VCI Solutions Design Team
Todd Barkes, proj. mgr.;
Jeff Wood, mgr. of training and support;
Brett Thibodeaux, automation eng.
Western Reserve Public Media (WNEO/WEAO):
William O’Neil, station mgr.;
Anthony Dennis, maintenance eng.;
Rick Patterson, maintenance eng.
Technology at work
3COM baseline switch 2816
ADC patch panels
Comtrol Devicemaster RTS SM
Leitch D/A, A/D
NEXIO NX3600 HDX servers
x3650 DTDBS1 server
x3650 XDS server
TX-320 MC switcher
Sencore MRD 3187A receivers
Sony UVW 1800
VCI Solutions autoXe MC
Western Reserve Public Media upgrades to autoXe MC from VCI Solutions
Western Reserve Public Media (known as PBS 45 & 49 until Oct. 1, 2008) had a funding opportunity to upgrade its servers and automation system for its eight channels running on three servers. Based in Kent, OH, it was operating two of the three play-to-air servers on a Windows NT platform, which needed to be upgraded to XP.
As a result of the server upgrade and funding, the station decided to upgrade its existing Airo 9 Automation System from Odetics (now VCI Solutions) because its needs had increased from what was specified in its automation system in 2002. It needed an automation system that would control its HD broadcasts.
“We needed to upgrade our servers to Windows XP, which wouldn’t accommodate the automation system running on a Windows NT platform,” said Rick Patterson, maintenance engineer for Western Reserve Public Media. “In an effort to be forward-thinking, once the servers were upgraded, the automation system was also upgraded.”
The engineering team decided to stay with a company it came to rely on and chose the autoXe MC from VCI Solutions. In addition to working with a company it had established a trust with, there were cost-efficiencies in upgrading with VCI Solutions. It found that the autoXe MC offered the ability to manage multiple channels in one screen on a workstation for less cost per channel. The engineering team liked the ease-of-use and how intuitive the system was for an operator, which decreased the learning curve and the number of people needed to continually operate the system manually. This in itself is a huge savings, allowing operators to focus on the various other tasks as hand.
Patterson and his team enjoy the new Schedule Director application, which provides a quick snapshot for all activity in one glance. If there is a problem, it brings it to the operator’s attention rather than have the operator go looking for it.
Additionally, operators appreciate that they can close out all workstations. The previous system had a workstation on a server, which prevented them from being able to close all workstations for fear of shutting down the entire system. The autoXe MC runs on its own server. Patterson also relies on a significant feature of the autoXe MC system: He can make global changes from any workstation within the system.
Patterson added about his experience, “I’m traditionally not a fan of being on the bleeding edge of technology, but the experience with this automation upgrade has been terrific. Anyone can call anytime day or night with a question, and the VCI Solutions people are extremely courteous and prompt. They have worked well with our team.”