SIP

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

Using VCOM in Aerospace Applications Today with SIP (part3)

by Fred Urrutia on May 27, 2015 No comments

Other Aerospace VCOM Users

Space Applications Services NV/SA (Zaventem, Belgium) uses VCOM for cockpit simulations during development and testing of their on-board avionics systems for use by ESA and others. From their website: “We design and develop state of the art on-board avionics solutions for manned and unmanned mission critical applications in hazardous environments. We work with on-board software, single and multiprocessor hardware, model driven development and simulation. Our applications include ESA standard On-board Control Procedure solutions, spacecraft cockpit solutions, rendezvous and docking, visual navigation.”

US Air Force UAV Training Facility (Eglin AFB, Florida) uses VCOM for training of UAV pilot and sensor operators. That same UAV system has also been used for US Forestry Service studies of forest fires capturing real-time images during experimental forest test burns. “Using air space not regulated by the Federal Aviation Agency allows unmanned aerial vehicles to gather valuable infrared imagery of the area,” said Kevin Hiers, the natural resources management research branch director and UAV manager. “Imagery (collected from the UAVs) will be added to a repository of other test data obtained at Eglin and used by scientists around to the world to gain a better understanding of fire behavior.”

intercom

Fire consumes trees and bushes during a prescribed fire conducted at Eglin Air Force Base Nov. 11-12. More than 90 scientists from the Combustion-Atmospheric-Dynamics-Research-Experiments team, sent from institutions all over the world, set up instruments to record meteorology, smoke particulates and other fire phenomena. Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon.

 

Sandia Research Corporation (Mesa, AZ) uses VCOM for a next generation system for analysis of human behavior target discrimination by monitoring both physical and mental activities via a VCOM audio intercom sip matrix and Hi-Res imaging from aircraft platforms. This system studies cognitive learning to accelerate and improve personnel advanced skills training.

intercom vcom

Study participants stations, showing VCOM on right screen of each pair in lower tier. Image Credit: Sandia Research Corporation.

Other VCOM users include Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, Aerospace Corporation, Virgin Galactic / The Spaceship Company. Information about more use cases coming soon.

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 UrrutiaUsing VCOM in Aerospace Applications Today with SIP (part3)

Using VCOM in Aerospace Applications Today with SIP (part2)

by Fred Urrutia on May 20, 2015 No comments

Several NASA locations have been using VCOM for several years in communications applications. I will describe some of them and also mention some other VCOM users in this market.

NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group

NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group (“IRG”), located at AMES / Moffett Field, CA, uses VCOM locally and to interconnect projects and operations in conjunction with KSC, JSC and other NASA sites.

From the IRG website:   “Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) explores extreme environments, remote locations, and uncharted worlds. We conduct applied research in computer vision, geospatial data systems, human-robot interaction, planetary mapping and robot software.”  “IRG operates the “K10” series of planetary rovers…” […] “We conduct robotic field tests each year in planetary analog sites, such as Black Point Lava Flow and Haughton Crater.”

The Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) conducted an engineering field test with the K-Rex rover during the first week of October 2012. The field test took place at the Basalt Hills quarry, California. Image credit: NASA; Source: https://ti.arc.nasa.gov/m/groups/intelligent-robotics/krex/BH2012_FrontView.jpg

The Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) conducted an engineering field test with the K-Rex rover during the first week of October 2012. The field test took place at the Basalt Hills quarry, California. Image credit: NASA; Source: https://ti.arc.nasa.gov/m/groups/intelligent-robotics/krex/BH2012_FrontView.jpg

During 2015, IRG is supporting ongoing field testing of the Resource Prospector Mission (RPM) for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division. Expected to be launched in 2018, RPM will be NASA’s first attempt to demonstrate in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) beyond Earth. The Moon happens to be an excellent location to use such technology to locate and determine viability of extracting hydrogen, oxygen (or even water) as a precursor to later missions to Mars and elsewhere that will depend on utilizing in-situ resources

Following the Summer 2015 Resource Prospector field mission, a Lead Engineer at Resource Prospector Ground Data Systems within the NASA Intelligent Systems Division related “…the Resource Prospector demo was a great success here. We remotely commanded the rover at JSC from Ames, with KSC commanding the payload.   All three centers plus the folks in the “rock yard” at JSC used VCOM for all of our voice com, so you all were a big part of our success.”

Here is a link to an article about the Summer 2015 mission

Photo of the Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) platform. Image credit: NASA, Source: https://www.nasa.gov/images/content/660260main_resolve-full.jpg

Photo of the Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) platform. Image credit: NASA, Source: https://www.nasa.gov/images/content/660260main_resolve-full.jpg

Other NASA Groups Using VCOM

Another group at NASA Ames also used VCOM for simulated communications during a study analyzing “behavior of humans in the loop” for a Next Generation ATC (highly computerized Air Traffic Control system) for an FAA evaluation study. They selected VCOM for its flexibility and ease of rapid re-configuration during testing loops.

Other NASA groups using VCOM include Kennedy Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center and also NASA Mission Operations Directorate.

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 UrrutiaUsing VCOM in Aerospace Applications Today with SIP (part2)

Using VCOM Matrix Intercom in Aerospace / NASA Applications Today with SIP

by Fred Urrutia on May 13, 2015 3 comments

Using VCOM in Aerospace Applications (Part 1)
Several NASA locations are using VCOM for several years in communications applications. I will describe some of them and also mention some other VCOM users in this market.

NASA Desert Research and Technology Studies
NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies team (“Desert RATS”) use VCOM for IP communications by replacing some radio systems at desert and arctic testing sites for extraterrestrial excursion vehicles connecting via a 100 km by 100 km Wi-Fi mesh locally and to other NASA facilities using satellite backhaul from the desert test site.

Here is a description of their operations from the NASA Desert RATS webpage:
“The high-desert terrain and isolation of northern Arizona provides an ideal backdrop for the development and testing of spaceflight equipment and technology. NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) are carried out at a series of experimental sites within a 75-mile radius of Flagstaff, with the area around Winslow, Arizona’s Meteor Crater site serving as a major research hub.”
“The arid climate, harsh winds, and rocky desert terrain of the region allow NASA to evaluate different conditions that will enable multiple destinations for future human exploration including high Earth orbit, Lagrange points, the Moon, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), Mars moons, and ultimately the surface of Mars. Experiments and training conducted at the Desert RATS site focus on equipment and spacesuit tests, vehicular excursions and exploration, remote communication protocols, and astrogeology.”

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Fred UrrutiaUsing VCOM Matrix Intercom in Aerospace / NASA Applications Today with SIP