy homes practitioners as a part of its strategic goal to create healthy and affordable housing infrastructure. In response to this need, HUD OHHLHC retained the services of NCC to:

  • Collect and update a listing of 11,000 trained and certified professionals across the country that are certified to provide remediation services in affected housing;
  • Create webpages in Dreamweaver to communicate this list of remediation professionals;
  • Identify requisite certifications for professionals and firms providing healthy homes hazard remediation services;
  • Create an online database to store the information for certified healthy homes hazard remediation service providers;
  • Create a public website enabling citizens to search for an appropriate, certified provider of healthy homes hazard remediation services, and
  • Develop and manage an e-mail response service for queries from the public; and
  • Provide technical information statements to advance effective services in accordance with HUD regulations, policy and guidance.

This project required NCC to coordinate with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters and regional offices responsible for the regulatory infrastructure and for our associates to contact State and Territory certifying entities to determine the most effective and efficient way to obtain the needed data. NCC also interacted directly with certified individuals and firms to ensure their inclusion on the Healthy Homes Contractors website.

NCC planned and executed the collection and organization of data needed to populate HUD’s web-based registry intended to provide the public with a searchable online listing of lead-based paint and healthy homes professionals. The goal of the Registries project is to provide up-to-date information to allow various users to search and locate capable professionals to assure safe and affordable housing. Specific tasks performed include:

  • Development of Information Criteria and Data Collection and Transmission Protocol.
  • Coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters and regional offices that are responsible for the regulatory infrastructure.
  • Outreach to State and Territory contacts (certifying entities) to determine the most effective and efficient way to obtain the needed data.
  • Standardizing the required data in response to each certifying entity that provides the information in different formats.
  • Identifying, organizing and transmitting the needed data to HUD.
  • Development of an E-mail Response System infrastructure and protocols.
  • Updating technical information based on emerging qualitative and quantitative research.

NCC’s efforts resulted in established relationships with 64 certifying entities nationwide. NCC also standardized data collection and transmission protocols and developed quality control procedures to assure accuracy. Overall, NCC provided 11,000 individual listings within a standardized format which enables HUD to respond to inquiries from various users in a timely manner. Lastly, NCC updated technical information in support of safe lead-based paint hazard control work and healthy homes interventions, effectively supporting HUD’s mission.

Database Software Support – NIH

National Institutes of Health, Division of Medical Arts

– 2006-present –

The NIH Division of Medical Arts (DMA) IT support services is an ongoing requirement supporting the DMA business management system called ScheduALL (SA). DMA required the services of IT resources to enhance the SA resource tracking and business management software system, revamp areas in need of improvement, and fulfill future requirements. NCC was awarded a 9-month initial contract to provide these services. Based upon superior performance, NCC was awarded an 8(a) sole source three-year contract.

NCC participated in the SA federally mandated Security Certification and Accreditation review and all other IT-required processes. Our team was also responsible for enhancing SA reports creation and customization, constructing a relational diagram of the SA database, and assisting with SA upgrades. NCC’s IT experts configured the SA eClient (.net) module, designed replacement database for MAB Log (MS Access tracking system for ORS/Office of Management Analysis and Review), and contributed to system and end-user documentation as it relates to SDLC guidelines. In addition, NCC staff analyzed NIH Business Systems (NBH) and determined impacts on SA

NCC’s work resulted in the successful launch of implementation on-time and within budget as well as the identification of new objectives emerged for enhancements, areas in need of improvement, and future requirements. End-users reported improved overall satisfaction and customer experience with SA due to successful integration of multiple business units into one unified scheduling and billing system. NCC’s success ensured its continued support of DMA IT requirements for a minimum period of 3 years.

Realtime Stadium Captioning – St. Louis Rams

Voice to text equipment

St. Louis Rams

– 2009-present –

The St. Louis Rams (National Football League professional team) required realtime captioning services for the team’s home games in the Edward Jones Dome. The organization needed live captions of the games’ coverage to stream on specialized Daktronics LED boards set up around the interior of the stadium. It is most cost-effective to provide the realtime text remotely, but all realtime captioning at other stadiums around the country had only been done with an on-site captioner. NCC was asked to provide the necessary recommendations and technical expertise to assist the Ram’s and stadium’s staff with the set up for remote captioning prior to the football season’s commencement.

NCC provided assistance in setting up a global IP address within the preexisting system and oversaw the installation of new equipment via telephone and e-mail. We set up multiple quality assurance tests of the new captioning system and created detailed, extensive captioning “dictionaries” for use by the captioner. Lastly, NCC arranged frequent training exercises, including having team rosters and other football-specific terms read aloud by the team’s announcers at a fast pace so that the captioner was accustomed to the announcers’ speech patterns.

Our company successfully reduced the hourly rate for captioning by one-third by setting up the first reliable, single-captioner, remote-captioning system in a major sports arena. A successful connection was made on August 19, two days before the first home game of the season, and NCC completed successful captioning of the August 21 game with our usual standards of speed and accuracy.

Conference Center Support – NSF

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National Science Foundation, Division of Administrative Services

– 2010-present –

NSF’s Meeting and Events Management (MEM) team required assistance to coordinate and manage day-to-day conference room registrations, cancellations, changes and reconfirmations for its 27 conference rooms and the handling of an average of 75 requests daily. In addition, the team required help coordinating A/V technical support and conference room setup for up to 100 conferences and panel meetings daily. Each conference room needed to be monitored throughout the day to ensure that all client needs including laptop rentals, video teleconferencing connections, and catering, were met.

Since October 2010, two full-time NCC employees have been based at NSF’s Arlington headquarters to support MEM personnel. The NCC team’s tasks include ensuring all requests for conference rooms are processed in a timely manner, daily monitoring of each room throughout each day, and recording and subsequently meeting all client requests. Special attention is given to details such as A/V requirements and room configuration requests that are imperative for successful communication at each meeting. In the event that the on-site NSF conference assets are operating at full capacity, NCC’s team members work with local hotels and conference centers to accommodate NSF’s conference overflow requirements.

The NCC employees have successfully integrated with MEM members in order to provide day-to-day reception and administrative support within the MEM office to answer phones, assist walk-in customers, respond to e-mails, maintain calendars, develop room inventory lists, solidify room booking procedures, and establish relationships with local hotels for overflow.

Some significant achievements in the six months we have supported MEM include:

  • Successful relocation of over 60 meetings from two conference rooms during extensive renovation;
  • Proactive and early identification of over 100 reservations that were no longer needed, allowing the rooms to be opened to other customers;
  • Developed inventory tracking and monitoring system for AV equipment usage in conference rooms;
  • Creation and ongoing updates to a resource binder to include instructions, guidelines, pertinent information about MEM conference rooms, services, and products, and points of contact from A to Z;
  • Creation of labels and complete inventory of all new keys for MEM conference rooms;
  • Development and application of quality control procedures to ensure higher accuracy in room reservations and utilization.

Webcasting Services – SAMHSA

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

– 2010 –

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) contacted NCC two days prior to needing support for a 4-hour live webcast for a conference at a boys and girls club in Northwest Washington, D.C. NCC was able to provide webcasting services at a very reasonable price and was selected to work on the project. SAMHSA required that the webcast reach 300 individuals, that it be archived for 12 months, and that onsite support be provided. Originally, SAMHSA did not require that the PowerPoint slides be delivered via webcast during the presentation, but jumped at the opportunity when NCC notified them of the capability.

NCC extensively researched how to acquire an internet signal strong enough to successfully stream the webcast to all the viewers. Internet speed tests confirmed that the building had very slow internet capabilities, and that a new faster internet would need to be installed for the webcast to run smoothly. The day of the webcast, NCC’s multimedia expert arrived at the event three hours prior to the beginning of the webcast to set up equipment, test connections, and perform an event rehearsal. During the event, NCC was responsible for changing slides for the presentation. At the conclusion of the webcast, NCC took the original video file and added the PowerPoint presentations as well as captions to provide a complete final product that is archived on a server for later viewing.

Webcasting Services – DOE

Department of Energy

– 2009 –

The Department of Energy (DOE) had previously worked with NCC on other closed captioning events and contacted us for webcasting capabilities, which in turn led us to contact our long time partner, Accordent, who provided hardware for the webcast. DOE required a 4-hour live webstream to reach 500 individuals in many buildings across the U.S. During the presentation, slides needed to be delivered via webcast in addition to links to downloadable materials. DOE also requested onsite support during the webcast and needed the webcast archived for one year.

NCC determined Accordent was the best possible solution due to its platform’s ease of use and distinguishing features that were not available with other vendors. Two other companies, Powerstream and Diversified Technologies, provided additional support during the event. By working with these three companies, NCC acquired the hardware needed for the webcast, streaming servers to deliver the content to viewers, and the access to the fiber lines at DOE necessary to reach an outside audience. All internal work for this webcasting session was performed by one of NCC’s AV & Technology Solutions Senior Associates. One hundred percent of the work was performed onsite at the DOE.

NCC arrived at the event 3 hours prior to the beginning of the webcast to set up equipment, test connections, and perform an event rehearsal. An Accordent Capture Station was connected to the DOE’s cameras to encode the data and deliver the broadcast. Through our strategic partners we were able to access the Crawford fiber lines at the DOE and therefore reach the servers capable of delivering the live content. NCC’s Senior Associate oversaw the functionality of the Capture Station, organized slides, and coordinated with the event organizers to ensure accurate timing. Several lecturers spoke, the webcast was completed flawlessly, and NCC archived each of the lectures individually on our servers for future on-demand access.