Odetics Broadcast: Integrated Automation Solutions

From its early robotic tape systems, Odetics Broadcast is known as an originator of station automation. Today, the 18-year-old company offers the AIRO automation system for broadcast stations and cable/satellite channel origination. AIRO provides extraordinary stability, comprehensive features for content management and on-air control, frame-accurate device control, and an optimized Windows 2000 graphical interface. Worldwide, more than 250 stations rely on the AIRO system.

One of AIRO's strengths is interoperability with a station's existing equipment, including switchers, tape equipment, video servers, character generators, and more. As the old saying goes, "time is money," and system interoperability drives the economics of station efficiency. An automated station requires fewer operators to troubleshoot problems and manage last-minute changes. By controlling content preparation and playout, AIRO helps broadcasters manage their overhead costs and reduce losses due to errors.

Broadcast technology is moving away from hardware-based operation toward software-based solutions. Certainly, the FCCâs DTV mandate is one driving force.

The key to managing this transition is integration. Station owners are looking for integration of digital content delivery, DTV stream management, and PSIP generation into broadcast automation. To support these requirements, they are demanding integration of content databases between traffic and automation.

Broadcast business models and operations continue to evolve with new technology. The move to video servers has impacted all stations, presenting new challenges and opportunities. Digital storage has dramatically expanded the role of automation in content management.

One example of this is the purging of expired content, a process that requires coordination between traffic and operations. Digital technology offers increased capacity, but also the potential for mushrooming inventories. An automated system provides multiple options for content management, archiving, and purging.

Odetics has its eye on the future. Recent developments in AIRO include support for digital archives via SGL FlashNet, integration with PBS planning systems like ProTrack and Scout, automatic staging of video server content, and enhanced integration with traffic systems.

Working with partner companies, Odetics is defining a range of interface standards for schedules and content metadata with an initial focus on the PBS market. As the leaders in multichannel and DTV implementation, public television stations are giving the industry a first-hand look at the challenges of these new technologies.

> Odetics Broadcast