Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player at the end of this year. That plan was announced in 2017, and now the end of support is coming up.
This will have an impact on developers, businesses and consumers.
Bob Tarsio is president of Broadcast Devices Inc. He has been raising awareness of this change with his clients and answering questions about how it affects BDI products.
Radio World: Bring us up to date, what should radio stations know about Flash right now?
Bob Tarsio: Not only BDI-provided equipment but all Flash-enabled hardware and software will be impacted more or less by the end of Flash support. So I urge everyone to check with their respective providers for update information.
For BDI customers, all Flash-dependent products will continue to operate for their intended functions even after the Flash sunset. We want to stress this because some might think that everything stops working on 1-1-21 sort of a Y2K thing all over!
What will be impacted is the ability to use commonly available browsers to access your equipment.
This does not mean however that the equipment cannot be interrogated or controlled. That is because all BDI Flash-dependent products use SNMP, or Simple Network Management Protocol, for communication between SNMP-based software such as the BDI Stack Graphical User Interface, which is available for free download from our support page.
What customers will have difficulty with is accessing the web servers that are present in our Flash-based products for such things as initial setup including IP configuration information such as IP addresses, subnets, etc. In addition, the ability to change passwords or usernames.
All other communication is unaffected as SNMP is used to communicate with not only our BDI Stack program but third-party software and hardware such as the popular remote controls that support SNMP communications.
RW: Which of your products are affected?
Tarsio: There are basically three product classes of BDI products that may be impacted: all of our popular DPS-100D series True RMS Power meters; some SWP series controllers and remote controls; and some SWP series antenna products.
In addition our ATB/GPM/DAB model base number digital/analog audio switchers can be affected. We made some as SWP base model number units and ATBGPM/DAB base model number units that had web access that did depend on Adobe Flash player for operation.
All new shipping equipment is already Flash-free.
To tell if your equipment is Flash-dependent, access your unit via a web browser, and if it asks to run Adobe Flash player, you have an impacted unit. If not you can either continue to use your product as usual or for older units these can be upgraded if the customer so desires.
By the way, the older units not relying on Flash only used the web browser interface for initial setup as well, but these will continue to function.
RW: What should users of your affected products do now?
Tarsio: First, make sure all of your units can be accessed by a web browser to determine if that equipment is Flash-dependent as I described. Record your information now including username, passwords and IP setup information. Visit BDI’s website support page, where we have information about what customers can do to upgrade their equipment in and out of warranty. There is a document for each product class, and these discuss what customer options are.
What we can tell you is that no BDI equipment will be made obsolete by the Adobe Flash sunset. All impacted equipment will either continue to operate or is eligible for upgrade.
In the case of the DPS-100D series it’s like getting a new meter because the upgrade described on our web page is the new Generation II operating system, which makes some real improvements to even existing DPS-100D series power meters.
RW: What else should readers know?
Tarsio: BDI provides what we believe to be good support for products in and out of warranty, sometimes for a lot longer than many have come to expect for electronics in general. This is ever more important to the broadcast community, which faces challenging economic times along with the rest of the country.
All BDI products are today Adobe Flash-free. Our offerings that have web servers utilize HTML5 browser interfaces, and we provide applications software for our current product lines, which include our new DPS-100D Generation II true RMS power meter, SWP-200 series motorized switch controllers, SWP-300 remote controls and SWP-206 Antenna monitor products. On the audio side the ATB/GPM/DAB digital/analog audio switchers and our AES-400 series audio switchers have an optional web interface that has always been Flash-free.
Contact us at BDI if you have questions or need guidance on next steps.