Court reporting with
Virtual Serial Port Driver
Advantage Software has been creating computer-aided transcription (CAT) software for court reporting and closed captioning software for more than 30 years. They are always pushing the technology envelope in an industry that would otherwise largely be satisfied with very little change.
The challenge that faced Advantage
A skilled court reporter can transcribe proceedings in real-time using either a stenographic shorthand machine or by dictating into a speech recognition engine.
Advantage developed viewing software that can work over a modern network while being compatible with existing CAT (Computer-Aided Transcription) software. The solution involved using a virtual serial port to transmit known data using standardized protocols. They created a utility that wraps the data being sent to a serial port in our custom TCP protocol, with SSL security, before transmitting it to our distribution server.
They needed the Virtual Serial port Driver software to finish the utility. And found the Electronic Team’s solution.
How Virtual Serial Port Driver solved the problem
The utility mentioned above can now create a virtual serial port pair automatically and allows the user to send data to a specific port from their CAT software. The fact that it’s going through a virtual null-modem connection set up by the Electronic Team’s drivers is completely transparent to the user. As far as they know, they configure the software to use COM 5, they tell their software to output text to COM 5, and the data gets to our server. What we’re actually doing is setting up a COM5/COM6 pair and watching for data to come in through COM6.
“The end result is that we’re able to distribute data to our server software, which can run either on a LAN or on the Internet, which distributes data to our real-time viewing software. We have software that can view, search and annotate the realtime text on a laptop, mobile device, and in a web Browser.
The interface is sufficiently low-level that we could completely write our own solution. The drivers were easy to install and use, and we’ve tested them on several different Windows versions with no problems.”