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Axon's Cerebrum software brings control and monitoring to broadcast playout and production facilities.

Large broadcasters with complex playout facilities usually have workflows that include equipment from a wide variety of manufacturers. Making sure that all this equipment is properly integrated, controlled and managed is key to the success of these facilities, particularly when they are dealing with high-profile programming and playout across numerous TV channels.

It is therefore no surprise that Axon Digital Design's sophisticated Cerebrum monitoring and control platform is proving so popular with broadcasters around the world. This elegant software is fast becoming the control solution for choice--not just for playout facilities but also for mobile production, news and studio live production, master control and remote production.

Designed as a customisable monitoring and control system, Cerebrum links broadcast equipment from all major manufacturers using either SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) or third-party protocols. The system supports a wide range of devices including routers, production switchers, servers, audio desks, camera control units, receiver decoders, multi-viewers and waveform monitors, and its advanced functionality and broad range of features simplifies multi-device control into one easy-to-use customised interface.

One broadcaster that has put Cerebrum at the heart of its playout facilities is British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) in Chalfont, UK. Part of Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), BFBS delivers a comprehensive selection of UK television and radio programmes to British Armed Forces personnel around the world. As well as 20 radio stations, it has 15 live, 24-hour TV channels to deal with, all of which are broadcast via encrypted satellite and online to an audience of 25,000 in 24 countries, and to Royal Navy ships at sea.

At BFBS, Cerebrum controls and monitors a workflow that features Snell Advanced Media's (SAM) ICE channel-in-a-box with Morpheus automation, a Provys traffic system, IPV's Curator media asset management (MAM) based on Cisco hardware, Axon Synapse signal processing, Arbor mass ingest recording and NetApp storage. A single control panel with a customised user interface allows BFBS staff to efficiently view the broadcaster's entire transmission workflow.

Hunter Adair, head of technology service, TV and News at BFBS/SSVC, said: "Cerebrum provides us with a holistic customised view of our operations and gives us greater flexibility to scale and adapt in this fast-moving environment. It certainly helps us to fulfil the BFBS mission, which is 'To Serve Those Who Serve'."

La Chatne Parlementaire-Assemblee nationale (LCP), the TV channel of the French National Assembly, has also installed Axon's Cerebrum control and monitoring system as part of a major upgrade of its news production facilities.

LCP operates two studios and two control rooms located on different sites. These are linked by fibre-optic cables with control and monitoring provided by a single Cerebrum system. This is integrated with a Riedel decentralised MediorNet/MicroN IP router that offers advanced processing and routing capabilities via modular I/O video blocks. Using fully customisable remote panels, Cerebrum manages all of the equipment connected to the router, including a video mixer, an audio console, multi-images, intercom, tally and UDM.

The channel, which broadcasts 24/7 over satellite, cable, over-the-top (OTT), IPTV and digital terrestrial television (DTTV) with debates and commentary on major national and international political issues, has switched its entire infrastructure to HD--now the default format in France. As part of this upgrade, technical equipment was also renewed to streamline the workflow and improve control and monitoring.

Jerome Monteil, general manager of Ericsson's Broadcast Service France, said: "The Axon Cerebrum control and monitoring platform is key to the success of this project as it delivers both reliability and scalability. It interfaces beautifully with Riedel's MediorNet router and with other third-party equipment in LCP's workflow. Cost of ownership was also a factor--using floating licences, Cerebrum offers exceptional value for money and, thanks to its intuitive design, it is very easy to add new products to the broadcast chain. We are also able to modify the system internally, which lowers the cost of maintenance and service."

In Asia, Fuzhou Radio and TV --the broadcaster responsible for transmitting the First National Youth Games in China--has selected Cerebrum because it provides a complete view of the operational workflow, including third-party products. Through an easy-to-use customised graphical interface, it allows its engineers to ensure faults are easily located and quickly resolved.

Lin Qinhua, head of technology at Fuzhou Radio and TV, said: "As the broadcaster in the host city for the first Chinese National Youth Games, we felt the pressure and responsibility of the occasion, especially as we were using a new broadcast system. However, the success of the broadcast showed the importance of choosing the right equipment and systems at an early stage.

"By working closely with systems integrators and equipment manufacturers and by ensuring that we had good communication and feedback with everyone involved, we were able to make a seemingly 'impossible' task possible. The success of these Games was very satisfying and the entire project allowed our production team to accumulate valuable experience of our new broadcast platform."

In recent months, Axon has further improved the flexibility of Cerebrum by ensuring that its latest software version incorporates support for even more high-end manufacturers including Evertz, AJA, AXIA, Allen & Heath, Panasonic, Ross Video, Yamaha, Rohde & Schwartz, Quintech and Blackmagic Design. This makes it even simpler to monitor and control multiple devices on one easy-to-use interface.

For more information about Cerebrum and Axon's full range of broadcast infrastructure products, please visit


Geert-Jan Gussen is Marketing Manager at Axon Digital Design.
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Title Annotation:MANAGEMENT
Author:Gussen, Geert-Jan
Publication:APB Magazine
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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