The Integrated Media Server
(one sample configuration with 5 video channels in a 4U rack-mount chassis)
Cutsheet Downloads (all are PDF)
Granite Precision Inc. (about the company)
The Integrated Media Server (description of product)
IMS Modules (audio, video, lighting, animation, serial, ethernet, digital i/o, analog i/o, plc, remote i/o, OCC)
IMS Video (specifications and features of Video)
IMS Audio/Lighting (specifications and features of Audio and Lighting)
IMS Show Control (specifications and features of Show Control Interfaces)
The Granite Precision Integrated Media Server represents a broad re-thinking of how source media is best utilized for fixed and live entertainment venues. The difficulty with using show control to control media devices is that the control and knowledge of what's happening with the media is too limited. Connected devices must communicate via some sort of interface, and that interface is often too slow to accommodate sophisticated show requirements, and the information that is exchanged is limited as well.
In the themed entertainment world, black-box media devices and controllers allow very accurately timed control between each other, but they again lack the integrated and therefore close-tied nature of media to control as with PC-based control and media devices. They also lack the flexibility and inherent built-in advantages that a PC platform gives you.
A PC-based platform on the other hand, does not normally allow the kind of timing accuracy required to make things happen in real-time. Even if your control and media portions have a close-knit relationship, the accuracy is still not there to make things happen exactly when they need to. In the old days with DOS, accurate control was available to the programmer, but in these days of Windows, that accuracy is completely taken away. Therefore, PC-based platforms are almost always shunned for anything but the most simple applications.
The Granite Precision IMS takes the best of both worlds, and combines them seamlessly into one tightly-integrated, hyper-accurate, robust, flexible, and scalable product.
The IMS is designed from the ground up to take advantage of the PC-based platform: the relatively inexpensive, off-the-shelf, hardware; the modularized and extendable nature of the PC; the available mission critical technologies available such as RAID and hot-swappable power supplies; the built-in interfaces for media and media loading; user familiarity with the PC and Windows. However, the IMS utilizes extremely specialized software that works "underneath" Windows to return to the days of DOS, where the programmer can take over the processor, and Windows is allowed to run when it won't affect our time-critical code. Additionally, this code can even keep running if Windows were to crash. We have been working on getting this accuracy and stability exactly right for several years, and now we are pleased to have several patents pending on this new and exciting technology.
This convergence of flexibility and accuracy is only the first step in the chain of what makes the IMS so great and easy to use. We designed it as a platform rather than a specific product with a specific goal in mind. The fundamental core of the IMS is to allow for what hasn't been thought of yet. This allows the product to be completely scalable. It works great and is cost-effective for individual kiosks up to parkwide attraction control and monitoring.
The IMS allows you to control and manipulate an almost limitless array of media and other devices, both in type and in number. Need a few digital outputs? It's not a problem. You can have what you need without paying for hardware that's going to sit there unused. Need a few hundred digital outputs? No problem. Output modules of various densities allow a larger resource count. Need several hundred thousand? Although you can't fit that many digital I/O resources in one IMS, you can certainly connect the IMS to that many digital I/O externally.
Yet with all this sophistication, the IMS is designed to let you start programming right away, and you don't need to know about features that you don't care about. As the need for complexity increases, the commands and abilities that have been sitting dormant are suddenly available, and you can learn as-you-go.
The IMS allows for such a great variety of media devices, all of which can co-exist easily. We support in general:
- Show control
- Human interfaces
All of these disciplines can work together in one cohesive programming interface. All disciplines are utilized by being given a resource name, and and index (example: video:3), and you are limited only by how many resources will fit in one system given the choices of resources.
Because the IMS knows what media devices are in-kind, it knows how to talk and often more importantly, to listen to those devices directly, without an interface in-between, which can become confused itself or allow only limited control and monitoring. No more spending the bulk of your programming time trying to just get your devices to talk. Furthermore, device protocols are modular, and can be imported from past projects. Customers all over the world are beginning to make device protocols available, and the library of public protocols is growing. We not only support serial and ethernet protocols, but even things you don't think of as protocols! If you have a particular good set of functions you like to use to open and close motorized doors for example, that code can be exported and later imported as-if it was a serial device or other protocol-using device.
Granite Precision knows that being rock-solid and hyper-accurate is what's fundamentally required in serious entertainment venues. We're so sold on this concept we named the company after it.
At the same time, we know our customers are real people, and not all of them are programmers. We've all been forced into the digital age, and that includes show designers. We do our best to make our programming software intuitive, simple, and easy to use. We don't try to make it smarter than you are, but we want it to do all the hard work so you don't have to.
So if you're looking for the most cost-effective, space saving, flexible, robust, accurate, and easy-to-use system available, do what we like to say: "Replace a rack or two with an IMS today".