VIEWS & INTERVIEWS

Tools to streamline media workflow

In the connected world of today and as the industry moves towards a cloud-based content distribution model, new or enhanced tools that can streamline the broadcast workflow will be in high demand. With an eye on 2019, IHSE has developed a “True KVM” that enables operators to access the computer-based systems they rely on, in real time, with absolutely no loss of image quality and totally without failure! Josephine Tan contacted Michael Spatny, head of sales and marketing for IHSE, to find out more …

“We expect to see significant and continued growth in the broadcast and media markets. KVM switches are an essential part of every broadcast workflow, and are increasingly being introduced into post-production and media creation studios.

“Also, there is a growing need to be able to access real and virtual devices in the same manner — whether they are local, remote or virtual. KVM switches and extenders allow this,” said Michael Spatny.

“Our strategy is to create products that help and secure the broadcast sector — summed up by our philosophy of creating tools that streamline and protect the broadcast workflow,” he said, adding that an essential element is IHSE’s commitment to the broadcast sector — both at the user level and with collaborative partners.

“We will continue to place a high level of emphasis on delivering practical solutions to customers and responding to their needs. Equally important, we will continue to work closely with other industry vendors, like EVS, Avid, Calrec, Vizrt, and others, to ensure our systems are compatible with theirs, making it simpler for integrators and end-users to deploy fully operational broadcast system solutions.”

Keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) extenders and switches are now commonly included in large, complex broadcast installations, but they must comply with certain fundamental requirements; in addition, systems are becoming more complex and sophisticated, particularly as the broadcast workflow moves towards a network-centric model.

Operators working in a broadcast facility need to be able to access a wide variety of devices — some of which will be local, some may be remote, and others will only exist in a virtual domain in the cloud.

“Any corruption or interruption to that signal flow can be highly detrimental to the business operation, and in some cases, has catastrophic consequences,” warned Spatny, saying that every device inserted into that signal chain must be highly reliable and backed up by redundant components as well as individual components must be configured so that operation can continue, or at least revert to a safe state, should a system failure occur.

“True KVM” refers to the total solution that needs to be provided by a KVM system to encompass the following critical factors:

• Performance
The image presented to the user must be accurate, without any artefacts or degradation, and there should be no delay. This is particularly important in the broadcast industry as it relies on visually and audibly perfect content.

• Reliability
The system must be able to deliver essential commercial services on a 24/7 basis. To ensure this, broadcast chains are heavily backed up with redundant components — and the KVM system must be able to do this too. Draco extenders and switches incorporate extensive backup facilities to meet whatever level of reliability, and redundancy strategy is demanded.

• Safety
IHSE switches are designed to continue to deliver signals to the user, and respond even if there are failures in the core system. Although the capability to change sources will be lost temporarily, an operator will still be able to access the last-connected device.

• Security
Mission-critical control systems and those that carry commercially-sensitive data must be secure from external access by unauthorised agents. Any system that relies on an IP network is likely to have exposed entry points. Draco KVMs are closed and cannot be accessed by remote network devices. In addition, its internal data protocols ensure that all data is encrypted and not readily available externally. Draco KVM switches are protected by SecureCore, which isolates the signals passing through the switch from the outside world, preventing external access and ensuring that sensitive data is kept totally secure.

• Control
The control layer for the KVM system should be separated from the route taken by the signals as far as possible to prevent the data network becoming compromised through component failure or cyberattack. IHSE employs an “out-of-band” control topography to achieve this in the Draco tera.

• Connectivity
The broadcast industry, like most others, is evolving rapidly and moving to a network-centric, cloud-based, infrastructure. KVM must also evolve, and this is something that we are addressing through the new IP CPU and CON units. These devices allow connection to computers and workstations over IP networks. To the user, real and virtual IP-connected devices appear just like any other device on their workstations.

“True KVM” is an IHSE strategy to capture the growth in broadcast and media sectors in 2019 and beyond.

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