Hong Kong Jockey Club

Hong Kong Jockey Club equips new broadcast center with Draco tera enterprise KVM matrix switch

The Customer

Horse racing in Hong Kong commenced in 1841 with the arrival of the British, who drained a malarial swamp to form a racetrack at Happy Valley. The track has seen non-stop action ever since. A second racecourse was opened at Sha Tin in 1978. Both tracks are managed and operated by The Hong Kong Jockey Club. The Sha Tin center is also responsible for production of state lottery announcement programs from a suite of four broadcast studios.

The Challenge

The new broadcast center for the Sha Tin racecourse needed a way to connect the broadcast and data servers and presentation computers located in the first-floor central equipment room, to workstations, edit suites and control desks in the broadcast studios and other areas throughout the building. To keep punters and enthusiasts abreast of racing events and deliver live racing feeds to broadcast transmission networks in the region, presenters and production staff rely on uninterrupted access to servers and computers. In the high-pressure environment of horse-racing broadcasting, video latency and delays in switching of computer signals are unacceptable.

The Solution

Fortunately, the engineering team had previous experience of the IHSE KVM switch, having used it successfully for over two years at the Happy Valley racecourse. They realized that a direct KVM system would be necessary for this installation, rather than a KVM-over-IP system which, when tested, introduced unacceptable switching delay and connection latency.

A 160-port Draco tera enterprise KVM switch provides the required access from the studios and other locations to the central equipment room with XV (eXtreme Velocity) KVM units chosen to accompany the single mode fiber laid in the building. This choice provides the best possible image quality and futureproofing.

Individual operators also benefit from the Draco U-switch, which enables a single mouse and keyboard to be used over up to eight separate computers on eight screens, removing the need for multiple keyboards and mice on their desks and reducing confusion.

Hong Kong Jockey Club’s engineering team completed the system integration of the full system themselves, with support from local solution provide JPT Global Solutions.

The Benefit

The system gives operators the ability to connect to and switch between servers and workstations as though they were located beneath their desks. Users experience no delay whatsoever. The facility benefits from a centralized equipment layout, which offers ease of access for maintenance, security and environmental control; all factors contributing to the reliability and operational integrity of the equipment.

The integral redundant capability and back-up of the Draco tera enterprise switch, combined with its hot-swap component ability, means that should any untoward issues occur, the equipment can be rectified and reinstated without disruption to the broadcasts service: an essential feature for live horse racing broadcast services.

“The Draco tera switch delivers instant connection to computers and a good operator experience, with no latency in signal transmission,” said Patrick Wong, Engineer of Hong Kong Jockey Club. “This is a prerequisite for live events which cannot tolerate delays of any kind. From the engineering viewpoint, features like dual fiber ports, redundant power supply and SNMP capability offer flexible and effective ways to create systems with total reliability and zero downtime that can send system alerts when necessary.”

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