Two days after the close of IBC2014, as residents of Scotland went to polling stations to answer the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”, the BBC was relying heavily on talkback provided by Andover, Hampshire-based intercom supplier Trilogy Communications for its coverage of the independence referendum.
Trilogy’s main system had been installed in Glasgow, in the primary studio used for the BBC’s coverage (pictured), with links to two galleries on site which provided output, backup and graphics for the results coverage. The Glasgow system was linked to Trilogy’s flagship Gemini intercom system at the BBC’s OB operation at Elstree Studios using Gemini’s IP and distributed matrix connectivity. Gemini was used at Elstree for internal communications, OB clean feeds and four-wire circuits.
The nature of the polling process meant that there were many sites inputting news and information at any one time. A running order therefore became speculative at best, which meant that internal communications took on a critical role, with Trilogy enabling the special broadcast teams to communicate between sites with immediate information, guidance and instruction.
“Live news, particularly polling results, constitutes a benchmark example of the importance of reliable, multi-site internal communications,” explains Ewan Johnston, Trilogy’s sales director. “The pace of what amounts to election night coverage is fast and furious, and the last thing you need is a floor manager or presenter who can’t hear the director.”
The BBC also made use of legacy Trilogy equipment, including Commander, Orator and the Mercury real-time voice communication platform, built on core VoIP technology.
“This is an illustration of how our legacy technology has the reliability to perform in the long-term, while being flexible enough to be seamlessly integrated with newer technologies such as Gemini for contemporary requirements,” adds Johnston. ““A substantial range of Trilogy’s intercom equipment has been successfully used for BBC voting and polling coverage for at least 15 years. Our latest technology is set to further extend our reputation of ultimate reliability.”