Capturing Confidence Data
Capturing Confidence Data With Voltair
Stations depend on Voltair’s watermark enhancement processing. And Voltair’s one-hour confidence display provides an instant indication of how well your audio is encoding.
But, what if you want to go back and look at how well audio audio encoded on a specific date? What if you want to see what your confidence was this morning, last week, or last month? That’s where the Data Publishing feature comes into its own.
Data Publishing: What Is It?
The same analysis engine that drives Voltair’s one-hour display also gets recorded internally. Once you’ve installed a data publishing license, you’ll be able to a) access ongoing details of the encoding confidence for your transmitted audio; and b) retrieve confidence records for any day in the past, back to the day you installed your Voltair. By plotting confidence data against your ratings or playlist data, you can build a comprehensive model of the interplay between your content, day parts, and encoding confidence. Savvy programmers are using this data now to adjust playlists, position breaks in quarter hours, and change stop sets.
Here’s an example of a quarter-hour of confidence data:
And here's a chart showing a full hour of confidence data:
How Can I Get the Data?
There are two methods for accessing your data. The first is the easiest: Just use Voltair’s web tools to process any day’s data into a spreadsheet or a CSV file. The spreadsheet and graph above were both created using these tools. Spreadsheet files are great for quick insight into your encoding, or for sharing with other members of your team. CSV files can be imported into a database for further analysis.
The second method is to use Voltair’s Data Publishing Port for automatic data retrieval. This method sends a continuous stream of confidence and “heartbeat” information to a collector program. Using a simple text-oriented command language, you can gather data in real time, or request any previous hour or day of data. You’ll get a lot of data, and it isn’t really meant for human consumption, but it’s perfect for automatic retrieval and processing by software tools written in any number of programming languages.
What Information Can I Get?
Either retrieval method will give you the following information:
The Confidence level of complete PPM messages received, at periods of 4.8 seconds, 1 minute, and 15 minutes (the 4.8 second confidences are only available in raw form through the Data Publishing port).
Confidence measured for both the Encoder output and Voltair Enhancement.
Confidence measured through the Environment as set by the user.
Changes in Enhancement level, Environment name and Environment level.
Whether or not Voltair is processing audio.
Other operational alerts that can be useful in case of encoding problems.
Tips on How to Process the Confidence Data
It’s easy for moderately skillful programmers to build tools to fetch and process data from the Data Publishing Port. Everything you’ll find in the downloadable spreadsheets and CVS files can be found in the raw Data Publishing Port data. In fact, Voltair’s own spreadsheets and CSV files are created by scripts written in the popular “Python” open-source language, using data fetched directly from the Data Publishing Port. Using another open-source library, which builds Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets on the fly, the scripts fetch, parse and process the data.
For more information, please consult your Voltair manual.