Riedel has become the first manufacturer to adopt the EBU Tech 3347 standard for broadcast intercom over IP networks, writes Kevin Hilton. The technical document was published at the end of February and outlines requirements for interoperability among communications systems using voice over IP (VoIP). The basis of Tech 3347 is the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), a signalling standard developed in telecoms for establishing and terminating voice or video calls. The aim is to allow multiple broadcasters working alongside each other on big events such as the Eurovision Song Contest to communicate by connecting different makes of IP-based communications equipment. All Riedel's IP-based intercoms on the market now are 3347 compliant. Units already in use by broadcasters and facilities companies, including the VOIP-108 G2, Connect IPx2 and Connect IPx8 (pictured), can be easily updated free of charge. Andreas Hilmer, director of marketing at Riedel, agrees that 3347 is an important breakthrough in intercom technology. "Definitely it is," he says, "but it's less a break-through on the technical end than it is for operations. For the first time there is an industry standard that allows systems from various vendors to talk to each other." The leading intercom manufacturers - RTS/Telex, Clear-Com (now owned by HME) and Trilogy Communications, as well Riedel - have been researching IP technology for some time and last year all attended a meeting on the subject hosted by the EBU at IBC. Barry Spencer, general manager of broadcast at Trilogy Communications, which introduced among the first IP intercoms, says that under the new standard there is now the opportunity to "achieve more than just routing audio between disparate manufacturers' systems". www.riedel.net
EBU looks at intercom over IP
The EBU is due to publish a new standard for intercom over IP by the end of this month. As Kevin Hilton reports, this not only reflects the growing influence of IT on broadcast communications and distribution, but also has the potential to make interconnection and the exchange of material quicker and easier.