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GatesAir, StreamGuys Translate Closures Into Metadata

Their partnership is intended to benefit broadcasters moving broadcast audio over IP

StreamGuys, AudioLogger
StreamGuys AudioLogger

GatesAir and StreamGuys announced a partnership that they say opens new revenue models and production workflows for radio by bringing traditional “trigger-based” services and events into the cloud.

It involves the automation of “server-side” applications in the cloud for broadcasters who want to move live AM/FM audio over IP networks. “The technical innovation translates GPIO contact closures into in-stream metadata,” they stated in their announcement, “enabling server-side ad breaks, program recordings and other functionality without physical intervention.”

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As StreamGuys President Kiriki Delany explained the project, GPIO contact closures have been a radio industry standard for switching hardware and signaling workflows, while live-streaming media uses metadata for that purpose. “These workflows have operated in parallel for too long.” He said the partnership bridges physical and digital domains.

The companies said StreamGuys will receive and interface server-side cloud services as program streams move between send and receive sites. GatesAir Intraplex IP Link codecs provide connectivity and audio transport between locations, adding protection through stream redundancy and network resiliency from Intraplex Dynamic Stream Splicing software.

StreamGuys Director of Technology Eduardo Martinez was quoted saying the companies believe no other broadcast codecs can translate physical GPIO triggers into streaming metadata.

GatesAir Intraplex IP Link, broadcast audio codecs
GatesAir Intraplex IP Link

He said potential users include broadcasters who want to support ad triggers or automate content publishing. “It establishes a path to enhance traditional STL and satellite-based workflows in the digital domain. These solutions also provide a simpler yet secure architecture for broadcast networks receiving live feeds direct from a sports team, a remote content producer or an at-home broadcaster.”

IP Link users can configure eight GPIOs for triggered events in the codec’s firmware at a send location. Each contact closure can be mapped with a customized metadata string, and sent in-band with the encoded stream.

According to the announcement, the codec supports Icecast and RTP (Real-Time Transport Protocol) streaming formats with Dynamic Stream Splicing and works with GatesAir’s cloud-based Intraplex Ascent server for more reliability. On the server side, StreamGuys receives the audio and translated metadata flow that identifies an ad break within the live feed, triggering midrolls for dynamic ad insertion applications. Because metadata is used for digital signaling and switching, users can trigger server-side program recordings and air checks.

“Furthermore, a delimiter function supports sending multiple contact closures to more receive locations, including streaming servers that replicate live AM/FM streams online,” the companies stated. They quoted GatesAir VP of Engineering Keyur Parikh saying this provides a foundation for terrestrial broadcasters to launch a simulcast streaming service, podcast or side channel when using StreamGuys’ cloud-based SGrecast platform for content repurposing. A new auto-publishing feature of SGrecast’s Audio Logger can reuse live ad triggers to monetize podcasts, without the need for post-production labor.

Parikh said Intraplex users now can take advantage of cloud-based revenue-enhancing services. “Built-in transcoding and transmuxing capabilities will allow our customers to use the same encoding device to generate multiple streams of the same content with different encoding and stream formats.”

One application would allow radio stations to support IP STL connections and web streaming from the same platform.