Perhaps because it is an employee-owned company, or because it is committed to being a good citizen within the larger industry, Artel is dedicated to being responsive to customers’ requirements — and a contributor to their success, as well.
This is why the engineering department at Artel is the company’s largest team, responsible for developing the features and functionality that address new and evolving market needs.
“Across product management, product marketing, and engineering, we stay on top of reports by analysts and from standards bodies, as well as social media, press releases, and other announcements that give us a fresh perspective on changing market conditions and requirements,” says Richard Bell, vice president of engineering at Artel.
“We field direct requests from existing customers and then determine if those ideas are feasible and aligned with our corporate strategy. Our engineers also bring organic creativity to the equation, recognizing new possibilities even as they are in the process of developing other well-defined features and functions. We share and discuss our insights, all with the goal of supporting our customers and the industry.”
This philosophy behind product development has resulted in multiple Technology Engineering Emmy awards.
While all Artel products are designed to provide both operational simplicity and reliable performance to mission-critical applications, ongoing development is driven by changing user requirements. Right now, that means engineering has increased its focus on newer IP-based solutions, even as it continues to refine the fiber systems that continue to be a popular choice for infrastructure. In addition to responding to requests for specific functions or capabilities, the engineering team has also taken on projects that address the worldwide shift to remote work and remote production workflows. The following are just a few examples of the team’s recent work.
Supporting a Super-User With a New Requirement
An Artel super-user, often found themselves needing to extend a 10 gigabit data service – due to a loss of budget – exceeding the specifications of the originating equipment. Knowing the product well and suspecting it might be possible to overcome this challenge with some minor tweaks to an existing product, the customer consulted with Artel engineers to explore the possibility of modifying and using an existing card as a repeater.
The engineering team was able to make enhancements to the card, effectively enabling a new operational mode in which the card serves as a repeater to boost the signal. As a result, the customer was able to stay with a familiar card and trusted vendor, as well as a familiar piece of hardware, without incurring a great deal of extra cost.
Addressing a New Market Need
The massive shift to remote work as a result of the pandemic made video compression more important than ever. Reducing the bandwidth required by video, and particularly HD and UHD content, became essential to reliable delivery over the wide variety of networks — some robust and some not — used for remote work and contribution applications.
Artel’s engineering team responded to this change by introducing compression in the SMART Media Delivery PlatformTM . With SMART’s software-defined functions, users can now easily update or adapt the product in the field to change its “personality.”
Solving a Problem With a Customer-Partner
An Artel customer-partner that supplies audio consoles needed to minimize the noise of an integrated solution incorporating Artel’s Quarra IP switch. Quarra switches are equipped with fans that run continually to ensure the systems stay cool, but this application required a quieter solution. After researching acceptable levels of ambient noise in the audio mixing and recording environment, the Artel engineering team examined different ways to adapt the Quarra switch.
Ultimately, the team replaced existing fans with quieter fans and added an internal software-based control element to regulate fan speed based on environmental conditions. In most cases, the integrated solution is deployed in a controlled environment, which means that the Quarra fans run slowly or are off, generating no noise whatsoever. If for some reason the temperature does rise, the switch self-cools to maintain optimal performance.
Responding to a New Request
Artel was approached by an engineer from a large aeronautics and space research agency that needed a reliable, 4K-capable fiber link to connect numerous 4K cameras installed on a launchpad to monitor and record various aspects of a rocket launch. The agency had boosted its image-capture resolution to enable better evaluation of launches, and capture the “money shot.” The agency asked Artel to modify an existing product — a general-purpose fiber extender — to better support 4K. Artel engineers did some modifications in the lab, talked it through with manufacturing, and put modified systems through rigorous testing making sure the signal-to-noise ratio was good and that the product would carry 4K with no issues. With this all-hands-on-deck response, Artel delivered exactly what the customer needed.
Despite limitations on travel and changes to the way they work, members of Artel’s engineering team continue to enhance the company’s products in both useful and creative ways. With the customer always in mind, they deliver solutions that help Artel customers overcome new challenges and find success.
“Members of our engineering team have decades of experience in the broadcast industry, and many are so passionate about the field that their hobbies are industry-related too,” says Bell. “As a result, they come to every project with a wealth of theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and dedication to finding solutions that benefit our customers and support the broader industry.”