After working countless weekends and days and nights, we are very happy to announce that Gram Vaani's platform for community radio stations is now available for download. We call it GRINS, standing for the Gramin Radio Inter Networking System.
GRINS is an enhanced automation system for community radio stations. Built on Gram Vaani's MINP platform, the current release of GRINS allows radio station operators to schedule broadcasts, preview programs, record live transmissions, and maintain an extensive semantically searchable library. In future releases, GRINS will be enhanced to handle telephony calls, sending and receiving SMS messages, and Internet connectivity to share and stream content with other GRINS deployments. Some of the key features of GRINS that distinguish it from other radio broadcast platforms are as follows:
- Commodity hardware: GRINS does most processing in software to eliminate the need of buying expensive audio hardware, and yet imposes very low processing overhead on the system. For this reason, GRINS can be run off commodity PCs and single board computers, significantly reducing the costs of setting up community radio stations.
- Service oriented design: All functionality provided by GRINS is handled by different services, such as the Audio Service for playout, Archiver Service for recording, Library Service for storage, etc. Each of these services can be run either on a single machine, or off
multiple machines. This makes the deployment of GRINS extremely flexible to be able to fit into any kind of a radio station setup.
- Application development platform: The open API of GRINS allows third party developers to build their own radio applications using the various underlying services that GRINS provides. For example, you can build specific applications for the broadcast of educational programs
or health programs, that allow quick search and playback features for the respective topics. In the future, once GRINS begins to support the telephone, video, and Internet planes, these applications can even be multiplanar in nature.
- Easy to use UI: The GRINS user interface has been especially designed keeping in mind the target population of rural areas in India and other developing countries. The use of large icons and simple navigation makes GRINS easy to use even for radio operators who are new to computerized systems.
- Diagnostics: A key feature of GRINS, the system can actually detect any network faults or audio cable errors or poor audio quality through DSP, and guide the operators on how to fix the problem locally. This reduces the down-time of the system so that radio stations located in remote rural areas do not have to wait for a technician to visit them and fix small problems.
Please navigate the following links to know more about GRINS:
- Screenshots, and download/installation instructions
- Configuration wizard to understand how GRINS can be plugged into your existing radio station setup
In just a few weeks, we will do out first pilot with Radio Bundelkhand, the community radio station in Orcha, India set up by Development Alternatives. And we will also demo GRINS during the upcoming C4FCM conference at MIT.
It has honestly been a tremendous effort. Building such a comprehensive system in 5 months, with over 50,000 lines of code is no joke! We are very fortunate to have such a gifted technology team at Gram Vaani.
And do visit the Gram Vaani website to stay updated on our progress.