Sky Radio

Sky Radio Group connects and manages three radio stations with Draco tera  compact matrix switches

The Customer

Radio Veronica, Sky Radio and Classic FM are three of the most popular  privately-owned radio stations in the Netherlands, appealing to different target groups. Together they form the Sky Radio Group with over 4.5 million listeners; a market share of around 17 percent. 3.5 million listeners alone account for Skyradio, one of the most famous radio stations in the Netherlands. The three stations broadcast from a studio complex in Naarden.

The Challenge

Sky Radio Group recently planned a complete refurbishment of the studios with a full upgrade of the existing technology. The aim was to create a fully-interactive studio design incorporating a KVM system to provide direct access to data and video sources from all station workstations. Key criteria included reducing the switching time compared to the old system and incorporating backup redundancy features to ensure continued access to computers in the event of system faults and during maintenance upgrades.

Each studio would have its own matrix switch. Interconnecting links between the three individual switches would enable studios to access CPUs belonging to the other studios.

The Solution

To achieve their ambitious vision, Sky Radio Group contacted Dutch  networking and transmission expert Intronics who developed an appropriate solution. Intronics’ engineers were able to fulfill all requirements with the implementation of an IHSE KVM system.

All three studios are managed by separate Draco tera compact matrix switches connecting servers and computers via Cat X cabling to users’ workstations. The three switches are connected together in a virtual super-matrix using Matrix Grid to create a highly flexible studio network. Matrix Grid enables all workstations to access any source device anywhere in the grid.

All matrix and computing equipment is located in environmentally-controlled equipment rooms separated from the editing and studio areas, allowing radio staff to work undisturbed from the noise and heat generated by them, greatly improving the working atmosphere.

Consoles within the studios are equipped with USB-HID interfaces for keyboard and pointing devices (mouse, graphic tablet, touch screen) and use DVI signals for transmission of HD video with resolution up to 1920 x 1200.

All extender units are equipped with an additional redundant data link. The primary path runs through the KVM matrix to enable any required connection. The secondary path is connected to a redundant CPU Unit and dedicated backup computer. In the event of a matrix failure or during maintenance upgrades an emergency setup with fixed assignments is invoked. In this case, the system continues to provide operational capability although flexible switching ability is restricted.

The Extended Switching function provided by Draco tera switches enables producers and directors to access the matrix directly over their workstation, allowing them to switch any console to any available CPU, subject to access rights. This allows team members to view and share the output of each other’s computers.

With IHSE you have nothing more to wish for. – Berjan Cornelisse, Sky Radio Group

The Benefit

The new studio design leaves nothing to be desired: the flexible KVM system provides highly reliable, near-instantaneous seamless switching. Allocation and access management is easily managed and the system can be programmed to meet any required configuration at the push of a button.

Studio staff experience no switching or transmission delay and benefit from the improved working environment and flexibility offered by the KVM system, allowing them to work more effectively and efficiently.

The three radio stations benefit from the high reliability of the system supported by comprehensive service  agreements in an extremely cost-effective solution. Common architecture and interconnection across the stations provides further benefit in resource sharing and system familiarity.

Whether classical music, vintage or modern pop music is broadcast, all three stations operate with the same level of professionalism, enabled by the high-end KVM system on which each relies. It is a system that operates invisibly in the background, but without which the stations would not be as popular.

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