CT Group UK migrates to IP with RTS intercoms

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CT Group – Creative Technology Group – Inside production control room (PCR) or studio control room (SCR). RTS Intercom Systems.

Crawley, UK, Nov 2022 – The UK arm of Creative Technology is moving to an IP-based model
and has upgraded much of its technology to facilitate this. As part of that move, the rental
company has made a large investment in RTS equipment to ensure its intercoms would be IP-

“We’re making a very big investment in IP this year and are looking at the next generation of
signal distribution – we have chosen ST-2110 as a platform for that,” explains Sid Lobb, Head of
Vision and Integrated Networks at Creative Technology. “It’s part of a direction of investment
that is heavily biased towards IP.”

Two key reasons were behind this decision. Firstly, NEP Group’s US operation has a large
inventory of RTS equipment, and secondly the company found its existing RTS solutions to be
extremely flexible when in use during the pandemic lockdowns.

“From our experiences over the pandemic, particularly with large virtual contribution TV shows
and conferences with massive amounts of IFBs and returns and everything else, the Dante
workflow that comes as part of OMNEO* with RTS was a key enabler for us being so flexible in
pulling in lots of virtual contributions,” recalls Lobb. “When we were looking at what we were
going to do during our summer deliveries and what we needed to invest in, RTS came out as a
clear winner in terms of flexibility, and also in terms of group consistency.

“The NEP Group has a massive inventory of RTS kit already; a lot of that is built into facilities,
but there’s also a fair amount – particularly in America – that can be rented out for large events,
allowing us to scale up as needed,” he continues. “What we wanted to do was create a similar
kind of inventory that will be Europe-based, product that can support the rest of the group when
they are delivering large events over here.”

The flexibility inherent in RTS products continues to be a major benefit for Creative Technology.
“We have a number of ODIN matrices and we initially bought them with 16 ports, because we
needed small matrices in different modules,” recalls Lobb. “However, when our requirements
increased, the licensing option made it easy to upgrade from 16 to 32 or 48-ports – all in the

same hardware platform. In addition, there are considerations like additional
redundancy – it’s a direction we’re already taking with both our video and our
audio distribution, and now comms is being interwoven into that, because it’s
such an integral part of every show we do.

“The new Digital Beltpack is a big new thing for us. It can serve as a simple
four-channel beltpack in partyline mode or used as what is essentially a four-
channel matrix panel. It can be connected to a PoE switch allowing up to six to
be daisy-chained together. That functionality in that form factor is really useful.”
Another unique RTS technology that is adding value to CT Group’s workflows is RVON (RTS
Voice Over Network) – a proprietary VoIP technology for RTS intercoms that uses standard
Ethernet, allowing users to communicate globally over the public internet with no distance
limitations or latency issues.

“We hadn’t used RVON (RTS Voice Over Network) very heavily in the past, but recently it has
been a real problem-solver, and very simple to work with, adds CT Group’s Dallas McIntosh.
“There were issues with the network at a recent location meaning that we didn’t have enough
ports available to work with OMNEO and then I remembered that I had 16 channels I could use
on a matrix equipped with RVON cards. That was a real eye-opener and I’m a real advocate of
RVON now.”

The first major use for the new investment came with a large multi-sport event that took place
over the summer in Birmingham. “We provided an ST-2110-based IP infrastructure for all signal
distribution,” says Lobb. “This is something that we’ve been investing in for a while now and we
were looking for a comms system that could piggyback onto that infrastructure and investment.
The fact that we can now link together all the different nodes around a venue and have matrix-
level comms interfacing with the broadcast is really important to us. We designed an ST-2110
network that we had full control over and transported most of the media requirements around

With a successful first use, Lobb is clearly satisfied with the investment that has been made.
“It’s the flexible ecosystem that’s so useful to us in rental. It’s the different form-factors, it’s the
four-channel beltpack, it’s the 1U 16 panels, the 2U 32 panels – all of that’s really useful, but
then you add on things like the commentary panels that just all work natively with OMNEO, it’s a
really powerful offering for an ecosystem of products.”