Frequently Asked Questions

 

Here are some of the questions we are often asked about iBroadcast

What is iBroadcast?

iBroadcast is a comprehensive, end to end, multi-vendor Network Management System for broadcast platforms, enabling operations teams to take rapid action in response to any issues that might affect uptime.

As your single, consolidated operational dashboard, iBroadcast aggregates data from any device or system from any vendor through an extensive library of free drivers. Information is presented via an elegant, hierarchy-based interface designed to detect, diagnose and overcome technical issues.

Providing real-time equipment status and alarms, the system offers root cause analysis, trending, alarm correlation and equipment control. It enables web-based reporting, off-air service monitoring and much more. Applications also extend to uplinks, transmitters, IT infrastructure and building management systems.

Is iBroadcast only for broadcasters?

iBroadcast will benefit anyone who has a dynamic and complex operational environment with many different types of equipment, applications and systems from a myriad of vendors. Whether you are a broadcaster, satellite, terrestrial, cable or IPTV operator or service provider, iBroadcast will streamline your operation, reduce your operational costs and increase the quality of service you provide to your customers.

What are iBroadcast drivers?

Drivers provide the interface between the third-party device or system and iBroadcast. The parameters to be monitored and controlled are defined in the driver along with any alarm thresholds or other device specific properties that iBroadcast uses to process the information received. Many communications protocols including SNMP, SOAP, HTTP, Telnet, Web Services, proprietary API, Modbus, etc. (plus many serial protocols using RS232/422/485 communications) are supported by iBroadcast. iBroadcast drivers can be configured by anyone and do not require any knowledge of programming languages or other formats such as XML; all configuration is done via a user-friendly driver configuration tool.

How much does a typical iBroadcast driver cost?

iBroadcast drivers are totally FREE! We do not charge a fee for drivers and make all drivers available to our customers as part of the overall system licence. Furthermore, new drivers released by Astec are made available to all our customers as part of the annual support agreement which also provides free software upgrades and updates.

What does end-to-end control and monitoring mean?

This means that iBroadcast has the capability to monitor and control any device or system, from any vendor across your entire platform. We have designed the system to acquire data from equipment regardless of the interface or protocol that the equipment or system provides. This means that data may be aggregated and correlated so that a high-level overview of the status and performance of your entire platform may be presented, offering users and end-to-end view of the status of the operation.

How scalable is iBroadcast?

iBroadcast has been designed so that additional Data Collectors (the iBroadcast components responsible for acquiring data) can be added to the system at any time and without having to take the system offline. This allows iBroadcast to expand as your operation and business grows.

How configurable is iBroadcast?

All of the components of iBroadcast are dynamic, meaning that they can be configured at any time by any user of the system with appropriate permissions. Users may add and remove equipment from the system at runtime and all objects may be labelled with user-friendly names to make the platform as relevant as possible to the people who interact with it on a daily basis.

What hardware is required for iBroadcast?

As a standard software application, iBroadcast can run on any standard hardware such as Dell, HP, IBM, etc. There are no special hardware requirements and Astec can provide a hardware specification for any system. Of course, if you prefer a bundled solution, Astec can provide hardware preconfigured with iBroadcast and ready to install.

Can iBroadcast be used to control my systems and equipment?

iBroadcast is equally capable at controlling systems and equipment and one of the major strengths in the data integrity built into iBroadcast is that the control is guaranteed rather than ‘fire and forget’ which means you can confidently implement manual or automatic control routines within iBroadcast. For automatic control, we provide a configuration capability for you to create the rules or scenarios and define the expected outcome. This could be as simple as switching to a reserve feed if a component of the primary fails or initiate a complex workflow task with many inputs, outputs and decisions.

Can I configure my own iBroadcast displays?

Of course. iBroadcast includes a WYSIWYG (‘what you see is what you get’) editor for you to configure your user interface in any way you like. All of the screens are constructed using standard iBroadcast building blocks which aggregate the status of equipment, applications and systems and present this to the operator through the animations of those building blocks (e.g. colour, size, position, text, etc.) We provide a library of standard, dynamic displays that we have prepared based on our experience of the most common workflows and schematics so you are free to use these templates as the backbone of your application, as suggestions for how to configure your own screens or in conjunction with your own specific displays to ensure you provide the maximum value in the information you deliver to your operators.

Is iBroadcast supported in a virtual environment?

Absolutely, iBroadcast can be hosted in a virtual environment to reduce the overall hardware required and as a result, the overall energy consumption of the system which is great for your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targets.

Do Astec provide turnkey services for iBroadcast?

Of course, our team of experts have years of experience implementing iBroadcast solutions and can assist from the requirements capture and analysis stage right through to system acceptance and handover to ensure the project runs as smoothly as possible and is a success from the very beginning. We also provide education and training for your own teams to facilitate the transfer to an operational system.

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