Applied Electronics is Canada’s leading provider of integrated media solutions and professional audio visual, broadcast and data management technology. They offer system design, supply and integration services, and deliver innovative solutions to improve workflows, communication and collaboration for companies with media integration requirements.
The Shopping Channel (TSC), a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited (a subsidiary of Rogers Media Inc.), is a leading interactive, multi-channel retailer, offering a vast assortment of exclusive products and top brand names to its customers. TSC incorporates entertainment, inspiration, personalities, and industry leaders to provide a unique shopping experience, where customers find exceptional selections in Health & Beauty, Jewelry, Home/Lifestyle, Fashion/Accessories, and Electronics. Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, it is one of Canada’s most innovative and diversified retailers and reaches over 7 million households across Canada.
TSC reached out to Applied Electronics with the goal to upgrade its broadcast facility to HD and implement new file-based, automated workflows. In reviewing Shopping Channel’s existing systems, Applied Electronics and TSC found many opportunities for improvement. For example, media was labeled with many disparate media ID names and numbers and there were many variations of the same piece of media, housed in many different playout devices. A great deal of manual assistance was needed throughout the broadcast chain to ensure the correct media made it to air at the correct time. It was important, therefore, to develop a system that was automated, easy to use, and made finding assets straightforward.
The upgraded facility would require new infrastructure, including state-of-the-art media servers, routers, production switchers, signal monitoring, and signal conversion. Very important was a new digital media asset management solution that would help the channel centralize its media assets, reduce the need for manual input, and cut down on duplicate copies of the same assets. To streamline access to those assets and to use them for production, editing, graphics, sales, and ultimately broadcast, Applied Electronics would need to put in place file-based automated workflows to support whatever processes were required. Key to the solution would be a powerful, extendable mechanism to allow access and control from virtually any desktop, and keyboard, video, and mouse control and extension would be the heart of that solution.
To solve the issues and streamline operations, Applied Electronics introduced IPV, a media asset management system, to act as the gatekeeper of all media. IPV oversees the ingest process, moves media within the system, culminates and parses information from the in-house sales and enterprise systems, constructs playlists, and deletes stale, dated material. To access and control content in the workflows, TSC and Applied Electronics chose KVM equipment from Thinklogical, including the Velocity VX80 router and Velocity T-Series Extenders. Per Saeid Karimi, project manager for Applied Electronics, important factors were the equipment’s reliability as well as its any-to-any switching capability, because people at TSC need that capability to support multi-tasking. Karimi says, “The system is multi-functional, so they have to keep switching back and forth, and the Thinklogical KVM system allows them to do that.” The large capacity of the router means that connections can be added, enabling TSC to add sources and destinations to the system.
Because TSC is a 24/7 operation, it was essential to build redundancy into the entire system to make sure the channel would be up and running at all times, even in the event of a power failure. Karimi says, a major requirement was, “the ability to have a dual system, main and back up, basically to have two systems to operate from, so if one [goes off-line] the other kicks in.” For that reason, Applied Electronics installed two identical Thinklogical routers.
A major requirement for TSC is transmission and viewing of high quality video signals. With Thinklogical’s advanced technology, TSC gets full view of HD video that travels great distances over fiber optic cable from one end of the facility to the other.
TSC is happy with its upgraded facility, including the KVM equipment from Thinklogical. The ability to extend and view high quality video with Thinklogical’s equipment is a big plus that answers a key customer need. Karimi says, “Usually there’s a limitation of extending the signal over a distance, but with the hardware from Thinklogical you can have full resolution, which is good.”
Another benefit is the ease of using Thinklogical’s equipment. Karimi says, “It’s actually very simple to use and the people at TSC like it.” Installation of the equipment also was simple with the assistance of engineers from Thinklogical.
The expandability of the equipment allows for the addition of sources and destinations. Since the new facility was put in place, TSC has purchased additional Thinklogical equipment to add another source and destination to the system.
High quality signals, better organization of and access to assets, and a reliable solution that is up and running all the time makes for a happy customer.