A positive experience with an OEM product using Merging’s ZMAN as the RAVENNA/AES67 connectivity led to NEP’s Michael Saliba researching the MERGING+ANUBIS for a possible native IP commentary unit solution. What he saw was a neat-looking touch screen device with a small desktop footprint that seemed to have some features already that might be helpful for a commentator or announcer to use. The loan of a unit confirmed that it did have enough functionality in the Monitor Mission product for rudimentary operation but with some adaptation, it would provide the sort of ST2110 and NMOS compatibility that other commentary units lacked.
Another big advantage was the full functionality and control within Anubis, such as on-board dynamics, equalization, and the ability to trigger the dim function, thus removing the need to route the commentary through other hardware such as audio consoles or intercom systems. Not only was Anubis suited to this environment, but it was also a product that had been in use for some years at the NEP Group’s facility. This meant that the stability of the unit could be verified, and some software had been developed to integrate Anubis into the NEP network.
An approach to Merging with a detailed product proposal led to the development of a beta version that ticked almost all the boxes. The incentive to complete the project and deliver sufficient units in time for the Australian Open Tennis was too good an opportunity to miss.
The tight schedule leading up to the Australian Open Tennis meant that the proposed introduction of the Anubis commentary units could not be discussed with the client until late in the day. There were alternatives on offer, but the demonstration was convincing enough to gain approval to use them in locations close to the engineering support team to aid training. In practice, the units were easy enough to operate for the commentators to feel comfortable rather quickly.
Michael Saliba is a leading Audio and Communications Engineer with over twenty years’ experience of working at NEP and has been very much at the forefront of the pioneering needed to get a native 2110 IP facility to deliver on its promise. “We work closely with many of our suppliers to modify products to meet our project specifications and often find ourselves innovating and creating new products. Merging were willing to listen and very responsive. What they produced as a beta version was very near to being broadcast-ready and required only minor adjustments. One of the huge advantages for me has been the web UI that allows remote access to the Anubis. This is so important these days as we are often in a different state from the commentary positions. The potential for additional features and its inherent flexibility can take it far beyond what it offers today, and we are continuing to develop those ideas with Merging.”
Since the Australian Open Tennis finished, the commentary units are now being deployed on the pre-season football games with a complete roll out planned to upgrade all NEP Australia’s native IP facilities by the end of 2022
Dominique Brulhart, Merging’s Head of Software who worked with Michael Saliba on the project added; “It has been a real pleasure to work with Michael and his team who gave us a truly excellent product definition and explained the requirements of a commentary unit that was fit for purpose in a networked environment. The fact that Anubis has already been used on these prestigious sporting events is a huge vote of confidence for us. We are looking forward to realising other unique features driven by their experience and vision for the future.”
The plan for the commercial launch of the MERGING+ANUBIS Commentary Mission is planned to coincide with the NAB Show in April 2022.