Gnural Net Inc., one in the first wave of NewTek external developers, recently decided to begin bundling two key products to offer video producers a complete viewer call-in and call management solution for shows of all sizes.
The products, Call-In-Manager and LiveToAir, tackle two different sides of the same call-in TV coin. The company’s LiveToAir software allows scheduled show guests to connect directly to a video production from their browser.
Producers of political, sports, news and other shows simply invite a guest or guests to appear via an email that contains a LiveToAir link. Guests click on the link –without having to do any special software or plug-in downloads and installs—and they are connected directly into the production from their browser.
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“One of the things people find attractive about LiveToAir is that because it is based on web standards, there are some of our larger clients who actually build their own web frontends that their clients connect to,” says John Mahoney, CEO of Gnural Net. “It captures those eyeballs as opposed to having their clients having to run a third-party app.”
Available in four-, two- and single-guest versions, LiveToAir delivers broadcast-quality video over HD-SDI or NewTek’s NDI IP protocol and offers a range of audio connection options, according to the company.
The other side of the coin addresses call-ins from viewers. Gnural Net’s WebRTC-based Call-in Manager allows viewers, to join a show with audio and video from their location simply by clicking on web link.
Launched in 2015, the product makes it easy for producers to queue up an unlimited number of inbound callers and screen them via a WebRTC video link. With Call-In Manager, there is no need for viewers calling in to download and setup programs like Skype, says John Mahoney, CEO of Gnural Net.
“With Call-in Manager, we allow people who are watching a show to just click on a link and be able to enter a queue of people, who can be screened and brought on air,” he says.
“Call-in Manager effectively does in the video space what companies like Telos did in the talk radio space,” he adds.
Call-In Manager includes a several powerful workflow tools, such as: the ability for screeners to select a caller’s webcam, mic, headset and resolution; a way to add notes about callers and set priorities for callers; a means to display caller history; support for concurrent call screeners to address large number of callers; and support for a cloud-based backend that allows Call-In Manager to be run from anywhere.
Gnural Net is now bundling Call-In Manager with every version of LiveToAir at no additional cost. Bundles start at less than $1,000, and subscriptions at as low as $35 per month. A 30-day free trial is available, the company says.
Customization is also available from Gnural Net. For example, one video production company uses a customized versions of LiveToAir and Call-In Manager for medical training productions, says Mahoney.
The customized version allows the producers to manage and display up to 60 remotely connected guests on a video wall in the studio.
“The solution we’ve built is all NDI-based,” says Mahoney. “In this system, we are probably running over 250 live NDI feeds for any given production. The productions also use the Tricaster.”
“It’s definitely a showcase for NewTek technology,” he adds.
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Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.
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