Matrix & Wireless Intercom, VR-360, and Sports Production Communications

by sbrand on January 16, 2018 No comments


VCOM is a software based full conferencing and non-blocking matrix communications system that operates using standard computer and IP network hardware instead of the much more expensive proprietary hardware systems that have been the norm and still enjoy great acceptance.  It is self contained and fully compatible with external systems such as SIP and analog telephone systems, digital and analog audio systems and control stations manufactured by a variety of companies.  VCOM brings a much more cost-effective approach to professional level communications systems while continuing to provide all the expected functionality and in addition all digital IP infrastructure including inherent seamless integration with telephony systems and popular mobile smart phones and tablets.

VCOM System

VCOM™ is an IP-software multi-channel / multi-access communications and tactical conferencing solution for professional and mission critical applications. The solution is highly scalable to thousands of users, supports virtually an unlimited number of channels and conferences, boasts LDAP integration, SNMP traps, AES encryption, point-to-point QoS, CDR, video monitoring, and incorporates geo-positioning technology. VCOM consists of the following core components:

  • VCOM Virtual Matrix / Server: multi-threaded, server-side summing/mixing engine with integrated SIP support;
  • VCOM User Interface: client-side GUI for non-blocking, multi-channel, multi-access critical communications;
  • VCOM Device Interface: software interface to easily bridge disparate communication systems including hardware intercoms, two-way radios, and public/private telephone networks;
  • System Administration Application: administrative user control for dynamic configuration and monitoring of VCOM from any workstation on the network.

Matrix / Server 

The VCOM Virtual Matrix / Server is our platform’s core multi-threaded, server-side summing/mixing engine with integrated SIP support. Our Matrix is highly scalable to thousands of users, supports virtually an unlimited number of point-to-points, group calls, and PLs (aka conference channels), boasts AES-256 encryption, and is fully redundant. An array of User Interfaces (software / hardware / third-party) are available to meet your specific critical communications requirements. Harness the power of a VCOM Matrix on your private LAN/WAN or choose from one of our turnkey Cloud Solutions.

Key System Requirements and Features:

  • Server Hardware: i5 2400 @ 3.1Ghz (or greater depending on system size)
  • Server OS: Windows 7, 8, Server 2012 (recommended)
  • Network: 100BaseT Connection
  • Firewall: TCP Data / UDP Audio port 1000 (configurable)
  • Virtual Matrix Operation: run as an application or service in the background
  • Encryption: AES-128, 256, FIPS 140-2 Certified
  • Audio Sample Rate: configurable — 8 KHz, 16 KHz, 32 KHz
  • Codec: configurable —  low / high compression, no codec
  • Failover: Clients immediately login to secondary server if connection to primary is lost
  • SIP: fully functional, integrated SIP registrar / server

VCOM GUI Options 

VCOM User Interfaces are available for all major platforms — PC’s, Tablet PC’s, Macs, iOS and Android — and provide point-and-click control for establishing talk and/or listen voice paths. Multiple group and individual voice paths can be established simultaneously and multiple conferences can be accommodated in any complexity. Users may talk and/or listen in a single conference or multiple conferences, in any combination and in any sequence. All basic paths are set up in advance and are “always on” for instant multiple channel access for talking and monitoring.

Key VCOM User Interface Features

  • Full multi channel / multi access, non-blocking point-and-click communications with virtually unlimited Point-to-Points (private channel between any two operators), Group Calls (one caller to many listeners), and PLs (group conferences or “Hoots”)
  • Selectors (keys) can be configured for Talk, Listen, or Talk/Listen
  • Selectors dynamically indicate the state of the associated channel -> offline (gray), online (green and/or red), actuated (bright green and/or red), channel activity (color oscillates), incoming call (fast flash), device active tally (slow flash), in-use tally (slow double flash)
  • Selectors can be programmed for latch mode, momentary mode, or both
  • Dynamic “Answer Back” selectors indicate incoming calls from clients for whom a dedicated key is not programmed
  • ISO allows for private communications between users
  • Patching/Dispatch function enables users to add/remove 4-wire or SIP ports from PLs
  • Individual selector volumes can be adjusted by +/- 18dB in 6dB increments
  • Onscreen dial-pad for initiating out going calls and caller-ID on selectors for incoming calls via phone / phone system interface

Sports Production Applications

Live Sports Production is very communications intensive.  Multiple voice channels as well as many audio program listen and IFB talk path selections must be made very quickly, often from multiple locations some being located away from the primary control point (generally in a mobile production trailer).  These include but are not limited to office trailers, additional support trailers and trucks, spotter’s booths, press box, and additional remote facilities, even in an executive’s home or hotel room.  The communications system also must be seamlessly connected with the broadcaster’s fixed location system as well as both internal and external telephone networks.

By using VCOM all of these capabilities can be seamlessly integrated into one overall system also allowing full duplex communications which eliminates the need for push to talk operation for operators who have their hands busy doing other things!  Push to talk is always available where privacy is necessary.  In addition to integrating all aspects of internal communications outside communications with the public telephone network and audio feeds to the press and is also as easy as programming the VCOM system.  The unique ability of VCOM to integrate all of the existing systems simplifies operator control hardware, instead of multiple devices all controls and audio are easily handled on one device including push to talk walkie-talkie control.  This capability can also be located anywhere one can obtain internet data, practically everywhere.  Someone at home or in a hotel room can have full access on a smartphone or tablet.  Personnel costs are lowered, fewer people can install, maintain, and operate one system compared to several.

This flexibility along with high speed internet based data connections has helped lead the industry toward more coordination being done away from the remote venue in order to reduce personnel and travel costs and allow faster set up and take down, again saving money.  Current systems, which often include VCOM (VLink as implemented by RTS), are now common.  However, one thing that limits the ability to control events form the studio is the lack of realism available to production people located away from the production venue.  VCOM VR can now allow that by using the latest techniques to leverage the capacity of data connections and the dropping price of Virtual Reality hardware and software.

VCOM Virtual Reality

VCOM VR brings together voice communications, audio monitoring, live and still video, data display, and Geo-Location (real map display), into one signal displayed on either VR Goggles or a pan-able 360 flat panel display.  Now remote personnel can feel in the action while not having to be there, they can be “there without being there”.  Of course there will always be a need to have some personnel to be at the venue but I some producers, support personnel and executives can be wherever they may be and still actively participate.  In addition the same data that is feeding the remote personnel can also be released to the public for a truly immersive watching experience.  Imagine being able to see and hear the game such that one would be simulating the experience of a sportscaster or camera operator on the side-lines of a football game!  Standing by the net for tennis?  Walking down the fairway of a golf course?  In auto racing there are already cameras in race cars, so a driver’s view in VR?  360 cameras are now very small and inexpensive and are easily affixed to headgear already similar to that being worn.  They are light enough to be mounted on top of headsets and many have self-continued microphones.

Each viewer would be able to select his/her own experience based on what listen keys are activated and what capabilities are programmed by the system administrator.  Of course only production personnel would be programmed such that they were able to listen or talk to other production personnel but the ability to listen to multiple audio sources and perhaps to speak live with someone at the venue could offer exciting possibilities for serous fans, capabilities that would be like a video game that is actually not a game but a real event.  The VCOM VR system can be the final missing element in bringing the game to the operator wherever that operator may be.

read more
sbrandMatrix & Wireless Intercom, VR-360, and Sports Production Communications

Aerospace Communications Applications Using VCOM Matrix Intercom (Part 4)

by Fred Urrutia on July 1, 2015 No comments

Another installment in a series about how VCOM is used for aerospace communications applications.

NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, July 2015)

NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project) sends groups of astronauts, engineers and scientists to live in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station, for up to three weeks at a time. Aquarius is operated by Florida International University (FIU) and located 3.5 miles off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary where it is deployed next to deep coral reefs 62 feet below the surface. During NEEMO missions the aquanauts are able to simulate living on a spacecraft and test spacewalk techniques for future space missions.

The July 2015 mission will test time delays in communications using VCOM to simulate delays due to the distance of potential mission destinations.

A NEEMO 14 aquanaut practices shoveling underwater, just as an astronaut would shovel to collect soil samples on another planet; Photo credit: NASA; Source:


A NEEMO 14 aquanaut practices shoveling underwater, just as an astronaut would shovel to collect soil samples on another planet; Photo credit: NASA; Source:

VCOM in Aerospace Applications NEEMO 16 aquanauts Kimiya Yui and Tim Peake pose with their support diver and astronaut Mike Gernhardt in the DeepWorker single-person submarine; Photo credit: NASA; Source:

Contact Intracom Systems to learn more about how VCOM can be used in your own aerospace applications.

Fred Urrutia +1 518-391-9023

read more
Fred UrrutiaAerospace Communications Applications Using VCOM Matrix Intercom (Part 4)

Intracom teams with Inmarsat to offer Cloud Based PTT Services and Matrix Intercom over Satellite

by sbrand on June 2, 2015 No comments

Intracom teams with Inmarsat

VCOM Cloud, from Intracom Systems, LLC, turns any PC, laptop or smartphone into a secure, multi-channel push-to-talk device. The solution extends land radio or satcom communications to any compatible laptop or smartphone as an easy-to-use cloud-based solution. Moreover, phones lines can be brought into VCOM via SIP enabling dial-in / dial-out capabilities to private and public phone networks.    Intracom immarsat

As workforces become more complex, so too do their communication needs. The ability to instantly speak to one or several of your personnel at the touch of a button can streamline decision-making, increase operational efficiency, and improve safety. VCOM Cloud is a software IP-based multichannel solution that can transform any Mac, PC, tablet or smartphone into a pushto- talk (PTT) device. Extremely scalable, VCOM Cloud can support a virtually infinite number of securely encrypted channels and conferences, so your entire workforce can communicate. It is highly interoperable, so your existing PTT solutions can be integrated into VCOM Cloud quickly and easily, even if you have multiple different PTT networks. The software allows rapid reconfiguration of your network, setting up communications groups and individual conferences at the touch of a button through its intuitive and easy-to-use administration interface. Designed for mission-critical communications, VCOM Cloud’s resilient network setup means that should the master server fail, a backup can immediately be initiated, and communications re-established in seconds.

Using VCOM Cloud together with Inmarsat’s global 3G IP network means that you can implement reliable, secure push-to-talk connectivity no matter where your business operates, even in areas where cellular and radio connectivity can’t reach, thanks to Inmarsat’s 99.9% network availability over its satellite and ground network. Through its Certified Application Partner programme, Inmarsat has certified VCOM Cloud as Inmarsat-ready. If you’re looking

to leverage the reliable global reach of Inmarsat’s award-winning satellite network to provide instant communications for your workforce, VCOM Cloud is ideal. VCOM Cloud has been certified for use over the following Inmarsat services:    BGAN  and  FleetBroadband

Usage scenarios

  • Oil & Gas’ – HQ can easily communicate between offshore rigs and onshore field teams
  • Mining – communicate between camps and with personnel in the same camp
  • Aid – first responders use PTT to coordinate between ground teams and HQ
  • Utilities – provide field engineering and maintenance teams with reliable communications
  • Media – use PTT to coordinate with technicians for on-the-ground broadcasting

Inmarsat coverage

VCOM Cloud is supported by Inmarsat’s global L-Band network coverage, ensuring reliable access to critical data from remote sites anywhere in the world.

vcom immersat coverage



read more
sbrandIntracom teams with Inmarsat to offer Cloud Based PTT Services and Matrix Intercom over Satellite


by Fred Urrutia on May 21, 2015 No comments

Communications Systems or “Matrix Intercoms” used in the Broadcast Television industry have traditionally been hardware-centric. These systems rely on signal specific circuit cards, circuit card frames and frame interconnection methods.

Now broadcasters are able to bring their communication and intercom systems into the future with the VCOM Virtual Communications platform. VCOM eliminates the need for frames, circuit cards and scales to thousands of users while supporting virtually an unlimited number of point-to-points, group calls, and Party Lines (“PLs” for conference channels).

VCOM is software based, completely virtual, fully configurable and redundant capable. The System can run on anything from the smallest notebook PC to the largest of professional business class servers. Moreover, IntraCom’s own selection of hardware Touchpanels is complemented by the largest selection of compatible user interfaces of any communications system on the market.

With VCOM Cloud Services, for the first time ever, traditional communications systems can be replaced or augmented with cloud based communication infrastructure. Use the VCOM Cloud as a stand-alone system without having to provide your own communication systems infrastructure, or interface communications from disparate locations thru the VCOM Cloud to a local VCOM or traditional communication systems.

The VCOM Software GUI runs on any Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device, breaking wide open the possibilities of providing user interfaces catered to any broadcast client.

VCOM’s compact matrix profile and user interface possibilities just begin to describe the striking differences between VCOM and traditional broadcast communications systems. VCOM is also compatible, and in some cases intelligently interoperable, with existing hardware based systems. This allows Broadcasters to install both new, stand-alone VCOM Systems, or add VCOM to their existing intercom systems to “bridge” current and future user interfaces and signal transports. Using VCOM’s integrated SIP server and / or device interface software, customers can readily connect SIP, MADI, DANTE, VOIP, ROIP, analog, two-wire, four-wire, and traditional wireless systems.

VCOM can also bring access to two-way radio systems to VCOM platform users, saving cost for radios, maintenance and repeaters and can also patch radios together into talk groups.

The advent of the VCOM Virtual Communications and intercom platform has already opened the eyes and minds of many major broadcasters, and the applicability of this unique system to any new or existing communications environment literally creates new ways of doing business every day.

VCOM has been used by major broadcasters for communications in News, Sports, and Entertainment programming. Some of the ways Broadcasters can use VCOM include:

  • Coordinating the logistics and technical quality for distribution of broadcast content;
  • Providing control room to remote studio communications;
  • Enabling remote producer communications to home base;
  • Local edit room communications;
  • Replacement of analog intercom telephone interfaces with VCOM acting as a SIP interface server;
  • VCOM on Handhelds and iPak for studio wireless communications and belt-pack applications;
  • SmartMic conference talk-back systems for use in studio audience talk shows.



Mini Case Study: EBU Eurovision (Geneva, Switzerland) 

The broadcasting operational world is mostly based on communicating. For that reason, EBU has always distinguished itself from the competition by choosing a system of communication dedicated solely for their member stations; namely an EMEA consortium of 175 broadcasters coordinating all satellite newsfeed uploads (and DSNG feeds) from every world capital city and any remote news, sports and entertainment events to their Geneva NOC/MCR operations.

Two 20 year old Drake systems used for NCC (News Coordination Circuit) and TCC (Technical Coordination Circuit) required a renewal. The Drake conference system was installed to allow Engineers at NOC to communicate with the EBU members and people located at remote special events. Conferences were over an analog system interconnecting bidirectional analog lines between EBU NOC/MCR and each member using a Private network connection. That analog system was no longer supported by the service provider and apt to fail at any time, so EBU was seeking an alternative solution. They engaged Sofnisys, an Intracom-certified VCOM system design and integration partner located in Geneva, Switzerland


  • Replace existing Drake hardware-based intercom/conference gear and Motorola gateway that was no longer supported
  • Migrate the entire system without changing the member’s hardware
  • Implement new intercom without system interruption
  • Offer NOC engineers a new way to communicate
  • Augment prior communications by adding new mobile technologies
  • Connect more customers to/from and between private and public Internet
  • Increase overall system reliability for more secure 24/7/365 operations
  • Fully integrate new solution with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager & PBX)
  • Integrate IFB capabilities into the new system solution
  • Provide ad hoc, multi-user conferencing connections via “2 clicks”


  • Replaced prior system with VCOM Virtual Matrix Server (mixing/summing engine) connecting users into a virtual matrix via
    • VCOM Control Panels (PCs, Macs, smart phones, tablets, etc.)
    • External audio connections via VCOM Device Interface to legacy intercoms, two-way radios, etc.).
    • SIP connectivity for direct access to VoIP & PSTN telephony from their control panel via Cisco CUCM
    • Mapped two-way radios into VCOM system to be accessible from any user
    • Connect IFB into VCOM system
    • Provide instant patching of telephones and radios to each other and user groups
  • Shifted from analog, private circuits connecting fixed HW devices to both private and public IP connections
    • Reduced cost (no more leased lines)
    • Higher quality audio
    • Greater reliability and security
    • New flexibility (can connect to anyone to anyone with any IP connection, including mobile devices)

Member stations can instantly open talk paths to NOC/MCR via party lines and/or point-to-point connections and also have 10 private conference lines for discussions that do not require NCO/MCR participation. The number of individual users and party lines is virtually unlimited.

For satellite uplink control and coordination, they use VCOM “PL Assignment Mode” to dynamically assign remote SIP-based terminal devices to a bank of 8 human coordinators to balance their respective workload on the fly.

PL Assignment function is also used for very rapid, two-way radio interconnect (“patching”) between any radio users anywhere in the world to other radios and all can be made accessible to any users, groups, smart devices, computers and external systems (VoIP, PSTN, etc.).

Today VCOM is used in all majors EBU events coverage (Champions League, Europa League, NBA, elections, World Cup, Olympic Events, Formula 1, GP Moto, Cycling) and news gathering.  They recently used VCOM at the Davos World Economic Forum to connect two-way radios, mobile smart phones/tablets and PSTN lines together, including some Skype users, and also connected local IFB into one cohesive matrix intercom with full control of interoperability.

For remote coverage, personnel can hand-carry portable SIP devices to a job site, connect to any available Ethernet to automatically log in to NOC/MCR for a true plug-and-play deployment.

intercom vcom


intercom vcom

Eurovision use of VCOM:





  • Turner Broadcasting & Turner Studios: Using VCOM for connecting Telex matrix intercom frames between New York City, Atlanta and other sites with added IP access and for remote operations at sporting events, such as between NBA-TV, Turner, and CBS Sports; using VLINK (RTS Telex version of VCOM with RTS proprietary, intelligent-trunked connections) and expanding their existing VCOM systems to include remote broadcast trucks and adding SIP telephone connections.
  • NBC Universal: Use VCOM for live productions comms within NYC studios; created iOS-based belt-packs for wireless coverage via Wi-Fi including elections coverage analysis desk and other applications. Expanding their use of VCOM by building it into the basic comms architecture of many new production studios and replacing legacy telephone hybrid interfaces with SIP connectivity to VCOM server

NBC Universal Studio Wireless Intercom App Using Intracom iPakTM

intercom vcom


intercom vcom



Click here to see Pacific Interactive TIF/SIP Tally Studio Control System

  • BBC News: World Cup coverage, National Elections, etc., via own server and VCOM cloud services. This news facility has a permanent VCOM installation and also periodically rents cloud hosted ports for events coverage needing additional users. In November 2014 they reported “ …using system in US for Mid-terms [elections] mainly as comms to people out and about but also to deliver clean feed to those teams from London.” In April and May 2015 they used VCOM similarly for covering the UK elections. Following the 2014 World Cup events in Brazil, where BBC News used VCOM for roaming coverage at Copacabana Beach, they reported, “VCOM has been doing sterling work here for us.  Working really well with our wireless IP Camera backs. It’s being doing such good work we are trying to integrate it further with our existing old school [name redacted] boxes.”
  • iTV Sport (London): used VCOM for 2014 World Cup coverage, similar BBC News and CNNI.
  • CNN International: VCOM used for remote events coverage, example below is from 2012:

intercom vcom

  • ESPN: Multiple World Cup games coverage; also used for X Games (extreme sports), and other sports events, transmission communications and broadcast coordination, depicted below.


South Africa Broadcasting Corp:
SABC used VCOM for interconnecting intercom systems for 2010 World Cup from several different manufacturers (Prospect Electronics, Bosch/RTS/Telex, ClearCom, and Riedel) at seven different sites in-country, including IBC, SCC, MCR, and four remote venues, while adding additional remote connectivity to those existing systems. They have since increased their VCOM system size for remote coverage of extraordinary events, such as municipal and national elections, overseas news coverage, etc., and also in remote broadcast trucks.

SABC Use of VCOM Intercom:
On the next page is a drawing of how SABC interconnected the respective matrices into a cohesive system. SCC was at Convention Center running Riedel matrix frame; MCR used ClearCom & Drake; IBC was Host Broadcaster build out that used ClearCom and/or Prospect; DSNG1 and DSNG2 used 3G/cellular for fixed mobile operation; PVE1 and PVE2 used ClearCom Eclipse matrix.

intercom vcom

  • Aquavision / National Geographic WILD: Live broadcast at night to observe if Great White Sharks would attack humans swimming. Produced from diving boat platform located at reef 6 km offshore (Aliwal Shoal, South Africa), underwater IFB, on-boat coord, on-shore (local MCR) and US MCR using Wi-Fi/wired/satellite links.
  • TV2 (Denmark): 50 remote journalists worldwide connect to ClearCom frames at MCR in Copenhagen via VCOM using laptops, iOS and Android devices from live events anywhere in the world.
  • CBS Sports: private VPN to Broadcast Center for coord and remote access from broadcast trucks at events, also for auxiliary cameras comms for major events, i.e., NCAA March Madness coverage.
  • Microsoft: Production, edit suites, remote operations and global event coordination using VLINK (Bosch RTS Telex version of VCOM):

intercom vcom

For more information about these applications or to explore VCOM for your own matrix intercom application needs, please contact Intracom Systems, LLC

read more