Now, Next, Future: Doing Things Differently

On Wednesday 6 February Red Bee Media welcomed the BBC’s Technology Strategy and Architecture (TS&A) team to a reception, on the eve of their community conference, at Broadcast Centre in London.

BBC Event Set Up
BBC Event Set Up

The event, curated by Margaret Karnaze from TS&A’s Technology Transfer team, was titled Now, Next, Future: Doing Things Differently.  It focussed on how the BBC is positioning itself for the future, and how to face the challenges ahead.  Demonstrations from Red Bee Media and BBC Research & Development teams exhibited new approaches to innovation and their application; and discussions were around how research frameworks could be used to create and support new services in a media landscape with changing viewing behaviours and evolving technology. The BBC’s blog on the event can be found here.

The event started with a welcome from Red Bee Media CEO, Steve Nylund with a response from Peter O’Kane, BBC Director of Infrastructure Services, Operations and Commercial (ISOC).

Steve described Red Bee Media’s special bond with the BBC: “With our origins in BBC Broadcast the BBC are part of our company DNA. For over a decade now the BBC has been a prestigious customer and partner”. He added: “We are looking forward to taking on the challenges of the media landscape with them in the years to come”.

Steve confirmed our support for the BBC and other Public Service Broadcasters with their vital role today and in the future: “Red Bee supports the BBC and all of our Public Service Broadcasters in the UK and Europe. We are proud to work together to fulfil their ambitions to represent and unite our society, all the while providing the highest quality creative programming”.

The importance of embracing change

The event examined the constant challenge for all of us; an evolving industry, new technology and changing viewer behaviours. Steve outlined the importance of embracing change and thinking differently in order to stay relevant.

He said “This constant evolution has to be combined with an absolute dedication and attention to detail in order to stay on air 24/7. This all takes skills, experience and cooperation and we are proud to bring our expertise in stable operations and innovation in technology and ways of working.”

He added that Red Bee Media prides itself on an ability to innovate and develop services that give customers new perspectives and a competitive edge. With a global presence, Red Bee Media builds skills and knowledge constantly by working with both public service and commercial broadcasters globally, such as NOS/NOP in the Netherlands, Bonnier Broadcasting in the Nordics, Canal+ in France and FOX in the Middle East. Red Bee Media shares its experiences with all its customers, no matter where they are in the world. Being a Managed Services Provider, Red Bee Media is always bringing something extra to the table, leveraging its facilities to bring efficiencies for all its clients.

In preparing for the event, Red Bee Media worked closely with the BBC, planning a number of demos, showcasing the latest service and technology offers, alongside BBC R&D. The Red Bee Media demos where presented at the new Red Lab in Broadcast Centre. From Playout, Red Bee Media showed the new, software-only uncompressed playout deployment – the first of its kind and a milestone for Red Bee and for the industry. From the Content Discovery team, Red Bee Media presented the autonomous trailer generation technology and the work in AI and personalisation. Red Bee Media also ran a live integrated demo showing how content and data can be created and transferred across multiple platforms – from Automatic Captioning to VOD preparation and finally publishing on an OTT platform.

"There are multiple trends that are affecting our industry – virtualization and cloud-based operations, global distribution networks, niche and direct-to-consumer OTT-services to name a few. 5G is on the horizon, and it will disrupt our industry again.”

Steve Nylund CEO, Red Bee Media
BBC & Red Bee demos
BBC & Red Bee demos

Per Fröjdh, head of the Media Standardisation team at Ericsson for 5G, presented Ericsson’s partnership with Red Bee Media on 4G/5G private networks including remote production use cases. He went on to outline Ericsson’s support to the broadcast industry in standards including the EBU, 3GPP, DVB and SMPTE.

Continuing the theme of 5G, the BBC R&D department showcased how 5G has enabled high-quality immersive experiences on mobile devices – including trials on VR and AR as a part of the 5G Smart Tourism Project in Bath. On automated meta data extraction, the BBC R&D team demonstrated their Content Analysis Tool that increases the quality of recommendations and audience propositions.  Delegates were able to take part in a demo showing how user generated content can combine with news coverage and live events through the tool COGNITUS.

Finally, Red Bee Media ran very popular tours through the operations facilities including BBC Playout and Red Bee Media’s Post Production and Media Management areas.

The BBC and Red Bee Media teams during the Broadcast Centre Tours
The BBC and Red Bee Media teams during the Broadcast Centre Tours

The event brought together many BBC and Red Bee Media colleagues, talking formally during the event and informally at the close over a drink and some food. New contacts were made, interesting conversations were had, and new partnerships seeded. All our thanks to BBC Chief Architect Jatin Aythora, Senior Tech Transfer Manager at BBC R&D, Margaret Karnaze, Tech Engagement Manager at BBC TS&A, Alison Kelly.

Claire Harvey, Key Account Manager