A recent Radio World ebook explored trends in remote contribution.
Rafael Pérez López is application and sales engineer for Prodys, which specializes in audio and video compression and transmission technologies.
Rafa Pérez: At Prodys we think it’s vital that the remote commentator, who will probably not have extensive technical knowledge, does not feel overwhelmed by equipment that is technologically advanced and not necessarily intuitive to operate.
We therefore think it’s vital that remote equipment can be controlled at all times by the technical staff in the studio, from the moment the equipment is switched on.
RW: Has the pandemic changed the way your clients view the role and management of remote audio contribution?
Pérez: They have realized that work can be done remotely with a high standard of quality. We foresee that this will lead to a further delocalization of program production and the flexibilization of workplaces. It’s no longer crazy that someone can do their daily work from home or from another continent.
RW: Is there a product or feature, recently introduced by your company, that typifies the changing way in which broadcasters are managing remote audio?
Pérez: We’ve recently introduced the possibility of controlling the equipment remotely during the entire time it is switched on by integrating a 3G/4G/5G modem that is active at all times and can also be used for audio transmission or not.
This frees the end user to perform tasks for which in many cases he/she is not qualified.
RW: What technologies are in place to provide redundancy or fail-over for critical links?
Pérez: Prodys’ favorite technology to guarantee a correct audio transmission is diversity mode. Our codecs have a variable number of IP interfaces, ranging from two to 10, depending on the built-in options. The diversity mode allows a copy of audio information to be transmitted through all of them simultaneously, which introduces a very high degree of redundancy.
This strategy is not only typical of our proprietary BRAVE communications protocol, but is also possible to some extent in SIP communications, although in this case limited to two IP interfaces.
RW: Have supply chain issues affected manufacturers? What are you doing about it?
Pérez: The impact has been huge. The failures of major electronic component manufacturers have created a domino effect that has resulted in unaccustomed lead times to our customers, and this is something that we really regret.
Our company is making a huge effort to search for components in the most unlikely places and, if necessary, implement alternatives thanks to our R&D department. Both purchasing and R&D have been working hard over the last few months to minimize the impact of this crisis.