THE Broadcast Control and Monitoring System
A VSM control system brings together all the requirements for a safe and flexible broadcast operation. The “everything under one roof” philosophy unites technical devices and operators in a most adaptable way. User panels and interfaces can be configured without limitation to meet the requirements of different workflows and applications, while the whole system is under redundant control.
The IP infrastructure of a VSM network, including all control panels, interfaces and external devices, guarantees easy installation. All the advantages of IP connectivity, such as its high data performance and standard management components, increase the power of a complete broadcast system. As a unique feature, real time feedback from every single crosspoint and parameter is available, as well as special applications such as audio metering via the protocol. All VSM user interfaces display the confirmed action from an attached device, for example, a router. This guarantees maximum transparency for every operator and every control unit. Additionally, a global naming facility for mixers, UMDs, user panels and many other devices provides status information at a glance.
THE BASIC CONCEPT
One Independent Control System - Full System Control Under One Umbrella
Making the most out of available budgets, technology and personnel resources are hot topics for both engineers and management in today’s modern broadcast environment. With technology advancing so fast, protecting investments in professional broadcast hardware over the long term becomes a harder challenge day by day.
Combine this with the need to simplify operational tasks and workflows to increase efficiency, without compromising on-air quality and security, and the importance of investing in flexible core infrastructures becomes even more apparent. The key to addressing all these topics revolves around a single sophisticated layer of control throughout an entire system.
Imagine having an independent control and monitoring system that allows operation, configuration and system integration of your chosen broadcast equipment and third-party devices.
The concept separates hardware technology decisions from the operational control requirements therefore allowing core hardware components to be freely exchanged without changing interfaces or workflows for operational and technical staff. Training costs and time can be saved due to a single control system administrational interface that handles the control and setup of numerous devices.
Abstracting the control parameters of many devices into a single control layer provides a platform to freely create workflows and user interfaces specifically optimized to simplify operational tasks without reference to the hardware behind. The VSM control system offers an extensive system integration toolbox that allows the customer to easily change interfaces without manufacturer support, giving peace of mind that the system will be able to adapt and grow as needs and requirements change over time.
vsmStudio - Power and Configurability In Your Hands
vsmStudio software is the heart of the VSM system and the main administration and configuration tool that runs continuously on all VSM servers in the system. From here, an easy-to-use GUI provides all the functions, tools and setup wizards to control and customize your VSM system to your specific application and workflow needs. Additionally, all connected hardware settings and statuses are shown in real-time, with instant control and feedback.
The basic vsmStudio software license provides all the tools needed to administrate communication ports, define and control router layers, enter signal paths and labels, configure all hardware and software panel user interfaces and many other features. A number of modular `add-on’ software functions can then be added for more sophisticated functionalities such as scheduling, boxing, pooling etc.
The vsmStudio software concept is that after initial assistance and factory support with custom configuration to mold the product into the project specific requirements, the customer is trained and left with a tool to continually adapt, add and change all parts of the system without further factory support.
As your needs change, the full power and configurability of VSM is in your hands. Not only this, technical staff need only learn one system interface to control numerous devices, saving time and money in training.
- Heart of the VSM product
- User-friendly software to handle all configuration, administration and central control
- Configuration changes occur in real-time with no download or need for the system to be offline
- Offline configuration possible
- Remote access, control and support with standard secure IT solutions
- Multiple server redundancy synchronization and seamless changeover
- True real-time status monitoring of attached devices
- Virtual matrix view allows all router layers to be combined, organized and controlled in custom XY views
- vsmStudio only `asks’ and displays current equipment settings upon startup – safe and secure operation
- Crosspoint routing
- Global labelling
- Signal Bundling for logical and simplified routing and operation (Pseudo Devices)
- Global snapshots including all parameters under VSM control (Storage Groups)
- Virtual signals paths for logical separation of physical signals and production workflows (Virtual Signals)
- System wide GPIO and tally management
- Dynamic router tie line management
- Free configuration of operational workflows on hardware and software panels
- Sophisticated Alarm management
- Built-in scheduler for time-orientated crosspoint and parameter changes
vsmPanel is a software that runs on a network PC workstation client (Windows based) and, from a design and setup perspective, acts identical to a hardware panel. In fact, the administrator can control and view any hardware panel in the system directly from this client, if needed. Any number of client licences are possible, each offering a different control interface if necessary. Normally operated in conjunction with a touchscreen for the most intuitive operation, vsmPanel allows free design and layout of an operational interface. Pictures and images can be incorporated into a panel design to help the user quickly and simply understand the navigation concept and control possibilities laid out in front of them.
- Software control client running on a Windows based client workstation
- Touchscreen operation for intuitive operation
- Free panel design that can include graphics and pictures to simplify, personalise and enhance the usability
- Additional functions such as faders, meters, web browsers, or media players can be incorporated into the user interface
- Unlimited number of control `pages’ possible allowing optimisation of operational workflows
- Web browser-based version for non-Windows and non-real-time essential control reaction applications
- LTP-19 offers an all-in-one 2,5U high rack mount vsmPanel touchscreen interface with no need for an external PC workstation
Compact Decentralised Router Control
vsmSnap is the smallest control system in the VSM product family. vsmSnap contains an LCD button panel and an editor software. With the vsmSnap panel and the configuration software it is possible to connect and control several routers of different manufacturers and to create individual configurations.
Because of the self-explanatory functionalities and the customer-friendly pricing, the vsmSnap enables the perfect entrance to the world of VSM. Its main advantages are the intuitive handling and compact character: with just a little configuration effort vsmSnap is able control a router on a protocol basis. The panel configuration is created in the editor software and loaded to the vsmSnap panel. For controlling the router, only the panel is necessary.
Together with a VSM-System a vsmSnap Panel works as a "standard" LBP Panel. In case of a control system failure the vsmSnap panel handles signal routing, thus ensuring basic routing functionality within a broadcast system.
vsmSnap at a Glance
- Decentralised control of routers of different manufacturers
- Cost effective solution
- Simple system architecture: only the panel is necessary to control the router
- Fast and simple installation
- Self-explanatory functionalities
- Small configuration effort
Reference List VSM
- Offers redundant connections to third-party devices with auto switchover where supported
- Up to four levels of control system redundancy
- vsmStudio software can be installed on up to four servers in a cluster
- Sophisticated proprietary server cluster logic – master/master configuration
- Automatic load balancing of connected devices to cluster
- Background server synchronisation of configuration data
- Redundant UMD Proxy to ensure uninterrupted serial bus connections
- Any panel can act as a backup CommServer device
- vsmSnap Panel as backup for emergency switching
The storage groups option provides a neat tool for saving and recalling customized snapshots containing an unlimited number of destinations. This add-on has been developed to extend the VSM system’s store and recall capabilities. One of the benefits is the ability to carry out snapshot save and recall actions directly from the user panels.
Virtual signal management is one of the key functions of the VSM system. It allows a physical router system to be expanded by the addition of virtual signals. In a typical crosspoint matrix without any external control system, only the physical I/Os of the routing system are available. To assign a camera source to a number of different destinations, multiple operational steps will be necessary. If the source changes, maybe because of a technical problem, all crosspoints relative to the current source will have to be changed. If multiple destinations are involved, such as vision mixers, tape machines, monitoring and transmission lines, the re-assignment process may be very complex. This is where the VSM system triumphs – think virtual!
Maximizing the flexibility of available studios, control rooms and production areas in a facility is key to maximizing the investment made in both real estate space and technical hardware. ‘Boxing’ provides the logical framework to dynamically save and store multiple device set-ups and then transfer the complete settings to another production area or studio with a single button push.
Any available studio now becomes a backup for a production even if equipment is different – the ultimate disaster/recovery solution. In addition, an available studio can be used to prepare a production which can then be recalled to any other in the studio cluster with the single push of a button!
Any system to be utilized in the mission critical MCR application for radio or TV must offer sophisticated redundancy features to ensure 24/7 operation with no critical failures under any circumstances. In addition, control requirements are based around pre-programmed transmission switching, switching control from 3rd party automation systems, signal monitoring and alarms with automatic routing based on specific alarm status or logic detection. Quick operational reaction to failed devices is essential to ensure transmission lines never go ‘dead’.
Signal path overviews and automatic handling of different signal types and formats is also an essential requirement of a unified control system designed for this application. Already installed in numerous MCRs across the world, VSM is your trusted partner to handle even the largest and most sophisticated system requirements.
Simplifying and Automating the Signal Management
In the stressful environment of the MCR, simplified operation is essential for error free transmission. When dealing with video signals of varying formats and frame rates, routing signals may not be as simple as routing from A to B. Frame synchronization or format conversion may need to be inserted between source and destination from a ‘pool’ of available devices.
VSM simplifies and automates operation by automatically inserting a free ‘pooled’ device dynamically (such as a frame synchronizer) and automatically setting the device so that the signal arrives at the target in the correct format. As MCR operations are mission critical, if one of the currently used pooled devices should fail, VSM will automatically re-route the signal to another spare device without user intervention.
The failed device is then tagged as failed and any subsequent insertions will no longer utilize this device until the administrator clears the tag. This unique functionality simplifies operation and ensures continuous error-free transmission.
- Control and integration with third-party automation and scheduling systems.
- Automatic signal routing to simplify the handling of different signal formats.
- Ensures 24/7 operation without critical failures.
- Manages your signals through the whole MCR.
- Automated device management.
The GPI add-on extends the capabilities of Virtual Studio Manager to handle internal and external GPIs and GPOs. When using hardware GPI/O boxes, this add-on is essential. But the GPI add-on inside Virtual Studio Manager offers a lot more functionality. Take a look at our unique GPIO logic control.
Many broadcast systems require external devices to manage tally functions. With VSM, there is no more need for these third party units, as all the tally management and configuration can be handled by your Virtual Studio Manager. In the broadcast world, the word ‘tally’ is a synonym for red light indication, well known in the context of vision mixers and cameras. But because, with Virtual Studio Manager, a tally becomes an integral part of the VSM system, ‘tally’ can mean a lot more than just the handling of red, green or yellow light indicators or external tallies. A VSM Tally function can also be used for internal, system-wide, signalization.
For time dependent crosspoint and parameter settings, the VSM Event Scheduler is an ideal solution. To make sure that transmission lines receive the correct source, or the right program feed is recorded, an additional automation system is available during operation.
Senior Product Manager Axel Kern presents Lawo's broadcast control and monitoring system VSM.
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