NEP Belgium Selects Imagine Communications for Core Truck Technology Upgrades
Imagine Communications has delivered core technology for a major refresh of an outside broadcast truck for NEP Belgium. As well as providing state-of-the-art and future-proofed solutions, a key part of the challenge was the very tight timescale allocated to complete the refurbishment. Imagine Communications was able to deliver on the tough timetable with the support of its Belgian dealer and partner, VP Media Solutions.
“Our Unit 14 still had many kilometres in it, but with a technology platform that was life-expired,” said Geert Thoelen, transitions manager at NEP Belgium. “We wanted a solution that would fit into the existing space, would give us all the functionality we need today, and be ready for the future, including increasing use of IP connectivity. And we could really only take the truck off the road for little more than a month earlier this year, so our partner had to be capable of moving swiftly to install and commission.”
Imagine Communications was able to comfortably meet the requirements. The new infrastructure is built around the Platinum IP3 router. In a single 15RU chassis, this router provides very high-density switching of today’s SDI-HD signals. It is also capable of seamlessly integrating uncompressed video over IP, so is ready to form the basis of a migration to IP connectivity — for example, to introduce Ultra HD signals. In Unit 14, the Platinum IP3 router is also fitted with the Platinum SX Pro multiviewer cards, adding functionality while reducing rack occupancy and power consumption.
Imagine’s Magellan SDN Orchestrator provides overall system control in the truck. It is specifically designed to provide unified operational interfaces in a hybrid environment, easing the transition between traditional, SDI-connected technology and software-defined, IP-connected architectures.
“The small frame size fitted well into the truck, but what really made it the right choice for us was the integrated multiviewer,” Thoelen said. “The multiviewer is also much more flexible than our old monitoring setup. Unit 14 might do football Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then entertainment and concerts during the week, so we constantly need to change the configuration. We can set up as many PiPs as we need for whatever the director wants.”
“This was a project that needed a lot of collaboration,” said Mathias Eckert, SVP & GM EMEA/APAC, Playout & Networking, at Imagine Communications. “NEP is a hugely skilled and professional organization, and knew exactly what it wanted. Our design, integration and implementation team — consisting of local staff working alongside our partner VP Media Solutions — had the skills to realize their requirements.
“The core functionality of our Platinum IP3 and the Magellan SDN Orchestrator for control has been proven — in outside broadcast applications, as well as fixed sites — for a number of years, so we were able to meet NEP’s needs right off the shelf,” he added. “Together, Imagine and NEP delivered a technology refresh in an incredibly short time.”
Unit 14 took five weeks off the road and returned to service to cover a Ladies of Soul concert in Amsterdam. The installation work was carried out in NEP’s workshops in Rotselaar, northeast of Brussels.