The Future of Broadcast Connectivity

Jamie Adkin

Author: Jamie Adkin

Published 10th September 2019

The Future of Broadcast Connectivity

The use of KVM equipment has been essential to meet the evolving needs of the broadcast industry for many years. Over that time, many in the industry have recognised the importance of using IP-enabled KVM to break down technological barriers and enable real-time access to visuals wherever and whenever they’re needed. These components are vital parts in live production environments in particular.

Broadcasters can enhance versality across production workflows solely by using IP as a transport network. This will ultimately decrease the total cost of ownership when compared to traditional approaches. Due to the enhanced advantages that IP is bringing across the production space, more and more broadcasters and post-production houses are willing to implement IP KVM to ensure they do not lag behind their competitors.

The advantages of IP are huge. In particular, IP can be used to save a multitude of hardware costs whilst also improving scalability and flexibility, to name but a few benefits. The broadcast landscape has changed significantly over the last few years with consumer demands causing major changes to content creation workflows. However, faced with rising costs, shrinking budgets and the drive to do more with less, IP is providing the answers to many broadcast challenges.

Connecting remotely

To put it simply, IP KVM has allowed organisations to move away from traditional technology and instead use existing network infrastructure to shift video and audio across the broadcast space. This new technology has ultimately made direct-connect KVM a thing of the past.

One example which illustrates this perfectly is flexibility. High performance IP KVM gives broadcast operations the ability to connect remotely to many computers from any user station, allowing the computers to be relocated into a purpose-built server room. Not only does this approach improve the user environment by saving space, it also provides operational freedom to maximise the use of production spaces, radio studios or edit suites. Having multi-purpose environments or rooms that can be reconfigured in minutes enables broadcasters to squeeze the very most out of their physical and technological real estate.

IP-based KVM offers enhanced flexibility to broadcasters in the way they manage infrastructure and workflows, enabling direct improvement of ROI. It also provides the quality required for today's demanding environment, which is likely to become more complex in the future.This trend of relocating resources away from the users has been very popular with broadcasters upgrading infrastructure, optimising security and particularly those building new facilities.

For customers in the broadcast industry, one of the key drivers for adopting IP is scalability. Proprietary KVM solutions often pose limitations to broadcasters who are looking to expand their facilities – whether that is in the form of pre-configured ports or the need to purchase additional costly hardware to allow for such expansion.

Limitless nature of IP

In contrast, the limitless nature of IP adds huge possibilities to an ever-developing broadcast workflow and its growing infrastructure setup. IP KVM is designed to expand as a business’ needs flex – meaning there is no need to try and identify the number of required ports at the beginning of a project. Supporting this, the adoption of IP means there is no ceiling to the number of connected users, computers or endpoint devices such as tablets and cameras.

An IP KVM matrix allows operators to switch, extend, share machines and content without loss of quality or performance, and to add access points or re-route parts of a network. This can be further extended with remote access solutions based upon WAN networks.

This was perfectly illustrated in 2017 when the centre of a major German city was evacuated to diffuse a residual World War II bomb. Within the evacuation area was a major German television network in the middle of a live transmission. An IP KVM matrix meant the customer could reroute the broadcast networks and access the resources from outside the building – leading to a safe evacuation without any disruption for viewers.

KVM is by no means a new technology, but over recent years its use of IP has created a range of advantages for the broadcast industry. Used across the broadcast space, IP-based KVM now allows broadcasters to switch between resources in real time with no loss of quality. An IP-based solution brings reliability and efficiency to all operations, allowing physical technology to be relocated away from the operating environment.

IP KVM: A question of when, rather than if

The broadcast workflow has changed significantly over recent years due to high performance IP KVM. Ranging from cost-effective scalability to enhancing flexibility, the benefits that IP KVM have demonstrated are second to none. The world’s leading broadcasters, studios and post-production houses will reap the benefits of this adoption and will see them reflected in great quality content.

As the broadcast industry constantly evolves, the importance of IP-based KVM technology as an enabler cannot be understated. KVM solutions will continue to evolve and meet the needs of broadcast experts while enabling users to transcend traditional boundaries.

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