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CONTENT Information, control and automation But not as you know it. by Sandra Squire A ccurate clocks, timing and cue information are essential components of any broadcasting envi- ronment – directors, production teams and presenters have always depended on them for the delivery of broadcast critical operations. This is still the case today and very unlikely to change. What is changing though is the way that broadcasting organisations are creating and delivering their content. Budgets are tighter, competition is rife, delivery channels more numerous and technologies more diverse. One of the outcomes of all this is that facilities are now designed to be multi-functional, catering for the needs of many different users. It is now very common for studios and control rooms to be used by different stations and their production teams, reducing operational costs in the process. Dealing with the complexities of these new facilities means that we all have to work and think much smarter and as a consequence, Chief Engineers and Specifi ers are looking more and more for total solutions that can be operated by non-technical staff, expanded as requirements dictate and represent good value for money. Clock, cue lamps and alerts, multi-time zones, production timer being deployed, in particular IP networking and with good reason. The advantages of IP networking are signifi cant; it’s scalable, so it is easy to expand; it’s convenient, making it easy to install and it is future-proof, meaning that it is very likely to ‘fi t’ with any future requirements. Exploiting these qualities has helped IPE – a UK-based SI with over 30 years experience – design and develop their own sophisticated solution especially for the broadcast industry. Designed with production teams in mind but with much wider applications, IDS is an IP-based display and control system that delivers bespoke information and control interfaces to users via networked display devices. Take clocks, timing and cue information for example. Traditionally, these functions would have required extensive wiring and sophisticated logic to perform even the simplest operation. Today, all of that functionality and sophisticated logic can be delivered and controlled using modern off-the-shelf display devices connected over their own IP network. Gone are the ugly consoles and inaccessible wiring. But the journey doesn’t end there. IDS is a very powerful multi-function toolbox comprised of dedicated software and hardware devices that operate using a standard TCP/ IP infrastructure. Using its screen designer and logic mapping software, users can create sophisticated displays and control interfaces for a variety of key functions including: Clocks and timing Every device on an IDS network is synchronized using NTP/LTC – clocks (analogue and digital), multi-time zones, up/down timers, production timers, off-set time recorders and tally interfaces. All of these time sources can be managed from one central location and delivered to any display device over the network, from a discreet desktop touchscreen to large monitors around the facility. Information display Dynamic information based on custom layouts and designs can be delivered to any connected display device. Information can include clocks, cue lamps, scrolling text, control interfaces, video streams, URLs, RSS feeds, alerts, signage and branded media. Import XML fi les, input data via keyboards or interface with third party control and automation systems. Whatever the source, the information derived is then displayed exactly where it is required; studios, control rooms, newsrooms and open areas. Systems Integrators (SIs) have always worked hard to keep abreast of change and deliver solutions that are fi t for purpose. Nowadays, it is unlikely that you’ll come across a hard- wired studio with all its cumbersome equipment. And there is a very good reason for that – making changes to these old fashioned systems was invasive and expensive. Today, you are much more likely to fi nd conventional IT practices On Air warnings, clocks and arrivals boards – all via IP. 50 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 90 JUNE 2014