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Symetrix brings flexible meetings to ITV Central

Broadcaster ITV Central has recently set out to improve its remote newsgathering capability with more effective remote communications. At the heart of the solution is a Symetrix Radius AEC DSP, plus an Attero Tech unDUSB USB-Dante interface.

Headquartered in Birmingham, ITV Central covers the entire Midlands region.

“We have a regular need for remote comms,” explained ITV’s Ian Glen. “We put two programmes out every day with reporters based in multiple locations. At the end of the day we hold a debrief conversation from those same multiple locations and we were finding that the phone system we were using was unreliable and we had great difficulty in hearing those at the remote end.”

It has made the process of group calling so much more efficient and a much nicer experience generally

Ian Glen

Seeking a solution, the broadcaster engaged UK systems integrator Involve Visual Collaboration, to create a flexible meeting space. “Our head of news instructed me to look into a solution and that led me to Involve,” explained Glen. “Initially we were only planning a single room, but the solution fitted our needs so well that we decided to go for two rooms.”

Working with UK Symetrix distributor CUK Audio, Involve has created a two-room solution capable of bringing outside sources directly into meetings both reliably and intelligibly. At the heart of the design is a Symetrix Radius AEC, which ensures clarity in even the most challenging of circumstances. “ITV required a solution that would enable those in the meeting space to communicate intelligibly via a range of VoIP services including Google Hangouts, with reporters and other staff in remote locations,” said CUK’s Simon Druce, who helped specify the system.

Operation of the Radius AEC is both clutter free, with a tablet (connected to a wireless access point) allowing users to adjust volumes on a Symetrix ARC -WEB browser interface. Outputs are connected to an amplifier and loudspeakers. The Radius AEC mixes all the remote sources to deliver intelligible audio to the room, while hanging mics capture responses and the Radius AEC ensures that all remote users benefit from the same high definition audio.

Meeting attendees can also plug in their own devices thanks to the inclusion of an Attero Tech unDUSB USB-Dante interface. “Local users can connect laptops or other mobile devices via USB to the Dante network and use them to call, present, and facilitate a meeting if they prefer to work that way,” added Druce. “Both USB and VoIP can run concurrently so the Symetrix Radius then becomes a bridge for all parties and allows multi-participant conversations. It’s an elegant, efficient and highly cost-effective solution that ticks all the boxes for ITV Central.”

“It has made the process of group calling so much more efficient and a much nicer experience generally,” said Ian Glen. “Previously it could take ages to sort out a meeting, and even then, some people ended up sitting with their backs to the mic and the audio quality was poor. Now, everything is ready to go in minutes, we have proper coverage of the room and the audio is crystal clear at both ends. We’re delighted.”