The European Parliament (EP) is one of three legislative bodies of the European Union, a political and economic union of 27 member states. It’s also home to one of its seven institutions. Founded on 10 September 1952, the parliament is responsible for adopting European legislation. It is the European Union’s only directly elected institution and, with 705 members, it represents the second-largest democratic electorate in the world.
The parliament is headquartered in Strasbourg, France, while plenary session and committee meetings are held in Brussels, Belgium. In Brussels, the parliament gathers in a traditional chamber, similar to a large conference room, with over 100 seats. The chamber is utilised roughly twenty times each year for sessions, which last two to four days. During the sessions, the members of Parliament gather with the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, politicians, and spokespersons to discuss legislation. There are dedicated interpreters responsible for interpreting proceedings simultaneously into all of the official languages of the European Union.
In the EP, there are 24 official languages and the Brussels chamber includes 24 interpreter booths to support the translation of the official languages. The interpreter’s booths are nestled at the back of the chamber, which creates a visualisation challenge. The interpreters need to clearly see the speakers and the presented materials to interpret accurately.
Cameras are integrated to provide interpreters with a close-up visualisation of the podium and presenters while they remain within the interpreters’ booths. Still, the interpreters at Parliament need the power to switch sources for simplified viewing of cameras and presentation content displayed inside the session. The interpreters need to have a solution with minimal latency and with clean and instant switching to ensure a single detail is not overlooked.
The new solution required instant switching between sources to eliminate interruptions in interpreting the sessions. Additionally, Parliament required a cost-effective and intuitive control interface for simplified and seamless switching.
Parliament integrated IDK Corporations’ IP-NINJAR P-Series to provide simplified single switching and flexibility throughout the chambers. Each interpreter has their own display, which allows them to switch between four sources, including a chamber view, presentation view or media view and speaker view. Most importantly, the speaker’s view enables the interpreters to support their interpretation by closely lip-reading the speaker. The sources are distributed to each of the 19 booths, including two interpreters and two displays in each booth. The initial project phase included over 800 endpoints.
A second phase was heavily focused on the interconnection and control interface. IDK developed a four-button selector that enables seamless switching between the four sources available to interpreters. Each button has been programmed for simplified and instantaneous switching. The solution eliminated the traditional freeze frame and black screens between switching. The final solution includes over 1000 endpoints – a historic project with one of the most extensive AV-over-IP integrations worldwide.
IDK’s SDVoE-based AV-over-IP product, the IP-NINJAR, is designed to provide low power consumption with a smaller footprint by eliminating the need for an internal fan. The IP-NINJAR fits seamlessly under the interpreters’ booths and provides a reliable, low-latency solution for transmitting and receiving audiovisual content through Parliament chambers. The IP-NINJAR is available with both fibre-optic and Cat6A connectors for users to choose from depending on extension distance needs, existing infrastructure, or network switch configuration.