VCOM Application Notes
VCOM is an evolutionary advancement in intercom technology harnessing the power and reach of I.P. technology. VCOM translates hardware intercom functions and it’s human interface to a software GUI effectively and elegantly. VCOM interfaces with existing physical matrices and audio devices easily and inexpensively with common off-the-shelf interface devices.
There are many ways to integrate Vcom into an existing system to extend user panels, connect to distant audio sources, or interconnect multiple other matrices. Vcom can also be designed as a stand-alone system. I will explore the building blocks and some of these configurations as examples for those considering Vcom for their own applications.
The Basic Elements of Vcom:
The Vcom Virtual Matrix runs on a Windows Server or PC (or MAC running Boot Camp). It is the equivalent of a hardware matrix frame, and can have from two to several hundred bi-directional ports.
The Vcom User Control Panel is a client program that also runs under Windows. It replicates a hardware button or key panel, showing as many buttons as programmed to, each assigned to address other Vcom User Panels or audio devices. A Vcom user control panel can reside anywhere on an internet or intranet network, and mulitple instances of the program can be run on a single machine. In this way, multiple panels can be displayed on a single screen, each with access to different virtual matrices. The User Panel can run on a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer, and even on Windows Mobile devices such as certain cell phones & PDA’s. A static I.P. address is not required for user panels. Any headset you can connect to the computer’s sound card or USB port will work (we are working on interfaces for pro headsets with XLR connectors). Noise canceling cell phone, gaming and internet telephony headsets work well and are inexpensive.
The Vcom Device Interface is another client software program that routes PCI card, USB and Fire Wire audio and GPI/O interfaces through the matrix. The Device Interface controls how I/O ports on an audio interface are routed through the Virtual Matrix, and how GPI/O interface ports can key a 2-way radio transmitter, open an intercom channel, latch a telephone line, etc. The D.I. can be run on the Virtual Martix server or any client machine. Audio Interfaces are currently available with up to 16 analog 4-wire I/O channels
The Virtual Matrix server communicates with Control Panel and Device Interface clients via an IP network. An IP network can be the internet, a company intranet, a local network within the facility confines, or a WiFi access point.
Integration with existing hardware matrix system
Intercom audio can be exchanged with a hardware matrix via 4-wire circuits. Buttons on hardware panels can be configured to talk to specific 4-wire circuits connected to VCOM Matrix ports, in turn programmed to address specific user control panels over the IP network. IFB or program monitor outputs can be routed to VCOM ports for user panels programmed with listen only buttons.
A Vcom user control panel can reside anywhere on the network - At a work station in the control room; in an office down the hall, another floor or across campus; in a home across town; or on a laptop with a remote crew across the country or on another continent, or on a laptop in a moving vehicle with a wireless broadband card, or on a cell phone running the Windows Mobile O.S.
Mulitple physical matrices can be interconnected through 4-wire ports routed through VCOM. Because VCOM is a matrix, point to multipoint and multipoint to multipoint communications is easy to accomplish. This is a major advantage over OEM I.P. solutions such as RVON.
GPI/O interfaces with USB connections can exchange control signals with external devices to key radio transmission, light an On-Air indicator, open a talk channel, or nearly any other function.
Hardware for VCOM
ATS Communications can supply, configure & integrate VCOM hardware with existing intercom & IFB hardware. Check HERE for information on the PC terminals, headsets, interfaces., etc. we can provide.