DCA Lab Expansion

Grants and Contracts Details


In working with ORAU, our long term goal for the DCA development initiative is to expand the UK-DCA lab to specific locales within the Tennessee Valley Corridor (TVC) where ORAU’s member institutions reside. The first step in meeting this long term goal is to establish a test satellite location at one partner institution (University of Alabama at Huntsville). Specific aims include the following: 1) Develop and test a new prototype for a remote digital video recording (DVR) server system. As part of ongoing efforts toward innovation, we have been developing a prototype for a robust, remotely-monitored DVR server system. The prototype design offers a plug and play rackmounted server with enterprise class features and redundancy; the comprehensive management features will allow us to ship the server to its host location for physical installation and to manage and troubleshoot all aspects of the system remotely. The prototype is nearing completion, and we plan to test it “in house” at UK before testing it in the field. We have been contacting Insight, the cable provider for the Lexington market, to negotiate the DVR capture process for the new system. 2) Deploy the prototype system in the test market. To be able to deploy the system, we will need to develop working relationships with administrators and staff at UAH to identify an appropriate location on campus to house the system and to plan oversight of system installation. To take the system live, we will need to develop a working relationship and negotiate an agreement with Comcast, the cable provider in the UAH market. For this demonstration project, the DCAHuntsville lab will be designed to capture the four major network channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. 3) Demonstrate the research utility of the DCA-Huntsville lab. We will develop working relationships with interested UAH media researchers and design and conduct a pilot study to demonstrate the utility of the satellite lab. A potential study could involve comparing Huntsville and Lexington market news coverage of a national crisis. We also will explore the potential for long term research collaborations across the two universities. 4) Determine long term feasibility of the system in terms of maintenance and support costs. If we are to establish and operate multiple satellite DCA labs, then we need to have knowledge of the resources required to maintain and operate such a system. In terms of hardware maintenance, the manufacturer’s onsite warranty provides two-hour turnaround on a 24x7 schedule for failed or failing hardware; the server’s proactive systems management software anticipates imminent failure of a part and notifies the manufacturer, who will automatically order the replacement part and dispatch a technician to install it. 5) Begin development of a long term operations protocol. The hardware that comprises the remote DVR server system has a limited lifetime. During this project, we will track data that will allow us to determine hardware life-span and establish a replacement schedule. Once hardware has reached the end of its life-span as a viable server, it can be repurposed for related functions to extend its useful life. Although such a transition will not occur during this pilot project, we plan to develop a protocol that will allow us to transition equipment from satellite locations back to UK for repurposing. 6) Explore viable business models for the UK-DCA lab. Ideally, a system as innovative and powerful as the UK-DCA lab should be available to the research community to promote our understanding of the impact of televised media on public health. As we deploy and test our first satellite lab, we will explore business models that would allow viable expansion and operation within the constraints of copyright law.
Effective start/end date9/1/119/30/12


  • Oak Ridge Associated Universities: $15,000.00


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