SK Telecom’s Drone Emergency Surveillance System  Saves Lives with Help from AJA ROI-DP and Hi5-Plus Converters

SK Telecom’s Drone Emergency Surveillance System  Saves Lives with Help from AJA ROI-DP and Hi5-Plus Converters

September 26, 2017

Korea’s largest mobile communication service provider SK Telecom began R&D on a drone-based disaster monitoring and rescue system three years ago. Designed to alert the public about potential hazards, such as forest fires, car accidents, storms, missing persons and more, the new drone system recently launched, becoming the world's smallest mobile news gathering (MNG) device, capable of delivering high-quality video with almost zero latency. The system is powered by four AJA ROI-DP and seven Hi5-Plus Mini-Converters, which enable conversion of DisplayPort signals to SDI and 3G-SDI to HDMI conversion.

SK Telecom’s emergency surveillance system is built around T live caster– a proprietary live encoder supporting HEVC. The transmitter encodes video from an HDMI input in real time, and integrates with T live studio, the emergency system’s proprietary receiver, which resides in a Drone Mobile Station (DMS) – a 5 ton truck where four live video feeds are received and displayed via an LTE router. Inside the DMS, operators can monitor real time video sent by reconnaissance drones and alert citizens to imminent threats, or call for a rescue drone to be sent to a specific area. 

The emergency system’s drones fly over mountains, beaches and streets, and send imagery to the DMS using AJA ROI-DP and Hi5-Plus Mini-Converters. The ROI-DPs transform 1080p 60 HD signals from T live studio into HD-SDI signals, while the Hi5-Plus Mini-Converters provide a 3G-SDI (1080p 60) signal from the system’s switchers to a series of HDMI monitors. 

T live studio then communicates with T live caster using a custom protocol optimized for LTE that enables delivery of the live stream to multiple monitors or video routers with minimal delay and no signal loss. Since T live caster leverages a Mobile AP (Application Processor) and Android OS, SK Telecom is able to minimize the power consumption and hardware required, and set and control surveillance from a smartphone app. The system delivers invaluable footage that has saved lives and prevented dangerous situations from escalating into serious emergencies.

“We initially chose ROI-DP and Hi5-Plus because we knew they could handle the vibrations, heat, dust and other harsh circumstances that go along with placement in a 5-ton DMS truck, and they have. The converters were also so intuitive to use that they accelerated our R&D testing,” said Damon Shin, senior manager, SK Telecom. “ROI-DP and Hi5-Plus have been a consistent and reliable part of our workflow, and essential to fixing several issues we’ve encountered. Our team has especially been impressed by their ability to stably transform full HD 60p video signals with efficient and reliable performance.” 

Developing the emergency surveillance system marked the first time SK Telecom used AJA gear, an experience that left a lasting impression. Shin commented, “Compared to products we’ve used from other brands, AJA’s converters provided us with the best level of stability bar none, making for an experience that is likely to influence product purchase decisions in the future.”   

The success of SK Telecom’s T live caster and studio systems has the company considering how it might further refine its technology, with one possible strategy being the addition of support for 2160 30p. In anticipation of this update, Shin is currently testing AJA HA5-4K (4K HDMI to 4K SDI) and Hi5-4K (4K SDI to 4K HDMI) Mini-Converters for integration with the system. 

About AJA Video Systems, Inc.
Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and postproduction markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at