1 September 2022
ITV Central, which is based in Birmingham, England, has a long history of creating outstanding content, not least the immensely popular Inspector Morse television version. Involve has developed a two room system in collaboration with UK Symetrix distributor CUK Audio that can integrate external sources into meetings consistently and coherently.
ITV Central has always provided a fascinating blend of breaking news and ground-breaking drama to millions of viewers as one of the UK’s most innovative broadcasters. The broadcaster recently set out to increase the flexibility and effectiveness of its remote communications in order to better meet the demands of covering the entire Midlands region of England. An Attero Tech unDUSB USB-Dante interface and a Symetrix Radius AEC DSP form the basis of the solution.
ITV Central, which is based in Birmingham, England, has a long history of creating outstanding content, not least the immensely popular Inspector Morse television version. Although until recently the station’s capacity to communicate with distant reporters was limited by technology, its regional news coverage is equally as regarded.
“We have a regular need for remote comms,” explains ITV’s Ian Glen. “We put two programs out every day with reporters based in multiple locations. At the end of the day we hold a debrief conversation from those same multiple locations and we were finding that the phone system we were using was unreliable and we had great difficulty in hearing those at the remote end.”
Seeking a solution, the broadcaster engaged leading UK systems integrator Involve Visual Collaboration, Ltd., to create a flexible meeting space. “Our head of news instructed me to look into a solution and that led me to Involve,” recalls Glen. “Initially we were only planning a single room, but the solution fitted our needs so well that we decided to go for two rooms.”
Involve has developed a two room system in collaboration with UK Symetrix distributor CUK Audio that can integrate external sources into meetings consistently and coherently. A Symetrix Radius AEC, which guarantees clarity under all conditions, lies at the core of the design. “ITV required a solution that would enable those in the meeting space to communicate intelligibly via a range of VoIP services including Google Hangouts, with reporters and other staff in remote locations,” says CUK’s Simon Druce, who helped specify the system.
Users using a tablet (connected to a wireless access point) can control volume on a Symetrix ARC-WEB internet interface, making it easy and clutter-free to operate the Radius AEC. Loudspeakers and an amplifier are connected to the outputs. While hanging microphones record replies and the Radius AEC makes sure that all remote users receive the same high definition audio, the Radius AEC blends all the remote sources to offer highly understandable sounds to the room. “It’s an ideal solution for this application,” says Druce.
Meeting attendees can also plug in their own devices thanks to the inclusion of an Attero Tech unDUSB USB-Dante interface. “Local users can connect laptops or other mobile devices via USB to the Dante network and use them to call, present, and facilitate a meeting if they prefer to work that way,” Druce continues. “Both USB and VoIP can run concurrently so the Symetrix Radius then becomes a bridge for all parties and allows multi-participant conversations. It’s an elegant, efficient and highly cost-effective solution that ticks all the boxes for ITV Central.”
“It has made the process of group calling so much more efficient and a much nicer experience generally,” agrees Ian Glen. “Previously it could take ages to sort out a meeting, and even then, some people ended up sitting with their backs to the mic and the audio quality was poor. Now, everything is ready to go in minutes, we have proper coverage of the room and the audio is crystal clear at both ends. We’re delighted.”