Intercom systems – the ‘Formula One’ in professional and industrial point-to-point communication – ensure exceedingly reliable voice and video connections where telecom technology reaches its limits. With VirtuoSIS®, Austrian-based global Intercom market leader Commend introduces the world’s first and only alternative to the traditional way of processing these connections.
Instead of the usual hardware-based intercom servers, VirtuoSIS® offers a purely software-based option, powered by latest “virtual server” technology as found in a growing number of data centres and server rooms in mid- to large-sized companies around the world. Following successful trade fair presentations and test installations, VirtuoSIS® today has its official market premiere.
Intercom terminals have many faces, from an emergency help point in the underground, car park or tunnel to a building door terminal or a heavy-duty outdoor communication point on an oil rig. Increasingly equipped with added video support, they all share an essential quality: the reliable promise that they will be there and ready whenever they are needed.
Intercom Server: High-tech ‚switchboard’ for voice and video lines
The central ‚brain’ of modern intercom systems is the Intercom Server – a particularly powerful computer, where all voice, video and data lines converge and their data streams are processed (e.g., ‚cleaned’ of interfering background noise) in real time, and delivered to the intended target terminal in crystal clarity. Thanks to built-in networking capabilities it doesn’t matter if that terminal is in the next-door office or on the other side of the planet.
Next to computing power (large-scale intercom systems may consist of up to several thousand interconnected terminals and controls), protection against possible failure is the number one requirement of an intercom system.
Up until now, these tasks of the intercom server as a central ‚communication hub’ used to be performed exclusively by specially designed, powerful server computers.
VirtuoSIS®: From Hardware to Software
With VirtuoSIS®, Commend for the first time offers a ground-breaking alternative worldwide.
With ‚virtual machine’ technology, the IT industry has provided the possibility of packing the full range of functions of a physical server computer (‚machine’) into a special software (‚virtual computer’). The key advantage to this is that instead of operating several individual hardware servers, operators can now run several of these virtual server ‚machines’ in a cost and space saving fashion on a single, extra-powerful physical server. Investing in the required top-notch IT infrastructures pays off, especially for mid-sized and large-sized firms that often operate entire ‚server farms’ of hundreds and more servers to keep their operation going.
VirtuoSIS® is the world’s first ever ‚virtual’ (i.e., software-based) intercom server, and as such is capable of harnessing the benefits of virtual server technology for intercom systems. Apart from the cost and space saving effects, it is the provided fail safety that makes VirtuoSIS® stand out. „Virtual server environments are necessarily on a high technical level to start with, and they come equipped with very powerful mechanisms to prevent failures or downtimes,“ explains Johannes Helminger, Product Manager at Commend. „These are just the features that define an efficient intercom server – and the qualities that our customers have come to expect in any Commend system.“
Fail safety features of the most popular providers of virtual machine software come under various different brand names, such as “High Availability” or “Fault Tolerance”. In the worst case, a failed server will only cause a few seconds of downtime with lower-level failure protection. If maximum-level fail safety is applied, on-going intercom conversations can be carried on without any interruptions at all.
‚Baptism of fire’ passed with flying colours
The market premiere of VirtuoSIS® was preceded by extensive practical tests under extremely tough conditions, at places such as the steelworks of German specialist Mannstaedt GmbH near Cologne, for example. To control their facilities and equipment, operations like Mannstaedt’s run hundreds of servers, making server virtualisation an economic necessity. At the same time, they provide excellent conditions for the new VirtuoSIS® server, which transforms the virtual server environment’s high fail safety perfectly into the required high availability and data security of the on-site intercom solution. Tests were performed in various locations, such as amidst the industrial facilities with their extreme heat and noise, constant heavy-duty use, huge data volumes, and extremely exacting demands on fail safety and precision in establishing call connections. ”We couldn’t have wished for better testing conditions,” says product manager Johannes Helminger with a smile. And the results couldn’t be better either, with VirtuoSIS® passing the real-life test with top marks every day, as Mannstaedt keeps assuring Helminger and his team. Click here to view the news release "Software Intercom Server passes its baptism of fire with flying colours".
VirtuoSIS® will be available worldwide from the beginning of July and can be obtained through Commend’s local distribution partners.
Commend develops and manufactures Security and Communication systems for protection of people, buildings and values. The Commend International GmbH was founded in 1971 and is one of the world’s largest providers of Intercom Systems.
Currently about 150 employees are stationed in the headquarters in Salzburg; in the international partner network about 350 people are working together. The annual turnover 2012 was about €55 Mill., export rate 95%.
Rescue forces, fire brigade, police and other security facilities rely on the dependability of this Salzburg Company as well as hospitals and nursing homes. Terminals, modules and stations from Commend for integration of speech, image and data can also be found in control rooms of the German automobile industry, in emergency call systems of subways, such as the London Underground, in many buildings for control of barriers and lifts and increase security on parking lots, parking garages and tunnels. Commend products and solutions are long term investments, because they can be expanded and upgraded.
Tel.: +43 662 856225272