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‘GrayTooth’ technology promises enhanced news production productivity

Gray Television is at again in its pursuit of new ways to leverage computer technology to improve station workflow.

This time the innovation is something the broadcast group calls “GrayTooth,” a sort of smart-building-meets-TV-station technology that will allow journalists working for Gray stations to automatically have their desktop and phone extension follow them wherever they go in the station.

“What I am talking about,” says Jim Ocon, Gray Television VP-Technology, “is turning the corner and thinking long and hard about how technology can be used inside and outside our buildings to make things a lot easier to do and to make us more productive.”

GrayTooth, a word play on “Gray Television” and “BlueTooth,” was developed at KKTV, Gray Television’s CBS affiliate in Colorado Springs, CO. Using off-the-shelf technology, GrayTooth is designed to enhance productivity of those working for Gray Television stations by putting the news production tools they need immediately within their reach regardless of where they are in the station.

In practice, a Gray Television journalist swipes a key fob or contactless smartcard over a sensor alerting the station’s GrayTooth system of where in the building that individual is located. As the journalist sits down at a workstation, GrayTooth retrieves that individual’s profile, presenting the reporter with his or her customized screen layout, newswires, calendar, contacts and other unique information needed to begin working. In a similar way, that individual’s phone calls are automatically routed to the phone at the workstation.

According to Ocon, there are many other ways GrayTooth can improve productivity. One is when used in combination with the Ross Video’s Furio robotic camera systems, explains Ocon. When news talent uses his or her key fob or smartcard to enter the news studio, GrayTooth would be alerted and automatically adjust the camera height and aim via the Furio camera robotics system. “We’re currently are talking with the Ross guys about making this happen,” says Ocon.

GrayTooth comes on the heels of another Gray Television innovation called GrayMax that leverages IP technology across 2GHz BAS channels for newsgathering. Ocon points out that GrayTooth can easily be paired with GrayMax to give reporters in the field immediate access to their individual profiles on their laptops as they report from the field. In fact, GrayTooth can be used from any location where a Gray Television journalist has access to an Internet connection.

According to Ocon, Gray Television plans to begin deploying GrayTooth later this summer.