Broadcastify Calls Announces New Features, Now Over 600+ Nodes (2024-03)

blantonl

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Broadcastify Calls (Link: Broadcastify Calls), our full-featured managed radio calls ingest platform, has seen extensive growth over the past few years. Calls now has over 600 nodes actively sending calls into the network, greatly expanding our coverage. We estimate that over 35% of all Law Dispatch and Fire Dispatch trunked system groups in the RadioReference database are now covered by Broadcastify Calls nodes. Over the past few months we recently completed a development sprint of updates and new features and functionality outlined below:

Playlist Management Updates

Playlists on Broadcastify Calls are an extremely powerful tool. Users can build playlists to watch and listen to any group captured across the entire network.

We recently increased the amount of groups you can have in a single playlist from 20 to 30, and we've added a group browser directly in the playlist editor which allows users to add groups to a playlist by location and service tag. This allows users to quickly build playlists to monitor what they want to hear. See the screenshot below:

Screenshot 2024-03-01 at 4.28.26 PM.png

Discussion around the new playlist management features are here:

Public Playlists Now Available

We now have the ability to make a Broadcastify Calls playlists available to the general public and we publish those playlists on Broadcastify's county page. We've currently published approximately 40 different playlists for popular areas. See the screenshot below as an example:

Screenshot 2024-03-05 at 11.39.28 AM.png

If you have a personal playlist you've created for a specific location that would be a good fit for the general public, send us a support request to support@broadcastify with the link to the playlist and the county you would like it assigned to, and we'll evaluate it for publishing to the public. Discussion about public playlists can be found here:


County Pages Coverage Browser

You can now browse for groups that are available on Broadcastify calls directly from a county page. This new feature is handy if there is an incident or event going on in a specific county - you can browse all groups captured for that county on one single page, and see when groups were last captured to determine which groups are active in a county. See below:

Screenshot 2024-03-05 at 11.40.40 AM.png

New Duplicate Call Detection Algorithm

One of the greatest features of the Broadcastify Calls platform is the ability for multiple nodes to cover the same systems and areas. This allows a method of redundancy given that the vast majority of the contributing nodes are provided by volunteers. Because of this, we need a solid way to manage what we do when we receive the same transmission, or call, from multiple nodes around the same time.

Previously, we managed duplicate calls be received by checking by comparing calls as they were received by timestamp and group ID and then rejecting ones that matched. This was terribly inefficient and didn't take into account quick calls in succession and different types of capturing software running on the 600+ nodes in the network.

We are now handing duplicate management by building a table in memory, of all nodes that are contributing calls for each specific group. We then continuously, dynamically rank those nodes based on the quality of the node. That quality ranking is primarily a function of how low the node' "skew" is (skew is a function of how "slow" the node is), and how long the node has been providing calls for that group. As calls come in from all the nodes, we assign each group a node that will exclusively provide calls for that group, all the while constantly evaluating the health and ranking of all the nodes providing the group. If the system detects that another node is starting to rank higher, we'll start "reconsidering" the currently assigned node, and after a select amount of reconsiderations we'll switch the groups assigned node if it warrants it.

The result has been a dramatically reduced amount of duplicate calls brought into the network and much better user experience for a Broadcastify Calls users. Discussion about these changes are covered here:


SDRTrunk Conventional Channel Support

Broadcastify calls now supports SDRTrunk conventional analog FM and digital channels. See the SDRTrunk docs for more details


Broadcastify Calls API

An API is being developed for our mobile app partners to bring Broadcastify Calls functionality to the app stores. We hope to have this released to our partners in the next few months.
 
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Twister_2

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Thank you for your constant work to improve this service. It’s very powerful and users will understand once they begin to use it.
 

rr60

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I must say, initially this was not well received by me. I have done a 180 and fully embrace the latest format. Thanks for expanding the number of playlists too.
 
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