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20/10/2016

CallMe – Click-and–Connect Internet Codec Service

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CallMe Click-and-Connect is a cost-effective internet service that makes it simple for guest contributors – and reporters – to send broadcast audio back to the studio.

Anyone with a Smartphone, Tablet, PC or Mac has the ability to get connected with high quality, low delay audio without the need for their own hardware codec, installing special software or having to visit the studio or a reporter visit them. It is simple to use; the Studio sets up a "CallMe Event" which includes the time that the link will be active, the studio codec that will be used, the type of connection anticipated and any other pertinent information. This produces a web link which is e-mailed to the guest contributor, which when they click on it, connects them through the internet browser, to the Station's dedicated and branded CallMe portal on the CALLME.FM server. To "Go Live" they simply click on the CallMe Button and connect with low-latency high-quality audio, to the chosen codec at the studio, already set up as part of the licensing process.

Ideally, when working with a computer or tablet, the guest would use a separate headset rather than the built-in audio but with mobile phone, the microphone and earpiece are generally good enough for high quality broadcast sound – though for reporter use, Vortex has a comprehensive range of Mic and Headset smartphone interfaces.

ISDN has for years provided the preferred method for sending high-quality audio using publicly-available connections. The data path is circuit-switched and not shared with others and the consistency – and delay – of end-to-end connectivity is assured. However, many providers of ISDN have increased prices and have already announced that the service will cease, forcing the inevitable move to IP audio.

Over recent years, using IP Audio Codecs and the Public Internet for data connectivity has shown itself to be extremely flexible and reliable; allowing live broadcast from pretty well anywhere there is an Internet connection. Coupled with careful management of streamed data over what is a packet-switched connection, stable, reliable low-delay audio is no longer in question. On the other hand, there is a very large installed base of ISDN mixer-codecs from various manufacturers where the audio mixing and cue capabilities are well-understood and liked but these are only able to connect to the studio using ISDN.

CallMe is compatible with the industry-standard ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs, VH2 and AutoHybrid-IP2 VoIP Telephone Hybrids, STAC-VIP Talk Show System and a wide range of other IP audio devices including the new CallMe-T low-cost studio back-end developed by Vortex specifically for CallMe users and on show at IBC for the first time. Many smaller Community Stations cannot afford the outlay of a full-featured hardware IP codec and whilst using a computer for Broadcast IP connections provides a relatively low-cost solution (assuming they already own the computer) it is not ideal as hardware codecs have proved to be more reliable with better audio input/output characteristics. CallMe-T fills the gap providing a hardware back-end at an extremely competitive price. For larger installations, 4 can be mounted side-by-side in 1-U.

CallMe-T is available in two variants; CallMe-TS Studio Codec has been designed as a hardware back-end for CallMe Click-and-Connect™ – Vortex's internet codec service which lets guests and reporters send high-quality low-delay audio back to the studio without the need for them to have their own IP codec or download special software.

CallMe-TR is housed in the same small desktop enclosure as the CallMe-TS Studio Codec but additionally has two "Call" buttons on the front panel that provide "Quick Dial" connections and a single "Drop" button to disconnect. It has been designed as a simple, reliable IP Audio Codec that can work alongside most ISDN mixers, allowing live 2-way transmission using IP.

BBC Regions, Nations, News and Sport are using the CallMe Internet Codec Service to allow up to 200 simultaneous connections using a CallMe web page. As part of the arrangement, each user is provided with a login with contributors connecting to the existing fleet of Comrex codecs at various studios.

You can find out more about CallMe and other Vortex products at www.vtx.co.uk and if you have any further questions do not hesitate to email info@vtx.co.uk or call 020 8579 2743.

This article is also available to read at BFV online here, page 10.

(JP/LM)
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