European Space Agency

The Lift Channel

Objectives

The IHT Lift Channel system enables multimedia clips for any purpose to be assembled and then simultaneously transmitted via satellite to any number of remote locations across Europe. The content, distributed via satellite, is then presented on screens within the client building. This may include a lift compartment. Any kind of media can be displayed from moving video with audio, to still pictures and graphics.

The system can be used for advertising purposes and many different applications such as information sharing, the provision of safety information and topical news relevant to a particular organisation.

Challenges

The key issues to be addressed in the project are:



  • Content generation, delivery and management.

  • Satellite distribution to remote sites.

  • Software creation to allow the application run.

  • Hardware to support the applications in lifts and other sites.

  • Commercial viability of the application.

  • Commercial relationships between stakeholders

Benefits

The main benefits to the stakeholders will be:



  • Satellite distribution to provide international functionality

  • New advertising and information distribution channel

  • Remote generation and playout of content for customers

  • Highly targeted audiences in destination sites

  • Enhanced functionality within lift cars

  • Competitive pricing structures

  • Enhanced functionality within lift cars

  • Easy configuration and control of content

  • Interoperability with existing systems (leverage from developments in hardware, software and distribution).

  • New business opportunities throughout Europe for stakeholders

Features








The diagram (right) shows the overall system block diagram of the IHT Lift Channel system. For clarity the Central Location is shown together with one remote location.


click for larger image


The system has been trialed in three locations and it enabled multimedia clips for different purposes to be assembled and then transmitted via satellite to the remote locations for playout. The remote sites then played-out multimedia clips to local display devices.

Play-out prioritisation and scheduling is a combination of centrally formulated play-lists and local events. The content exits the remote playout server and is sent via wired or wireless connection to the display unit. This may be located in a moving lift carriage where the video and audio are fed directly into a display device with audio capability to suit the deployment.

The term multimedia is used here to describe broadcast quality audio & video and, or, a combination of still and dynamic graphics. Almost any content type can be used on the system with any required re-authoring possible within the central location. As well as advertising purposes there are many different applications such as information sharing, safety information and topical news relevant to a particular organisation.

Plan

The project plan can be summarised best by the following tasks:



  • Identification of possible partners and stakeholders

  • Investigation of all technical issues relating to the pilot deployment,

  • Freezing of system specification,

  • Development of software solution

  • Development of system hardware solution

  • Set up system validation in IHT and DV4 premises to verify operation

  • Operation of pilot in three locations. Trials in pilot sites will continue in operation albeit with locally provided content to ensure the operational integrity of the system,

  • Collation of pilot feedback,

  • Updating of SAD, SVD and CFA documents to reflect findings,

  • System design frozen,

  • System verification tests,

  • Pre-launch marketing activities,

  • Final Review with ESA

  • Commercialisation

Current status

The Lift Channel is continuing in trial mode now with trials ongoing at DAON Ltd premises and NCI in Dublin. In addition, Eurotek is co-operating with IHT and DV4 to carry out trials at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin.

The tests at the trial sites will enable IHT and DV4 to gain experience of deploying and operating the system before plans can be made for a commercial exploitation of the Lift Channel system. The tests results should help remove any technical difficulties and help in the design of a marketing strategy.
User feedback will also be valuable in this, as it will provide a first-hand opinion on desired content and facilities.

In addition DV4 will continue to work on improving the web interface. The final review of the project was held in early July in ESTEC with ESA and the project is considered a success.

Status date

Friday, June 20, 2008 - 12:41