IBC Awards Foreground Innovation in IP

It is a sign of how far broadcast engineering has come when the IBC 2015 Innovation Awards are dominated by IP technologies. Two thirds of the shortlisted projects commend achievements in remote production or networking using virtualised systems.

The annual IBC awards shindig recognises three main categories in content creation, content management and content delivery.

In the first of these categories is a BBC project to reinvent radio services across the UK, keeping the content local but using virtualise technology to reduce equipment costs by 75 per cent. For the ViLoR (Virtualised Local Radio) 40 BBC local radio stations each have their own creative teams, but all use common centralised equipment. This is thought to be the first large-scale roll-out of broadcast technology as a service. Developed largely in-house at the BBC, the project also drew on expertise at Atos, Broadcast Bionics, Cisco, Comrex, EM Computers, EMC-Isilon, Glensound Electronics, HP, IMI Mobile, Mayah, Microsoft, Oracle, Scisys, Technica del Arte, Telos Axia, VMWare, Vodafone and Vortex.

Also shortlisted is the National Basketball Association (NBA) which has designed and installed a powerful replay centre, managed by software-defined networking at its central broadcast facility in Secaucus, New Jersey. The system provides NBA officials with review and decision-making during the game. The system can manage fifteen simultaneous games – with nine camera angles at each game and 144 feeds in total. Cisco, Evertz, Samsung, The Systems Group and Zayo collaborated on this technology.

Two of America’s biggest broadcasters are on the shortlist for the most innovative content management project, each pioneers of IP connectivity and software-defined video.

Disney/ABC Television Group has implemented a realtime IP distribution system for content around its New York distribution facility, based on 40 and 100 gigabit ethernet and handling uncompressed HD for more than 200 affiliated stations across the USA. The technology comes from AC Video Solutions, Arista, Imagine Communications and The Systems Group.

ESPN is also looking to the IP future, and has opened the first large-scale, fully ethernet connected production facility in the world. Digital Center 2 is home to five studios, 16 edit suites, six control rooms and some of the most popular sports television in the USA. Its technology partners included Arista Networks, Evertz and Vizrt.

Also in this category is UK facility Dock10, based in Salford, Manchester. It is rewarded for its implementation of Field Dock, a system which allows creative teams to connect into its post network for upload of rushes for example, from remote locations, The technical team from Dock10 worked with Avid and The Netherlands' Limecraft.

In the content delivery category is Pac-12 Networks the US sports oriented cable and satellite network owned by the Pac-12 Conference and based out of San Francisco. It is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and broadcasts 850 live televised sports events a year for the conference of twelve west coast universities. To manage all of this, it uses commodity internet connections to link a basic crew at the event with its three central control rooms in San Francisco. The system, which allows talkback and telemetric data to travel to and from venues up to 2500km away with less than a frame delay, was developed with Internet2, Nevion and T-Vips.

The IBC2015 Awards Ceremony takes place on Sunday 13 September, in the Auditorium in the RAI Centre, Amsterdam. As well as the Innovation Awards, the ceremony will see the announcement of the IBC International Honour for Excellence.

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