CNES, the government agency responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy in Europe, has adopted Acapela’s speech synthesis to automatically vocalise alarm messages when anomalies are detected in satellite and mission control centres.
Within CNES, the Operations division of the Toulouse Space Centre, has been using Acapela Speech Unit for several years as an alarm emission module for their alarm management system, employed for monitoring in satellite control centres.
Acapela Speech Unit, a hardware solution emitting vocal alerts by telephone or a sound network, was devised by Acapela (acapela-group.com) to easily add a vocal function to SCADA systems (Supervision, Control and Data Acquisition). The Acapela Speech Unit is used by the alarm management system, deployed by the Generic Ground Systems service of the Products and Ground Segments division, to vocally relay critical information to operators.
If an anomaly is detected by the monitoring and alarm management system, an alarm is emitted. The Acapela Speech Unit ensures that this alarm is automatically transmitted as an informative vocal message relayed as an audible announcement in the control centre or immediately transmitted by phone to the agents on call. Vocal messages have been introduced lately to enhance other communication channels such as SMS in order to broaden the means by which alarms can be transmitted to optimise teams’ reaction times.
- At the heart of the control room itself, the message is sometimes relayed to everyone present, for the most effective diffusion of the alarm.
- By telephone, Acapela Speech Unit activates an alarm directly to the person on call, who receives the message in clear and intelligible voices, enabling extremely rapid and efficient on-site reaction.
The Acapela Speech Unit is a stand alone hardware box which connects easily to all existing SCADA systems, providing improved performance through the use of voice, in 24 languages. Today the CNES uses English, French and Spanish in male and female voices. The different voices are used to associate particular voices with particular satellites or missions, so allowing immediate identification, from the first words, of the satellite or mission concerned by the alarm.
'Acapela Speech Unit plays an integral part in the supervision and alarm management chain. The vocal function is used at an operational level in the operation centres as well as in certain activities linked to surveillance of instruments during development. The transmission of messages by synthesized speech enables the teams concerned to react as effectively as possible in an optimized operational setting' added CNES.
'This solution has proved itself for over 10 years in extremely sensitive and often completely automated sites, relaying the alarm as quickly as possible. This intelligent alarm box is used in many petrol refineries, electrical power stations and water treatment centres. We are very proud that the reliability of our vocal alert solution as well as the intelligibility of Acapela voices have won the approval of CNES and been used for several years' commented Lars-Erik Larsson, CEO Acapela Group.
Since its creation in 1961 CNES (cnes.fr) has designed and put into orbit satellites and has invented space systems of tomorrow. Through this process, CNES innovates, anticipates and contributes towards progress in the knowledge and the emergence of new technologies and services useful in our every day lives in the following areas: the access to space - the Earth, environment, climate; applications for the general public; sciences of the universe; security and defence.
CNES has four sites: Paris (headquarters and administrative centre), Evry (launcher directorate), Kourou (launch site) and Toulouse (orbital systems). The Toulouse Space Centre (CST) designs, develops, builds and puts into orbit, controls and operates vehicles and complete space systems for which CNES is responsible (satellites, probes, balloons). CNES Toulouse is leading simultaneously around 40 space projects in cooperation with about 20 countries.