The Manchester TV facility owner has been using the Intelligent Display System for its studio and post-production door information displays since the complex opened in 2010.
When it comes to selecting integral broadcast facility systems – the kind of systems that are required to work without fault or interruption year in, year out – it’s only logical that quality and reliability are at the top of the priority list. With its choice of studio door and post-production suite information display system, TV studios and media services company dock10 has certainly satisfied these requirements, with its Densitron Intelligent Display System (IDS) installation recently passing its tenth anniversary.
Based in Salford, Manchester, dock10 is home to some of the UK’s most enduring and best-loved programmes, including Match of the Day, Countdown, The Voice and – since its 2018 revival – Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Comprising eight conventional TV studios, two audio studios and two mezzanine-style spaces used for television production, dock10 also incorporates extensive post-production facilities and cloud media management services.
There is no such thing as a quiet period at dock10, and even during a pandemic the complex has been hosting as many as nine major productions in its studios during the course of a single week. With this kind of workload, the studio and post-production door information display system had to be robust, reliable and easy to use from day one. Dock10 Technology Operations Manager Darren Jones, who came onboard as the complex was opening in mid-2010, confirms that Densitron IDS has amply fulfilled these requirements: “It has been absolutely fantastic. IDS is highly robust and reliable, and needs very little attention in the way of maintenance. It’s also very flexible in terms of customising the displays to suit the needs of different productions.”
Today the IDS solution encompasses around 50 locations across the dock10 site, including studios, mezzanine production areas and post-production suites. The installation is overseen from the MCR located in the heart of the dock10 complex. While the items of information displayed for each production do vary, standard items tend to include “the name of the production and director, as well as some graphical items, such as logos, and a clock or timer. We also have the red lights, which indicate that studios or suites are in use, integrated into IDS so that they appear on the screens too,” says Jones. Throughout the ten years the system has been in use to date there have been no serious failures, and when assistance has been required it has been provided swiftly by Densitron Global Business Development Director Reuben Such and his team. “Reuben is extremely responsive and his team has always been quick to react and share information with our engineers. It’s a great relationship,” says Jones.
Underlining its faith in the solution, dock10 took the decision to install IDS emu3 automatic changeover (ACO) units in autumn 2019. The ACOs facilitate a centralised control solution that can manage and monitor every aspect of power performance – from controlling individual outputs to monitoring alerts.
Of the emu3 installation, Jones has remarked: “As a facility that provides campus-wide services to the whole of MediaCityUK, 24-7 resilience and reliability are key to our operation. The ability to monitor in real-time and have clear visibility of equipment ‘states’ and pre-empt potential issues by SNMP and email alarms was also important.”
Now Jones is mulling over a potential upgrade of the IDS system to a later version that would allow for integration with touchscreens and system adjustment via tablets and other mobile devices. “That would definitely give us greater flexibility around the site in the way that we set up and change the displays,” he allows, “but part of the reason that we have not changed the system to date is that it has been so reliable. The kind of issues that would often prompt an upgrade have not occurred. But I think the time is now approaching when we will be looking to upgrade our IDS installation – the flexibility of the latest versions is appealing.”