From time to time, I like to post news from the world of broadcasting. The industry has had to undergo some dramatic changes since Covid-19 reared its troublesome head. Having on-air talent in radio and TV studios became problematic and so many broadcasters have had to look at ways of getting their talent on-air remotely.
One small British startup has been swept off its feet by the need for simple and reliable remote broadcasting solutions. In:Quality was set up in 2013 by Kevin Leach, a former sound engineer and producer at the BBC. Leach developed ipDTL, a real-time communication platform thst’s now used by broadcasters around the world to replace the old ISDN service that’s now being phased out by telcos.
The challenges of Covid-19 drove demand from broadcasters for a portable hardware solution that could get broadcasting talent and presenters on air from the comfort and safety of their homes without any specialist technical knowledge. One of these broadcasters was Radio France. In:Quality enabled Radio France to quickly and easily connect their teams to ca studio with audio quality that makes them sound as if they are broadcasting from the studio as normal.
To do this, In:Quality developed the Despatch Box, a unique USB SIP Codec based around an affordable Raspberry Pi computer that communicates using nothing more complicated than a home broadband connection. Radio France saw In:Quality’s Codec as a potential solution for getting its presenters to connect and broadcast from their homes.
Just over a month ago, the innovation department at Radio France invited In:Quality to collaborate with Sandbox – the broadcaster’s open-innovation program – to run some tests that would connect to the broadcaster’s in-house SIP service. There was some urgency because of the ongoing pandemic and the relationship was quickly established, tests were carried out, and the results proved very positive.
Kevin Leach said of the partnership, “It’s been very useful to receive feedback from Radio France’s on-air staff via the broadcaster’s Sandbox program. Because the USB SIP Codec device is software-based, we were able to respond quickly to the end-user feedback and have just released updated firmware.”
Speaking about the partnership, Radio France’s IT Manager, Nicolas Deslauriers, said: “With the new USB SIP Codec, which was delivered quickly, and is easy to use. In:Quality has perfectly demonstrated its ability to respond to Radio France’s urgent requirements.”
Improvements to the USB SIP Codec as a result of feedback has resulted in new firmware that includes a clock on the Codec’s touchscreen, plus the ability to mute the microphone, in case the presenter needs to cough. In:Quality also implemented some user-interface improvements as well as better error handling. Leach claimed: “In a matter of weeks, we were able to deliver a substantial number of USB SIP Codecs to Radio France, along with all the requested additional features.”
In:Quality is now in the final stages of prototyping a new and improved housing the USB SIP Codec with a slicker and more professional finish that has neater ports and stronger corporate branding. A second version of the codec will also include XLR sockets for connecting analog microphones or for hooking up to the line-level connectors of a studio mixer. The updated Codecs will be ready to ship by the end of 2020.
It’s certainly been a momentous year for In:Quality and so good to hear how the dreadful downside of Covid-19 has an upside in the form of rapid innovation from small and agile startup that was able to respond to demand in an industry that has had to completely reconfigure the way it produces programs.