Over IP and higher education

While « Over IP » is the new trend on the media technology market, the number of companies adopting this technology evolves sluggishly. Following the latest IBC, the technology is clearly there, but there is a lack of knowledge on the system integrator side to provide both IT and Broadcast expertise in environments with are evolving towards the perfect blend of both technologies.

Two years ago, Broadcasting Center Europe set the ball rolling, with the first over IP headquarters including the broadcast centre, the production and postproduction platforms as well as the ingest and news workflows.

IP-based platforms allow us to rapidly setup new channels,” comments Costas Colombus, Technology Projects & Support Director at BCE. “Whereas it is for continuous or ephemeral channels, we are able to give a fast answer and start broadcasting the content worldwide.”

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Playout over IP at Broadcasting Center Europe

“We recognized a strong consumer demand for pristine content but need to also provide for that demand in the most cost-effective and efficient manner,” said Julian Ankiah, Head of Technology Engineering at MultiChoice Support Services. “We needed to take advantage of the benefits of IP signal reticulation, while ensuring tight integration with our existing platforms, and particularly our business services.”

Multichoice moved to an IP playout platform thanks to Imagine Communications, Megahertz started to work with major US broadcasters for the implementation and tests of IP, CCTV renovated its platforms with NDT and RadioFr and La Télé, both swiss private broadcasters, upgraded to an all IP broadcast centre with SLG Broadcast AG.

“MEDIAParc is the first all-IP mediahouse in Switzerland, and as such it represents the successful realisation of an ambitious vision encompassing cross-media workflows,” said Marc Straehl, CEO of SLG Broadcast AG. “RadioFr wanted all-IP infrastructure for both radio and TV sides of the house. They wanted to virtualise the production environment, so that editorial PCs could contribute programming directly via the network.”

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Studio at RadioFr

What about audiovisual education and high schools? It is paramount to make the roots evolve as soon as possible, in order to have qualified employees in our next generation media companies. Of course, it is part of our job to train the actual staff to meet the new technology, but it would be much more effective to change the student curriculum and include immediately over IP knowledge.

Recently the BTS Audiovisual Henri Martin, in the City of Saint-Quentin in France, decided to upgrade to IP SMPTE-2110 its infrastructure. The school decided to keep both SDI and IP technologies, in order to be sure that their students will be well prepared for any type of infrastructure. The choice is quite smart, since there is still a lot of media players that are not equipped with this technology, but it will be an undeniable asset for the companies to have employees which can evolve easily with future upgrades.

Jacques Tabary, the headmaster of Henri Martin High School told us that they were looking forward to evolving to IP for a long time but that they did not know themselves how to start such a transition. To do so they were helped by Boite à Outils Broadcast which helped them draft a specification and publish a tender. Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) was selected and worked hand in hand with the teachers and the students to answer all their needs in technology and training.

“We have fifteen teachers on the technical part at the BTS. You must rely on teachers who have been able to take this type of training, but also on professionals – for example we have a chief editor who comes from Canal+. As part of this project, we had not sized the importance of training on the hardware and related new technologies such as IP. BCE has trained our teachers so that they can acquire the skills necessary to use the equipment,” comments Jacques Tabary.

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Production control room over IP at the BTS Henri Martin

A few weeks ago, we heard that Orange Business Services, a network operator and a digital services integrator teamed up with BCE for the Radio France project. The massive French radio group has announced that it will transform the media infrastructure of its headquarters, Maison de la Radio, to next generation, full IP technology.

“The combined expertise of Orange Business Services and BCE, complemented by the professionalism of Maison de la Radio’s project teams, will allow us to innovate and facilitate the production and broadcast of programs while meeting the highest standards required by the media sector,” comments Patrick Fasso, Technical and Information Systems Director at Radio France.

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Radio France headquarters

Antenne Réunion upgrades its Production control room to HD

Antenne Réunion Télévision is a leading proximity and general TV channel broadcasting licensed programmes (TF1, M6, etc.) and its own productions (news, entertainment, magazines, games, etc.).

After upgrading their channel management tools, the group selected BCE to renew their production infrastructure including a production control room and studio cameras.

To do so BCE first analysed the requirements of Antenne Réunion and assisted the group in the design of a technical room, in the creation of tailor-made furniture and in the selection of the best suited technology and solutions for the project.

“With its dual expertise as operator and integrator, BCE is able to design proven solutions which meet perfectly the customer needs. With a deep knowledge in IT and Broadcast, BCE can give a unique approach meeting the needs for evolutive platforms,” explains Nicolas Serres, Project Architect at BCE.

It was paramount to create a platform which would be able to answer the actual needs of Antenne Réunion as well as its future evolution. To do so, BCE advised the group to move to a centralised IP-based platform with room for upgrades. BCE also designed the furniture for the new production control room.

“BCE has been supporting us for several years on our “channel traffic” solution and we have naturally solicited them as part of the renewal of our production management equipment. They have offered us innovative solutions that will allow us to multiply our audiovisual productions both for TV and for our leading Internet sites at the Reunion island,” explains Fabrice Chinjoie, Directeur de l’Innovation Technologique et Digitale at Antenne Réunion. “The change of the production control room is one of the stages of a more ambitious technical project that aims to respond to technological developments in our sector for the years to come.”

After this consulting phase, BCE experts moved to the Reunion Island for the integration of the new platform. After three weeks, the HD production control room was upgraded and the eight cameras for the News and production studios were installed.

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“Thanks to the collaboration with BCE, we have succeeded in deploying the new production control room and training the technical operators within a very short period of time,” said Giovanni Ringuin, Responsable technique at Antenne Réunion. “This new direction will allow us to simplify the production of our flagship productions. Today we have a customizable tool according to the needs of the different operators of the control room which offers us a very flexible and responsive tool.”

Within this short time-frame BCE trained the actual team of Antenne Réunion directly on its new platform. To ensure the most accurate knowledge transfer, BCE offers field training sessions, whereas it is in the customer premises or at BCE on provisory platforms. As a result, the staff is immediately operational in its new environment.

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“Antenne Réunion has trusted our Traffic TV software solutions for many years now. We are glad to support them in their HD transition. The new HD production control room is now fully operational, and we are ready to move to the second step of the project with the upgrade of their playout platform.” Concludes Nicolas Serres.