TV-BAY June 2013

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Power Management The greening of broadcast facilities by Chris Exelby, TSL Professional Products, Ltd. I n today’s world of tightening broadcast facility budgets, planners need to keep a keen eye on the bottom line to ensure operational efficiency. An integral part of this process is getting a green handle on power management, an increasing necessity around the globe. Power management not only helps with awareness of system components, concerning signal integrity and maintenance, but also for conserving power to meet Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) goals needed for green credentials. An important factor in power management is the ability to intelligently monitor the operational environment very quickly and pass this information to the maintenance engineers instantly. An alarm is often the first warning an engineering team will get that something is broken. The feedback provided by the alarm, depending on the power solution, includes information about Energy temperature, current and voltage going to each individual rack-mounted unit in a facility. As there are many different types of alarms available, the engineering team can use this information to quickly assess the problem, locate the offending gear and institute a fix. This allows the broadcaster to identify faults more quickly, thereby streamlining facility quality assurance. Ethernet connectivity and IP-capable monitoring of studio equipment, is a second element to look for in power management, as a chief engineer can then monitor racks of equipment wherever they are situated, either locally or in facilities around the world. This centralized approach means a broadcaster can keep the engineering management in one location, and this engineering team can then issue orders out to the maintenance engineer on site. This allows a broadcaster to rely on fewer engineers in general, and those engineers can be deployed more efficiently to maintain operational integrity. Power management helps green capabilities to be realized through the efficient use of equipment. This engineering direction came to light for TSL through a conversation with a broadcaster in India. Certain locations in India have particular problems with the generation and wasting of power, including brownouts and mandatory usage reductions. This particularly impacts a broadcast facility where the equipment in the racks is usually powered up all the time. Most equipment has an on/off switch on the back of the unit, which is, therefore, inaccessible to the staff. So even if there was the desire to turn off equipment at night when the station is playing out programs that were pre-recorded, jumping into the back of the equipment racks is extremely impractical, if not impossible. Additionally, manually turning equipment off overnight and then turning it on again in the morning opens up a Pandora’s Box of possible problems and oversights. When the inevitable happens and a key piece of gear is left off right before a live presentation, the mad scramble begins. The TSL engineering team took this question to heart and implemented a software solution for its power management products where the user can specify rack by rack and location to location what equipment is not necessary for overnight operations, as an example. The last person out the door can select the ‘Out-of-Hours’ working preset created by the facility engineering team, locally or remotely, and the system will automatically go through the entire network and switch everything off that isn’t required for continued station operation. This solution allows businesses to meet PUE goals that help demonstrate the demanding ‘green’ capabilities for ‘green’ credentials. Our Indian customer estimates that by using this method of power management, they will be able to save 40 percent of their power bill, which is quite significant for the operational bottom line. In a broadcasting world looking for cost saving efficiencies, this solution is the obvious first step for green-inspired cost cutting. And of course this particular application in India gets even more complex because the power company will often call and say, ‘you’ve got to cut your power consumption by 20 percent for two 66 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 78 JUNE 2013 TV-BAY078JUN13.indd 66 10/06/2013 15:16