What if you had pioneered at-home TV broadcast 10+ years before the pandemic? Integrated media services company Azzurro HD did. Their innovation continues to put high-performance TV studios into the basements and living rooms of sports and news anchors and analysts.
In 2020, TV viewers everywhere got a glimpse into the challenges of remote broadcasting as TV networks were forced to produce shows directly from their homes. Pictures were fuzzy and split-screen conversations were not always in sync—an experience all too familiar for those using video conferencing tools with home internet services. But when it comes to high profile, national broadcast, dips in service quality are not tolerated.
These are the issues that CEO Francis Luperella solved back in 2011. Azzurro released “AzzurroCam,” a self-contained camera system delivering highquality broadcast signals required for live, on-air interviews created outside of a professional studio. Using a custom user interface, the network has full remote control over the camera, audio, lighting, and digital backdrop. Today, AzzurroCam is a no brainer for at-home broadcasting, and the demand for Azzurro’s products and transmission services has skyrocketed.
“Masergy gives us the lowest possible latency you can get on the market today, and that’s one of the biggest reasons clients rely on us.”
In addition to robotic camera equipment and TV encoding services provided by Haivision, the IP infrastructure is what makes AzzurroCam a solid solution. Azzurro’s network enables the highest quality TV signal transmission, and it’s here where Masergy enters the story.
A large portion of Azzurro’s infrastructure is composed of Masergy’s SDnetwork with private, QoS-defined services configured for high availability. This means AzzurroCam systems in the field can transmit high-definition signals backed by industry-leading service level agreements including 100% in-sequence packet delivery and less than 1 millisecond of jitter. That high performance makes Azzurro HD a trusted partner in the eyes of TV clients.
“Masergy gives us the lowest possible latency you can get on the market today, and that’s one of the biggest reasons clients rely on us. There is very minimal delay, so you can have a long, live TV conversation in high definition,” said Luperella, explaining the criticality of service uptime. “Our business is not about streaming TV shows and it’s not about video conferencing at it’s best. This is live, real-time TV broadcasting for big-name networks.”
Luperella and his team’s forward-leaning vision in remote work spawned early investments in cloud and virtual technologies. That is when the company produced the more nimble version of AzzurroCam, packaging it with simple setup instructions in a hard-case rolling rack for easy transport. “All the news analyst needs to do is sit in their chair and put on a microphone and earpiece—from the lighting to the digital backgrounds and transmission service—all of that is done remotely. Our cloud network platform makes it easier to tee up the shot, because the solution is designed to work anywhere in the world with each support person focused on what they do best,” said Luperella.
Camera systems can be co-managed by the client and Azzurro. Meanwhile, both Azzurro and Masergy actively monitor the network service. This redundancy is key. Using Masergy’s unified management portal, Azzurro can see real-time performance metrics and control bandwidth in an instant. To keep Azzurro focused on clients, Masergy manages internet services as well as firewall monitoring and threat response. “Masergy has been a part of our company since inception, and we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with all-in-one turnkey service,” explained John Bonaccorso, Vice President of Operations.
Azzurro is also forging the future with ultra highdefinition broadcast. Also known as 4K, ultra high-def is eclipsing previous signal quality with a visual experience four times better. But next-gen formats require more bandwidth, and again the network provides the IT agility necessary for innovation. “We’re building camera systems that can deliver broadcast quality 4K video directly from a home studio, so the ability to segregate network traffic on a different tier is key,” said Bonaccorso. “When we need more throughput and bandwidth, we simply turn it up. The Masergy network is highly responsive.”
“We will always aim to deliver the most pristine broadcasting service possible, and Masergy is our partner in making that a reality.”
When it comes to high-profile events, there is no room for failure, and network visibility and control are the secrets to success. On these days, Masergy flags corresponding circuits, delaying any scheduled routine maintenance and automatically escalating issues if they arise. “That’s the kind of attention you can’t find with big carriers and the reason our events air flawlessly,” said Luperella. “We will always aim to deliver the most pristine broadcasting service possible, and Masergy is our partner in making that a reality.”
Sports leagues were the early adopters of high-definition and remote broadcasting, which has established Azzurro as the leading provider. Now, as every TV network needs to go remote, they are looking to the sports leagues. So, it’s no surprise that Azzurro has experienced explosive growth. The company has nowhere to go but up.
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