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Encompass

Highly Resilient Compliance Monitoring Multiviewer and Logger

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Encompass is an innovative, advanced, and enterprise-class solution which provides the full functionality of compliance, monitoring, logging, and recording for all engineering and operational needs along with tools and features to increase the performance and efficiency of other departments – such as Sales, News, Management, Programming, and Promotions.  It is the top-of-class solution within Vela’s SmartLogger series.  The term SmartLoggers refers to a new evolution beyond mere logging.

 

When deployed as a turnkey solution, the Encompass server hardware is highly-resilient with multiple fans, multiple power supplies, and a RAID configuration on the hard drives.  The server and your content are always protected.

  

This powerful solution takes numerous mixed inputs of any type (RF, ASI, SDI, IP, HDMI, etc.) and can both capture and process multiple channels, sub-channels, feeds, and transport streams.

  

Each channel can be recorded and transcoded in any resolution; additionally monitor-only channels can be displayed and logged, with on-screen alarms, without any recording.  When recording original/full resolution files, a proxy file is also recorded for easier user access within the GUIs.

  

An added benefit of Vela’s SmartLoggers is that all their features, functions, and capabilities, for Engineering and Operations, are included with the purchase of the base system.  With Vela, there’s no need to buy the system and then go seeking to purchase additional features for extra costs.

Storage

When recording, the channels can be individually configured, for compression and retention duration (such as keeping the main channel for 6 months or 1 year), to optimize the server’s storage.

 

As the retention durations are reached, Vela’s SmartLoggers offer the ability to transfer the oldest content to another storage platform (NAS, cloud drive, etc.) instead of merely deleting it.  This not only clears capacity for the new recordings, but also extends the life of the older content to virtually forever.  The same GUIs used for accessing recent content are used to access the content on these other platforms – making the storage environment flexible and convenient for all users.

Powered by GPU

All of Vela’s turnkey SmartLoggers are delivered with a Nvidia Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) card installed.  The GPU benefits begin with accelerated graphics rendering, colorspace correction, and other important functions. 

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However, Vela’s SmartLoggers extends these benefits by shifting all of the HLS stream transcoding, required for viewing content within the user interfaces, from the Central Processing Unit (CPU) to the GPU.  This means that the SmartLogger’s CPU is free to do more channels, in one system, and do more with those channels.

 

Vela’s use of the GPU extends the overall efficiency and performance of the SmartLogger system.

Access

There are two user interfaces into this solution.  The first is the seen by connecting any HDMI monitor into the server.  The second is accessed using any HTML5 web browser – such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari.  By using a web browser, instead of installing an application, Vela gives its users the advantage and flexibility of accessing the system from wherever they are on any computing platform they’re using – including laptops, workstations, servers, tablets, and phones.  When connecting remotely, all of Vela’s SmartLoggers support the use of firewalls, VPNs, and other security networking.  The browser-based graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are also customizable on a per-user basis.

Multiviewers

Infinity+ provides four different multiviewers, to serve the technical and monitoring needs of different groups and purposes:

  • Real-Time Multiviewer with No Delay

  • Data-Rich Operations & Engineering Multiviewer

  • Conditional “Penalty Box” for Viewing Only on Exceptions

  • Multiviewing Dashboard for Low-Latency and Non-Live Demands

The multiviewers provide all the necessary tools to not only monitor the video and audio content, but can also optionally see important data such as captioning, loudness levels, trigger information, alarm statuses, and an alarm history.  Additionally, users may review a channel’s recording directly within the multiviewer windows – much like one would do using a DVR’s quick-back button; this eliminates the need to switch to other GUI pages to simply make a quick check on something observed.

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Penalty Box

The Penalty Box is particularly useful for its monitoring-by-exception interface.  The valuable concept is that the screen should normally be blank.  However, it immediately displays any channel that is currently in an active alarm state – thus drawing the attention of anybody within viewing range.  The screen will split, as necessary, if additional channels encounter active alarms while others are still in progress.

Notes

When using all Vela SmartLoggers, users may enter notes directly into the multiviewer, editor, and other content viewing windows.  These notes may be technical in nature (such as “heard a pop”), programming in nature (such as “governor passed through the scene”), used for sports (such as “home team scored”), or entered for a variety of other reasons – all providing the user with an ability to enter custom metadata.

As the note is entered, it is time, date, and channel stamped.  So later, as people search for these notes, they can simply click the note and be taken directly to the point in the content where the note was left – like an intelligent bookmark. 

 

Notes are an effective way for users, especially those in different departments or locations, to collaborate without needing to send lengthy explanatory emails with approximated timecodes.

Alarms, Data & Notations

All compliance alarms and logged data are searchable and viewable in table form and in many cases, via colorful graphs.  These graphs can be useful to visualize behavior (such as loudness and bitrate variations) instead of just looking at a set of numbers.  Graphs are also helpful to determine appropriate limits and thresholds.

All of the logged data and measurements are also downloadable in multiple forms (CSV, XLS, PDF, etc.).  Vela customers do not pay any charges for extracting data to make their own documents, reports, charts, etc.

 

Click here for more information about Vela’s powerful data and analytics.

Click here for information about Vela's powerful data and analytics.

In addition to all of the on-screen statuses and data, all notifications are customizable on a per-channel, per-alarm basis where users can be notified via one or more different methods:

  • Email Messages

  • Text (SMS) Messages

  • GPI Outputs

  • Audible Sounds

  • SNMP MIBs

  • Slack Messages

  • Microsoft Teams Messages

  • Webex Teams Messages

  • WhatsApp Messenger Messages

  • Pikolo ITracker pushes

  • Application Programming Interface

  • (API) Messages

Dolby AC-4 Metadata

When working with the powerful Dolby AC-4 audio format used in ATSC 3.0 channels, it’s important to be able to view and download its metadata – especially when trying to analyze or troubleshoot audio behavior.

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Exporting Clips

This solution is fully-capable of marking and exporting clips from any recorded channel’s content.  As the clips are generated, they’ll be automatically transcoded to the desired target packing (MXF, MP4, MOV, etc.) and users may overlay metadata on the clips so that they may better provide information or “tell the full story” on their own.

Once the clips are generated, they’re available within an Export Library that enables users to search (based on numerous factors including creator name) and download all of the files.  Vela also provides the ability to provide users with a Shareable Link, instead of downloading files; this is particularly useful for large files that can’t be sent via email.  These links can be assigned expiration dates and permission to download (via the link) can be granted.

Click here for information about Vela's powerful clip generation features.

Transport Stream Analysis 

Beyond merely monitoring and recording the channels, this solution also provides tools for analyzing and reporting on the transport streams carrying them.  Users can check on their PSIP data, Transport Stream Services Map, TR101.290 error counts, and see graphs of their streams’ live and past behavior.  This functionality extends the check for channel quality to a full monitoring of the station’s Quality of Service (QoS).

Click here for information about Vela's powerful transport stream analysis.

Digital Triggers

This solution also gives users all the tools they need to effectively work with digital triggers.  Alarms and notifications (emails, texts, Slack, etc.) can occur when triggers come in and (often more importantly) when they’re insertion is missed.  The occurrence of triggers can be visualized in tables and on graphs.

To assist with troubleshooting, the digital trigger data packets can be opened, examined, and even downloaded.  When problems occur, Vela’s SmartLoggers don’t just show users that digital triggers occurred and leave them wondering; they’ll help determine why the trigger didn’t result in the expected behavior – right down to the individual fields in the descriptors.

Searching for Content

Searching for content is easy with Vela’s solutions.  Users are given many different methods of finding content, which suit different purposes at different times.  These include:

  • Data and Time

  • Thumbnails

  • Program Titles

  • Program Descriptions

  • Captioning

  • As-Run Logs

  • Alarm History

  • Alert Types

  • User Comments/Metadata

  • Programming Notes

  • Technical Notes

  • Manual Discrepancies

By providing thumbnails, Vela’s SmartLoggers make it easy to find your place, in the recordings, using visual references instead of relying on timecodes.

Using as-run logs makes finding programming, especially commercials and promos, much easier.  These aren’t usually in the program guide (EPG/PSIP) and finding them can be a challenge – often involving sending emails and calling other departments.  Vela’s SmartLoggers integrate with all the playout companies to provide as-run log integration that allows users to easily search the logs, jump to loading the appropriate content, and even exporting clips from a single button click.

Mobile Device App

When away from your computers, Vela makes it easy to access your systems via a handy mobile device application.

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This app easily loads on iOS and Android to connect to all your Vela SmartLoggers and/or Central Management Systems.  It provides a thumbnail and alarm status along with other data and even the program guide (EPG/PSIP).  Changing channels is done with a simple swipe left or right.  When necessary, a single click can toggle the thumbnail into viewing a live stream of the channel’s output.

Sharing Clips On Social Media

In addition to downloading files and sending Shareable Links, Encompass users can export their clips directly to any social media platform.  Encompass will automatically take care of all the metadata, packaging, and transcoding necessary before uploading the clip(s) into the desired platform.  As required, multiple social media accounts can be chosen, using convenient pull-down menus, so that clips can easily be placed on the appropriate pages.  For example, a station might have a News Page, a Weather Page, and a Children’s Programming Page on their social media account; with Encompass, there’s no need to log out and back in to access the various different upload destinations

Users need to simply fill in a few fields, perhaps add a few hashtags, and the press Upload.  Encompass will take care of the rest.

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Ratings

One of the first advanced tools which Encompass offers to assist a facility’s management and programming teams is an integrated analysis of their ratings (or other comparative data).  With the competition for viewers becoming increasingly fierce, across all the different distribution methods, it’s increasingly important for facilities to know how their doing and potentially make adjustments.

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Vela’s Encompass SmartLogger provides a detailed view of the ratings, from any source, for your channels and those of your competitors.  These ratings can be sorted/filtered by date, time, measurement interval, and demographic (F2554, M1849, HH, etc.).  Then, the ratings are presented as colored graphs instead of sheets of numbers.

 

Along with the ratings, Encompass provides integrated recorded content playback so that users need only to click on the particular rating, at any date and time, to see what was on air on that time.  This is valuable in determining why you or your competitors may be leading the ratings at any particular moment.

 

The integrated ratings are also used in several ways to assist with Encompass’ tools to enhance the performance, efficiency, and visibility of a facility’s Sales Team.

Content Searching and Matching

By using Audio Fingerprinting, Vela’s Encompass provides a powerful ability to search for content on any recorded channel – including yours, those of competitors, and others you may be monitoring.  Because Encompass uses the audio, visual issues like aspect ratio, overlayed graphics, and pixelization have no effect on the searches and their results.

Sales can use this functionality to track their efficiency and analyze how they’re doing against their competitors.  There’s no need to wait days or weeks for a third-party to produce (often outdated) reports when Encompass can generate this information instantly, as a daily automated process, or both.

 

Knowing the ratio of you and your competitors playing the same commercials may also drive strategy and/or pricing decisions.  Knowing when your competitors are playing commercials that you aren’t will certainly help you identify new leads – and they’re already qualified leads.

 

The detailed results will also provide useful graphs, to help visual the information, along with a breakdown of every commercial occurrence within the recordings. 

Clicking once, on any entry, will immediately cause the SmartLogger to load and play that commercial.

 

When integrated with a station’s ratings, the Sales Team members can also select programming times where they have a clear advantage over the competitors.  Perhaps they can ask “Why not choose our station which clearly has better ratings and thus a bigger audience?” during key times.

This content searching functionality might also be used to track and count political ads, news clips, sports moment replays, and other content important to you, your team, and your company.

Content Compare

Encompass’ Audio Fingerprinting technology also enables a functionality that’s often critical in the ever-growing need for multiple distribution paths.  When your channels and/or streams are sent through other paths – such as satellite companies, cable companies, IP services – there’s often a need to check those other paths for quality and/or consistency.

 

Encompass’ Content Compare Feature will take your original channel/stream and check it against one or more of the alternate distribution paths.  These paths do not all need to be the same type (RF, ASI, IP, SDI, etc.), aspect ratio, or resolution.  While comparing, delays and drift are automatically calculated and taken into account.

As discrepancies and differences are identified, users can be immediately notified via one or more methods including visual alerts, emails, text messages, Slack messages, Teams messages, and the WhatsApp Messenger.

 

Users may also do manual searches or produce automatic reports of the discrepancies.  Any identified discrepancy can be viewed via Encompass’ GUIs or the mismatch segment can be downloaded as a standalone file to be sent or shown to other interested parties.

This kind of search-and-compare functionality usually requires teams of staffers endlessly watching multiple monitors in hopes of catching differences.  This is not only cumbersome, but can be expensive both in time and labor costs.  Encompass provides this functionality, along with everything else it does, at no extra cost.

Keyword Searches and Alerts

All of Vela’s SmartLoggers provide the functionality to search any recorded channel’s captions and other textual metadata (EPG, etc.).  Encompass provides an extra feature that enables users to set up automatic search jobs that will run daily.  These searches can be configured to run on any recorded channel and will produce and straightforward GUI or download report of the occurrences.  The start of the search period can be the current day or any date within the past.

This is particularly useful for News Teams that cover certain topics and want to avoid the hassles of doing manual searches each day.  It’s also an extraordinary way to research something that may have been covered over the past few months.  Why manually go through a laborious and tedious manual search when Encompass can do it for you?

 

Another great use of this feature is to quickly investigate a topic for breaking news.  A quick multi-channel search can let News Directors know if they’re the first to break the story or to see how the competition is covering the same topic.

 

While reviewing the search results, users can press a single button to expand those results and explore what the caption or other text actually contained, when it occurred, the channel on which it occurred, and even be offered an opportunity to play the recording.  If desired, the user may also download the pertinent captions or text for use elsewhere – perhaps to copy portions directly into a newsroom automation story or the teleprompter text.

Another useful feature, provided by Vela’s Encompass, is the ability to establish real-time keyword alerts.  When doing this, users can configure the system to automatically scan for words on phrases within the captions of one or more channels.  The moment the search is successful, Encompass can alert the user, along with other interested personnel, via one of its numerous notification methods – including emails, text messages, Slack messages, and Teams messages.

A common usage, of this feature, is for News Directors to monitor local and important topics.  Perhaps this is a political figure (such as a mayor or governor), an issue (such as blood drive or homelessness), or to track coverage of the sports team(s).  By setting up Keyword Alerts, News Teams will get immediate notification when these topics are covered elsewhere; they can then decide whether they should be covering this topic too.

Want to see Encompass in action and ask your detailed questions? 

The SmartLogger of Choice

Encompass is an easily-installed and intuitive solution to satisfy all your compliance, monitoring, logging, and recording needs while bringing you the additional power of an advanced SmartLogger

Click here for additional information, including all of the technical specifications.

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