The objective of the project was to have a solution that would put journalists and production staff in control, enabling them to collaborate freely across Finnish regions and distribute their programs on air to any regions themselves – in a way that was not possible previously. This more agile production would enhance the listeners’ experience.
The key to delivering on that objective was to have a modern IP media network for contribution and primary distribution that could be controlled in a simple way from any location. The network needed to connect approximately 50 national and regional studios, and 6 main switching centers and 47 transmitter sites. This network also had to be extremely resilient as it is a key part if the countrywide Emergency Alarm System (EAS).
Despite the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Digita and Nevion worked remotely, together with the broadcaster, to create the new IP media network solution, which went live in January 2021. The solution is built primarily on the Nevion’s software-defined media node, Virtuoso and its orchestration and SDN control software, VideoIPath.
Virtuoso handles the reliable transport of audio streams over IP (SMPTE ST 2110-30) with full protection (SMPTE ST 2022-7). It also provides audio processing capabilities, including clean-switching and mixing of feeds from various studios.
VideoIPath controls the network end-to-end, including the LAN/WAN interconnections between Digita and Yle networks, and handles the several layers of redundancy needed in the network to ensure its total reliability.
In order to put the users in control, a custom user-interface to VideoIPath was developed, that largely replaces traditional broadcast controllers, and dramatically simplifies production workflows – making the creation of localized content much easier. VideoIPath carries out the users’ requests by controlling network and the audio switching in multiple Virtuosos simultaneously.
As part of this project, Nevion also has been providing consultancy services before and during the project, to ensure the solution delivered corresponded to the expectations, handling existing production workflows and even enhancing them.
Pekka Mattila, Senior Vice President, Radio at Digita said: “This was a complex project, needing to be delivered under exceptionally unusual and difficult conditions as a result of COVID-19, but we worked well together virtually, with a clear common goal. Nevion’s expertise and experience has been a major contributor to the successful outcome of the project.”
Hans Hasselbach, Chief Commercial Officer at Nevion concludes: “This project has been a really interesting one for us on many levels. It has given us the opportunity to deploy Virtuoso’s most advanced audio capabilities, as well as use VideoIPath to really enhance the way Yle produces radio programs. It’s also a project in which we have provided a substantial element of consultative services. And, of course, there was the COVID-19 situation, but we have proved again that our experts are able to rise to any challenge!”