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Blurring of the Lines

In the market today the roll of the System Integrator is often overlooked thinking of SI as only an equipment vendor or install team however the SI’s should play a much more critical role to help customers navigate the increasingly complex business of media.

Today’s various formats and transport methods such as file based workflows and increasingly IP based transport streams have added new options but also challenges like interoperability.

These technologies are made more complex by the additional production methods being utilized by customers such “remote production” and distribution including DTH, Broadcast, OTT and web.

To face these challenges the SI should be playing the role of a consultant not a simple supplier and helping the business to face the new challenges as a partner.

The reality today is that the complete facility and technology design should be shifting as the traditional roles and business requirements shift maximizing the companies investments and SI’s should play a major roll to support the customer in this endeavor.

There is increasing pressures on not only the traditional “broadcast” infrastructure to support these production requirements but also the additional knowledge required on the IT infrastructure and network levels to achieve efficient and reliable content flow. This collision or intersection of technologies is increasingly taking new forms of specialization to create systems with ample throughput and workflow which seamlessly interface between the multiple standards.

There is still logic in being cautious as the technology like IP production transport take shape as there is considerable expense and risk as the technology matures and evaluation of the benefit to the customer need to be continuously monitored for each project. The IP technology will ultimately transform the business but today there is the need to maintain a hybrid environment in most cases.

There is also an increasing drive to efficiency and production location distribution (studios, post production, transmission etc. being located in multiple facilities across a city or region) which clients require.

At Advanced Broadcast solutions we have been facing these challenges head on with our customers. We have one customer in a developing nation whom is developing a media company stretching from content creation of hundreds of hours of original material of various formats produced each week, through to distribution to over 80 channels within their country.

In the country there is limited space, high traffic congestion, and expensive land prices all driving the company to move from centralized production or a campus to distributed production sites. With studios, post production, management and transmission stretched across multiple locations throughout the city and country naturally this has created silos of work with little integration. Increasingly however there is the need to create one virtual facility where no matter the location staff have access and capabilities as if working on a single campus. Today the customer needs talent in multiple locations producing in conjunction with one another allowing talent or guest to simply travel to the nearest site for a broadcast and production and post production resources can be assigned from any site base on availability. Communication and network links (with increasing bandwidth over 10G) have had to be establish for live video backhaul, communication such as intercom and network, shared MAM systems, shared post production workflows and content management and playout from any site. ABS has been meeting these challenges and overcoming them with a blend of technologies which are allowing the customer to continue to scale their operations while creating seamless workflow across the various locations and production functions.

Another customer is harnessing the broadcast systems to create high quality media which is predominantly broadcast on the Web. They are a corporate customer which uses a hybrid of traditional studio production with the inclusion of remote guests. The remote guest are increasingly are not connecting through studios but a blending of video conferencing and broadcast sites has been achieved allowing for seamless productions utilizing existing infrastructure across the region. The challenge has been the coordination and management of the productions where often only one or two operators are responsible for the complete production process including live webcasts. It becomes not a challenge of technology which support the production but of operational workflows which support such complex operations from small teams while maintaining high quality content.

Today the key is to work hand in hand with the customers to find a solution which meets their budget, production requirements and aspirations as a media company. Advanced Broadcast Solutions considers itself first a consultant and partner to develop customized unique solutions to meet the goals of the client on each and every project. There is no template or one size fits all solution today based on the unique needs of the client and as a trusted partner ABS strives to play a key role with their clients.

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