uts_apr13_000_Benchmark_apr13 04/03/2013 16:42 Page 4
Under the Skin
Christie – Phoenix What is it?
Why would I want it?
The Phoenix from Christie is an open content management system designed specifically for use in control rooms. It is described by the manufacturer as a ‘network streaming solution’ which can ‘collaborate, synthesise and generate fast and accurate decisions’. Do you want that one more time? Okay, the Phoenix uses a number of distributed devices which handle video (up to HD1080p inputs) and audio streams. Numerous remote devices can be used, and these are connected via the network to workstations. The system is controlled by centralised software. In essence, the distributed infrastructure takes the ‘room’ element out of the control room. In other words, the geographical location of those viewing, managing and accessing data is no longer limited to one single location. Indeed, the information gathered by the system can be distributed to mobile personnel if required, allowing those ‘on the ground’ to make decisions based upon real-time live and informative data, rather than relying on someone in a remote location to make those decisions for them!
There are two main reasons why businesses and organisations are going to consider this system. Firstly, many companies are increasingly under pressure to realise returns from their investment, and real-estate is often one of the biggest investments a bbusiness makes. If an organisation is operating a large centralised control room – in the style which was necessary a decade ago because of the limitations in technology – then it is going to be difficult to balance the real-estate costs versus returns. However, that space could usually be better utilised – and probably in a more profitable way – if the control room space could be rationalised. To do this without compromising on the overall performance is a challenge, and the Phoenix solution could offer benefits here. More importantly, from a point of operational efficiency, it makes sense to allow those who need information to be able to access it easily. The old ‘centralised’ approach to control rooms meant that often, those who relied on the data had to receive it ‘second hand’, often from operators who didn’t share their knowledge and understanding of a site or the incidents that might occur there. Phoenix could deliver that data, directly to those who need it, when they need it!
Will it be a pain to configure? Christie claims that the Phoenix system is simple and cost-effective to configure, deploy and manage. The remote units can be combined to build synchronised display walls of any size. Equally, they can be used as a desktop processor to augment a single user’s operating environment. The software allows access and control of the streams from any network connection. Remote units are compatible with the majority of existing network cameras and video surveillance systems, as well as a number of third-party video encoders. The desktop software included with Phoenix systems features a drag-and-drop interface that can manage content on 16
multiple display walls simultaneously. It can also display content locally on a user’s desktop while sharing content with other users across the network. Expansion is as simple as connecting another unit to the network, which enhances the overall flexibility of the solution. So, in a nutshell, according to Christie, it won’t be a pain to configure.