Anonymised Hero

Upgrade to current technology for a major TV broadcaster

1 December 2023 Time to read:  minutes

In this case study discover how Acutest helped the broadcaster successfully transition to a new technology landscape with minimal disruption to services.

Project Background

The current building used by the client had evolved over the years and was no longer able to support the business requirements in terms of the size of the studios or provide an inclusive environment for their audience – something that was being demanded.

In addition, there was a requirement for an upgrade of the current technology to enable them to keep up and future proof themselves in line with the ever evolving digitally driven changes of the broadcasting world.

The technology currently being used was 25 years old and so a whole new technology refresh was required, meaning that they would be able to control multiple studios from a single source, meaning that cameras, mics, etc within the new building can be controlled from anywhere else in that building. This would also mean the broadcaster would be the first IP based broadcasting hub built in UK and Europe.

Key Considerations

The success factor for the project were:

  • To make the technology upgrade and office move successful.
  • Ensuring that there is no impact to the viewing and listening audiences.
  • No ‘black screens’ or ‘silence’ across both the television and radio channels.

How Acutest became the partner of choice

Given Acutest’s expertise and track record of working with the other broadcast organisations , Acutest were asked for their support with the testing of their new solution/technology and processes to ensure the move to the new building and the transfer to the new technology was seamless.

Acutest (part of Trustmarque) were engaged at the end of 2018 to undertake a review of the current strategy, realising that testing had been an afterthought within their programme.

Based on budget and priorities, the Acutest team produced a number of recommendations and appointed a testing team covering consultancy and test leads.

Understanding the requirements

The Acutest team did an in an initial review for with the client. This involved engaging with operations, technology and the production teams to understand their processes, challenges and what were the areas that had the biggest impact on production – areas of highest risk.

It became immediately clear that due to working in siloes there wasn’t a structured process to testing and no clarity on whether the current test scripts covered the whole process or how far through the testing process they were, which meant that planning to go-live was impossible.

As a second step, we looked at the broadcast infrastructure as this was key to the future success of the broadcasters IP based solution, enabling them to have greater flexibility as well as providing a future proof solution. We looked at the kits that were to be installed to support the new technology. This involved the Acutest team working with both the Broadcast engineering team as well as their suppliers.

Key calendar events

Further challenges were key broadcasting events within the calendar year that the team had to work around without impacting the new solution go-live date.

Any delays could involve additional weeks of increased costs (through running two buildings).

There could be no interruption on key event dates such as during Christmas, Easter or through key sporting events i.e. Six Nations, Wimbledon etc.

Disruption to service during these key events would lead to loss of commercial airtime which would result in direct loss of money for the Broadcaster.

The Successes/Results

The work Acutest completed provided structure to the programme, bringing together five key stakeholder groups including major products and infrastructure, technology, the client programme management, the operations team and numerous suppliers. Acutest provided arbitration to all members of the group and is positioned as neutral to help assist the programme and resolve issues.

Through the setup of report automation and the use of JIRA, cross programme reports have been combined into individual reports and enabled consistent reporting. Due to the complexity of the programme, the number of stakeholders and numerous moving parts, the team moved from reporting stats to colour coded workflows to illustrate progress, making it clearer for all involved where the team were on progress and highlighting outstanding actions.

The end success of the project is in-line with expectations. Had it not been for Acutest’s focus on failing fast, finding issues and acting fast, there may have been further delays with issues being found later in the processes causing delay to the overall solution.

The Broadcaster would be able to control multiple studios from a single source, meaning that cameras, mics, etc within the new building can be controlled from anywhere else in that building.

This would also mean they would be the first IP based broadcasting hub built in UK and Europe.

For more information on Acutest, please visit: Testing and assurance services by Acutest

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