BroadcastProME Opinion Satellite

Beaming Entertainment to Rigs

Eleuterio Fernandes explains, in an exclusive interview with SatellitePro ME, how Exterity has worked with several oil and gas clientele to provide end-to-end IPTV and satellite solutions

IMG_9689Offshore oil rigs require complex satellite solutions that need to be robust, always online and work to perform a slew of different operations. Besides communications, oil rigs need to provide entertainment to their staff. This can be delivered through customised solutions, where TV and radio signals not only boost crew morale, but help them feel connected with the world on shore.

Exterity provides enterprise IPTV technologies for the secure distribution of live, on-demand and recorded video over IP. It also works organisations in a wide range of industries, including broadcast and media; corporate and finance; government and military; healthcare; higher education; hospitality; oil and gas; transport, and venues and stadia.

Exterity has offices in the UK, Dubai, Johannesburg, France, Germany and the US in order to be closer to its customers.

Some of Exterity’s clients include Dubai Airport, King Abdulla Sports City in Jeddah, Jumeriah Group and New York University. Furthermore, it is involved in multiple installations in oil & gas facilities, where its solutions are used as the entertainment system for the on- and offshore teams, to transmit offshore streams to the onshore platform over VSAT and secured links beyond the LAN to remote petrol stations and more.

Eleuterio Fernandes, Sales Director at Exterity says: “Our professional IP video systems are also integrated with Building Management System (BMS) to deliver reports and messages directly on the BMS interface, control systems, digital signage and the fire alarm systems. The low power consumption of our system enables it to be deployed in any environment.”

Oil rigs are usually remote, which impacts the quality of the network and means that satellite is often the only available option. Satellite communications help identify the exact location of a rig, a prerequisite in case of any accident offshore, and can receive communications from satellite content suppliers and deliver it by VSAT communications to transmit the client’s proprietary content. This can include CCTV camera footage or messaging via small dish antennas. Satellite communications are also widely used to deliver TV and radio to staff in an easy, secure and reliable way.

“In our experience, most TV signals delivered to oil rigs come from satellite sources, which our system ingests and turns into IP streams to facilitate the distribution of high quality video around the offshore installation. Re-encoding all content to IP enables us to deliver a larger number of streams directly over the IP network used for email communications and digital signage, ensuring that cabling requirements are kept to a minimum as shipping cables to an oil rig in the middle of the ocean can prove difficult,” says Fernandes.

While satellite plays a key role in enabling communications offshore, it is usually combined with IP to ensure the fast delivery of any type of content to the displays around the rig.

Increased emphasis on enforcing health and safety measures in rigs has also forced offshore installation managers and operations team leaders to find solutions to keep staff up to date with the latest rules and regulations on current drilling zones. Digital signage provides an ideal solution to this challenge as it can deliver live information for crane operators and ballast control operators, whose work must be safe and efficient to avoid impacting other members of the on-site workforce.

According to Fernandes: “Ease of setup and operation is a prime factor for any AV installation deployed in such an environment, which is why professional IP video solutions have become commonplace in this market. A powerful AV system integrating a wide choice of live TV channels and other video services ensures that crews stay connected to the outside world with news and entertainment, while enabling operators to leverage video to deliver notices and training to staff.”

Professional IPTV is becoming more and more commonplace as it easily complements satellite communications to ensure that staff are informed, educated and entertained in real-time, enabling oil and gas camps to run smoothly.

Oil and gas companies are increasingly looking for a full end-to-end IPTV system that is reliable, scalable, secure, robust and based on open protocols to facilitate integration, regardless of the size and specific requirements of the installation.

Fernandes adds: “Increasingly, customers also want the system to integrate with additional AV components such as digital signage in order to distribute video and information messages to any end point. Recently, our customers have also started requesting a professional IP video system that integrates with mobile devices including smartphones and tablets connected over LAN, WAN, Wi-Fi or the Internet, which enables the oil and gas company to deliver live channels, alarm messages, training materials and corporate information to the employee’s portable device.”

In addition, the extreme temperatures that oil rigs suffer from can really affect employees’ motivation. By providing video entertainment to their teams, oil and gas companies can improve camp morale and minimise employee turnover.

“Professional IP video systems can provide a single solution to the challenges that oil and gas team leaders face. Easy to deploy, they sit on top of the existing IP network, making them perfectly suited to supply vessels, crew accommodation and drilling platforms, where space and structural integrity are at a premium.

There are end-to-end IPTV systems, including TVgateways, which capture streams from satellite dish receivers, setup box receivers and beyond. These solutions enable delivery of quality video to any end point, whether a monitor, a smartphone, a tablet or any other screen available.

IPTV utilises existing wired infrastructure and hence is quick to deploy as network operators can integrate an IPTV layer directly with any existing IP network, avoiding additional operations that could disrupt the distribution of data or cause delay in video delivery.

Deployments in oil and gas have shown that these systems can be deployed throughout oil and gas camps and provide visitors and staff with easily accessible entertainment, even in highly remote locations. The IPTV solutions support a large number of international and regional channels and an unlimited number of end points, whether monitor, PCs or mobile devices ensuring people can access content across the base on all devices.

“Our professional IP video system are being used in multiple installations in the oil and gas market, such as BP camps in Azerbaijan and Iraq, Saudi Aramco Yanbu Refinery, Kuwait Gulf Oil company and Saudi Chevron. The Exterity professional IP video system is used to stream live TV channels, including PayTV, training videos delivered to the displays around the oil rig and the onshore offices, as well as CCTV camera footage and to deliver real-time information via digital signage,” concludes Fernandes.