The Observer RPM (Remote Program Monitor) is Volicon's solution for MSOs, Independent Cable operators, IPTV, and Satellite providers looking to automatically evaluate the quality of their NOC/headend and remote hub site broadcasts from a central location.
Based on technology employed in Volicon's award-winning Observer broadcast monitoring system, the Observer RPM scans hundreds of channels, automatically testing signal integrity around the clock and issuing alerts (via email and SNMP) when scanned channels do not conform to prespecified limits. Monitoring includes detection of low audio levels and missing/frozen/black video, including notifications when the signal is restored.
Supported transport stream analyzers may also be integrated. In addition to providing alerts, the Observer-RPM can record content for later review, facilitating diagnostics by allowing technicians to carefully observe an intermittently faulty channel. Armed with a standard MS Windows-based PC, one technician is capable of reaching out and inspecting the entire video pipeline - from central headend to remote hubsite - without leaving his or her seat.Highlights
- The Observer-RPM eliminates the need for manual, visual channel inspections - an expensive and time-consuming task. It allows proactive response to faults, instead of waiting passively for customer complaints. Improve service and save on operating costs by eliminating unnecessary service trips to remote locations.
- Automatically monitor the entire channel lineup
- Identify and evaluate severity and cause of failure, often
- Obviating the need to send a technician to a remote site
- Alert generation when faults are detected and confirmed
- Record problematic channels 24/7 for closer scrutiny
- Stream desired channels for remote viewing from any location
- End of line monitoring for cable and IPTV systems.Log and rewiew faults via web interface
- End of line monitoring for cable and IPTV systems.
Once attached, each input on the RPM can be configured in one of four modes:
- Fast Scan: the attached set-top box will be instructed to scan the channelspace as quickly as possible, spending the minimum amount of time possible (typically 5-10 seconds) to inspect each channel. If a channel is found to be faulty, it is added to a list of "problematic channels" which a slow scanner will inspect, and an alert is issued.
- Slow Scan: the attached set-top box will be instructed to scan each channel in the "problematic channels" list for a longer duration (usually 1-2 minutes), carefully monitoring faulty channels for the return of normal service. If a faulty channel returns to normal, the slow scanner issues a "signal restored" alert and removes the channel from the problem list.
- Manual: in this mode, the attached set-top box does not automatically scan the channelspace, instead it is remotely controllable via the Observer RPM's web interface. Operators may issue any series of remote-control keypresses to the set top box, including power on/off commands. A selected channel will be streamed in real time for remote viewing
- Transport Stream: upon receiving a fault alert from transport stream analyzer, the Observer RPM will tune the attached settop box to the faulting channel, generate a fault clip, and issue an alert.
Any combination of these four modes may be applied to attain the desired functionality. Nominally, multiple fast scanners are used in tandem, each one scanning a subset of the channel list and thus reducing the amount of time between channel inspections. Once a fault is detected, a clip is generated depicting the faulty channel, and an alert is dispatched to operators via email or SNMP trap. Operators may then log into the web interface to see the clip and share it, and may use the manual tuners to diagnose the fault. Channel faults can be sorted by channel name/number, set-top box, and QAM to aid in diagnosis and reporting.