Intercom

VCOM Matrix Intercom, Virtual Reality for Enterprise, and Racing Communications

by sbrand on January 16, 2018 No comments

Introduction

VCOM is a software based full conferencing and non-blocking matrix communications system that operates using standard computer and IP network hardware instead of the much more expensive proprietary hardware systems.  It is self-contained and fully compatible with external systems such as SIP and analog telephone systems, digital and analog audio systems and control stations manufactured by a variety of companies.  VCOM brings a much more cost-effective approach to professional level communications systems while continuing to provide all the expected functionality and in addition all digital IP infrastructure including inherent seamless integration with telephony systems and popular mobile smartphones and tablets.

VCOM System

VCOM™ is an IP-software multi-channel / multi-access communications and tactical conferencing solution for professional and mission critical applications. The solution is highly scalable to thousands of users, supports virtually an unlimited number of channels and conferences, boasts LDAP integration, SNMP traps, AES encryption, point-to-point QoS, CDR, video monitoring, and incorporates geo-positioning technology. VCOM consists of the following core components:

  • VCOM Virtual Matrix / Server: multi-threaded, server-side summing/mixing engine with integrated SIP support;
  • VCOM User Interface: client-side GUI for non-blocking, multi-channel, multi-access critical communications;
  • VCOM Device Interface: software interface to easily bridge disparate communication systems including hardware intercoms, two-way radios, and public/private telephone networks;
  • System Administration Application: administrative user control for dynamic configuration and monitoring of VCOM from any workstation on the network.

 Auto Racing Applications

There are two applications for VCOM in auto racing, one at the team level and one at the governing body level.  Both are quite similar but somewhat different in the application and individual features.  The differences at the system level are only a matter of programming and user station choices.

Team Communications

 Within a racing team there is a great deal internal communications required for general administration and race control.  Tight coordination between personnel located in the pit area, the race control office, maintenance shop, and team offices including home city location, and of course the driver.  This is currently done with a combination of telephones, walkie-talkies, and cell phones, and private radio links for the driver. There is also often need for rapid accessibility to home location personnel and workshop.  This is currently done with a combination of telephones, walkie-talkies, and cell phones.

By using VCOM all of these capabilities can be seamlessly integrated into one overall system also allowing full duplex intercom which eliminates the need for push to talk operation for operators who have their hands busy doing other things!  Push to talk is always available where privacy is necessary.  In addition to integrating all aspects of internal communications outside communications with the public telephone network and audio feeds to the press and is also as easy as programming the VCOM system.  The unique ability of VCOM to integrate all of the existing systems simplifies operator control hardware, instead of multiple devices all controls and audio are easily handled on one device including push to talk walkie-talkie control.  This capability can also be located anywhere one can obtain internet data, practically everywhere.  Someone at home or in a hotel room can have full access on a smartphone or tablet.  Personnel costs are lowered, fewer people can install, maintain, and operate one system compared to several.

A recent development now offers VCOM Virtual Reality which enables a 360-degree display of communications and audio control, telemetry data, realtime video, and external video/audio feeds as desired. A 360 view could easily be added via a 360 camera mounted in the car and using the existing wireless data channel that carries current in car cameras.  This VR experience could be utilized with or without 3D goggles and possibly could provide a subscription service for serious race fans who could be “in the drivers seat” during a race.  Additional video feeds could be integrated to show multiple images of the track and surroundings further enhancing the feeling of being at the race.  Even some level of two-way team communications with team members could be included. The data that is acquired for VCOM use (360 video, background video/still images, background audio, car performance telemetry, and communications could also be provided to outside entities such as broadcasters and team oriented websites.  All of this can be recorded for archival purposes and released for sale. Another possible use of the VR component data would be in support of video gaming. The data could be used to enhance realism of the gaming environment as well as market the team’s identity.

Governing Body Communications

 Although for the most part the application is the same as for individual teams some key differences exist:

  1. There is additional need for press coverage and broadcast distribution.
  2. Instant access to safety agencies such as fire and police (both at the venue and in the surrounding area) authorities both at the race venue and the surrounding area is essential.
  3. Integration with venue activities, intercom systems, and public address systems.
  4. Race Control must be in constant contact with teams, safety authorities, venue administrators, pit area, box office, and spotter’s booths/towers.
  5. Integration and service to the press and broadcasters are critical for news media and television entities. Press feeds become an integral part of VCOM system programming and these signals can be obtained anywhere via IP data both locally and remotely.  Video trucks can be fed over the data connection which they already have.  Simple hardware interfaces (or in some cases all software ones already in place) are simply programmed with the proper signals.  Suddenly added broadcasters are easily and quickly accommodated.
  6. Any number of separate press audio feeds can be supplied to any number of entities located locally or remotely, a most valuable tool for news events, especially when speed is important.

The new Virtual Reality capability offers additional opportunities for integration with the gaming industry for interactive race participation and marketing.  A race fan could be at home with a far more realistic experience than simply being a 2 D television spectator.  This could be sold on a race by race basis or by annual subscription.

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sbrandVCOM Matrix Intercom, Virtual Reality for Enterprise, and Racing Communications

Matrix & Wireless Intercom, VR-360, and Sports Production Communications

by sbrand on January 16, 2018 No comments

Introduction

VCOM is a software based full conferencing and non-blocking matrix communications system that operates using standard computer and IP network hardware instead of the much more expensive proprietary hardware systems that have been the norm and still enjoy great acceptance.  It is self contained and fully compatible with external systems such as SIP and analog telephone systems, digital and analog audio systems and control stations manufactured by a variety of companies.  VCOM brings a much more cost-effective approach to professional level communications systems while continuing to provide all the expected functionality and in addition all digital IP infrastructure including inherent seamless integration with telephony systems and popular mobile smart phones and tablets.

VCOM System

VCOM™ is an IP-software multi-channel / multi-access communications and tactical conferencing solution for professional and mission critical applications. The solution is highly scalable to thousands of users, supports virtually an unlimited number of channels and conferences, boasts LDAP integration, SNMP traps, AES encryption, point-to-point QoS, CDR, video monitoring, and incorporates geo-positioning technology. VCOM consists of the following core components:

  • VCOM Virtual Matrix / Server: multi-threaded, server-side summing/mixing engine with integrated SIP support;
  • VCOM User Interface: client-side GUI for non-blocking, multi-channel, multi-access critical communications;
  • VCOM Device Interface: software interface to easily bridge disparate communication systems including hardware intercoms, two-way radios, and public/private telephone networks;
  • System Administration Application: administrative user control for dynamic configuration and monitoring of VCOM from any workstation on the network.

Matrix / Server 

The VCOM Virtual Matrix / Server is our platform’s core multi-threaded, server-side summing/mixing engine with integrated SIP support. Our Matrix is highly scalable to thousands of users, supports virtually an unlimited number of point-to-points, group calls, and PLs (aka conference channels), boasts AES-256 encryption, and is fully redundant. An array of User Interfaces (software / hardware / third-party) are available to meet your specific critical communications requirements. Harness the power of a VCOM Matrix on your private LAN/WAN or choose from one of our turnkey Cloud Solutions.

Key System Requirements and Features:

  • Server Hardware: i5 2400 @ 3.1Ghz (or greater depending on system size)
  • Server OS: Windows 7, 8, Server 2012 (recommended)
  • Network: 100BaseT Connection
  • Firewall: TCP Data / UDP Audio port 1000 (configurable)
  • Virtual Matrix Operation: run as an application or service in the background
  • Encryption: AES-128, 256, FIPS 140-2 Certified
  • Audio Sample Rate: configurable — 8 KHz, 16 KHz, 32 KHz
  • Codec: configurable —  low / high compression, no codec
  • Failover: Clients immediately login to secondary server if connection to primary is lost
  • SIP: fully functional, integrated SIP registrar / server

VCOM GUI Options 

VCOM User Interfaces are available for all major platforms — PC’s, Tablet PC’s, Macs, iOS and Android — and provide point-and-click control for establishing talk and/or listen voice paths. Multiple group and individual voice paths can be established simultaneously and multiple conferences can be accommodated in any complexity. Users may talk and/or listen in a single conference or multiple conferences, in any combination and in any sequence. All basic paths are set up in advance and are “always on” for instant multiple channel access for talking and monitoring.

Key VCOM User Interface Features

  • Full multi channel / multi access, non-blocking point-and-click communications with virtually unlimited Point-to-Points (private channel between any two operators), Group Calls (one caller to many listeners), and PLs (group conferences or “Hoots”)
  • Selectors (keys) can be configured for Talk, Listen, or Talk/Listen
  • Selectors dynamically indicate the state of the associated channel -> offline (gray), online (green and/or red), actuated (bright green and/or red), channel activity (color oscillates), incoming call (fast flash), device active tally (slow flash), in-use tally (slow double flash)
  • Selectors can be programmed for latch mode, momentary mode, or both
  • Dynamic “Answer Back” selectors indicate incoming calls from clients for whom a dedicated key is not programmed
  • ISO allows for private communications between users
  • Patching/Dispatch function enables users to add/remove 4-wire or SIP ports from PLs
  • Individual selector volumes can be adjusted by +/- 18dB in 6dB increments
  • Onscreen dial-pad for initiating out going calls and caller-ID on selectors for incoming calls via phone / phone system interface

Sports Production Applications

Live Sports Production is very communications intensive.  Multiple voice channels as well as many audio program listen and IFB talk path selections must be made very quickly, often from multiple locations some being located away from the primary control point (generally in a mobile production trailer).  These include but are not limited to office trailers, additional support trailers and trucks, spotter’s booths, press box, and additional remote facilities, even in an executive’s home or hotel room.  The communications system also must be seamlessly connected with the broadcaster’s fixed location system as well as both internal and external telephone networks.

By using VCOM all of these capabilities can be seamlessly integrated into one overall system also allowing full duplex communications which eliminates the need for push to talk operation for operators who have their hands busy doing other things!  Push to talk is always available where privacy is necessary.  In addition to integrating all aspects of internal communications outside communications with the public telephone network and audio feeds to the press and is also as easy as programming the VCOM system.  The unique ability of VCOM to integrate all of the existing systems simplifies operator control hardware, instead of multiple devices all controls and audio are easily handled on one device including push to talk walkie-talkie control.  This capability can also be located anywhere one can obtain internet data, practically everywhere.  Someone at home or in a hotel room can have full access on a smartphone or tablet.  Personnel costs are lowered, fewer people can install, maintain, and operate one system compared to several.

This flexibility along with high speed internet based data connections has helped lead the industry toward more coordination being done away from the remote venue in order to reduce personnel and travel costs and allow faster set up and take down, again saving money.  Current systems, which often include VCOM (VLink as implemented by RTS), are now common.  However, one thing that limits the ability to control events form the studio is the lack of realism available to production people located away from the production venue.  VCOM VR can now allow that by using the latest techniques to leverage the capacity of data connections and the dropping price of Virtual Reality hardware and software.

VCOM Virtual Reality

VCOM VR brings together voice communications, audio monitoring, live and still video, data display, and Geo-Location (real map display), into one signal displayed on either VR Goggles or a pan-able 360 flat panel display.  Now remote personnel can feel in the action while not having to be there, they can be “there without being there”.  Of course there will always be a need to have some personnel to be at the venue but I some producers, support personnel and executives can be wherever they may be and still actively participate.  In addition the same data that is feeding the remote personnel can also be released to the public for a truly immersive watching experience.  Imagine being able to see and hear the game such that one would be simulating the experience of a sportscaster or camera operator on the side-lines of a football game!  Standing by the net for tennis?  Walking down the fairway of a golf course?  In auto racing there are already cameras in race cars, so a driver’s view in VR?  360 cameras are now very small and inexpensive and are easily affixed to headgear already similar to that being worn.  They are light enough to be mounted on top of headsets and many have self-continued microphones.

Each viewer would be able to select his/her own experience based on what listen keys are activated and what capabilities are programmed by the system administrator.  Of course only production personnel would be programmed such that they were able to listen or talk to other production personnel but the ability to listen to multiple audio sources and perhaps to speak live with someone at the venue could offer exciting possibilities for serous fans, capabilities that would be like a video game that is actually not a game but a real event.  The VCOM VR system can be the final missing element in bringing the game to the operator wherever that operator may be.

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sbrandMatrix & Wireless Intercom, VR-360, and Sports Production Communications

Aerospace Communications Applications Using VCOM Matrix Intercom (Part 4)

by Fred Urrutia on July 1, 2015 No comments

Another installment in a series about how VCOM is used for aerospace communications applications.

NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, July 2015)

NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project) sends groups of astronauts, engineers and scientists to live in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station, for up to three weeks at a time. Aquarius is operated by Florida International University (FIU) and located 3.5 miles off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary where it is deployed next to deep coral reefs 62 feet below the surface. During NEEMO missions the aquanauts are able to simulate living on a spacecraft and test spacewalk techniques for future space missions.

The July 2015 mission will test time delays in communications using VCOM to simulate delays due to the distance of potential mission destinations.

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/533951main_neemo-shoveling-hires.jpg

A NEEMO 14 aquanaut practices shoveling underwater, just as an astronaut would shovel to collect soil samples on another planet; Photo credit: NASA; Source:

 

A NEEMO 14 aquanaut practices shoveling underwater, just as an astronaut would shovel to collect soil samples on another planet; Photo credit: NASA; Source: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/533951main_neemo-shoveling-hires.jpg

VCOM in Aerospace Applications NEEMO 16 aquanauts Kimiya Yui and Tim Peake pose with their support diver and astronaut Mike Gernhardt in the DeepWorker single-person submarine; Photo credit: NASA; Source: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/15-138.jpg

Contact Intracom Systems to learn more about how VCOM can be used in your own aerospace applications.

Fred Urrutia +1 518-391-9023

furrutia@intracomsystems.com

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Fred UrrutiaAerospace Communications Applications Using VCOM Matrix Intercom (Part 4)

Intracom teams with Inmarsat to offer Cloud Based PTT Services and Matrix Intercom over Satellite

by sbrand on June 2, 2015 No comments

Intracom teams with Inmarsat

VCOM Cloud, from Intracom Systems, LLC, turns any PC, laptop or smartphone into a secure, multi-channel push-to-talk device. The solution extends land radio or satcom communications to any compatible laptop or smartphone as an easy-to-use cloud-based solution. Moreover, phones lines can be brought into VCOM via SIP enabling dial-in / dial-out capabilities to private and public phone networks.    Intracom immarsat

As workforces become more complex, so too do their communication needs. The ability to instantly speak to one or several of your personnel at the touch of a button can streamline decision-making, increase operational efficiency, and improve safety. VCOM Cloud is a software IP-based multichannel solution that can transform any Mac, PC, tablet or smartphone into a pushto- talk (PTT) device. Extremely scalable, VCOM Cloud can support a virtually infinite number of securely encrypted channels and conferences, so your entire workforce can communicate. It is highly interoperable, so your existing PTT solutions can be integrated into VCOM Cloud quickly and easily, even if you have multiple different PTT networks. The software allows rapid reconfiguration of your network, setting up communications groups and individual conferences at the touch of a button through its intuitive and easy-to-use administration interface. Designed for mission-critical communications, VCOM Cloud’s resilient network setup means that should the master server fail, a backup can immediately be initiated, and communications re-established in seconds.

Using VCOM Cloud together with Inmarsat’s global 3G IP network means that you can implement reliable, secure push-to-talk connectivity no matter where your business operates, even in areas where cellular and radio connectivity can’t reach, thanks to Inmarsat’s 99.9% network availability over its satellite and ground network. Through its Certified Application Partner programme, Inmarsat has certified VCOM Cloud as Inmarsat-ready. If you’re looking

to leverage the reliable global reach of Inmarsat’s award-winning satellite network to provide instant communications for your workforce, VCOM Cloud is ideal. VCOM Cloud has been certified for use over the following Inmarsat services:    BGAN  and  FleetBroadband

Usage scenarios

  • Oil & Gas’ – HQ can easily communicate between offshore rigs and onshore field teams
  • Mining – communicate between camps and with personnel in the same camp
  • Aid – first responders use PTT to coordinate between ground teams and HQ
  • Utilities – provide field engineering and maintenance teams with reliable communications
  • Media – use PTT to coordinate with technicians for on-the-ground broadcasting

Inmarsat coverage

VCOM Cloud is supported by Inmarsat’s global L-Band network coverage, ensuring reliable access to critical data from remote sites anywhere in the world.

vcom immersat coverage

 

 

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sbrandIntracom teams with Inmarsat to offer Cloud Based PTT Services and Matrix Intercom over Satellite