In our previous blogs we have looked at some of the issues surrounding channel-in-a-box technologies and manual control, this time we take a different angle, wondering whether CiAB solutions are actually needed at all in some cases.
We’ve been exploring the development of our product Clockwork. It’s essentially an automation system; this will be obvious to anyone who understands automation. It allows broadcasters and playout providers to schedule a huge range of different events. These events can include switching a router, triggering a server to record an incoming feed, or the automated control of audio ingest – the list goes on.
But is there more? We’ve had several discussions recently with customers where they have explained that because of the rate of channel launch, including channel variations, new equipment purchase and installation often means that there’s lots of older – though not old – equipment deemed surplus to requirements still sitting around.
Let’s take an example. I am a broadcaster who has a lot of unused older content, or wants to launch a new variant of an existing channel. I also have, say, 80 per cent of the technology to launch a new channel because of the situation described above. My automation system is running near capacity, or I simply don’t want to fill it up with another thematic channel, and I don’t need all the capabilities of a CiAB system as that would be a waste of money because I have kit I can reuse.
There’s also the time-to-launch issue. Given the fractured nature of the world in which we live, the ability to launch channels quickly and efficiently is vital. And that might be thinking outside the channel-in-a-box.
We are currently exploring ways to extend the functionality of Clockwork in terms of its ability to understand content duration. While Clockwork will never be a replacement for an automation system, far from it, it has the capability to easily be powerful enough to run a thematic channel.
There are also people that we are talking to looking for more accurate automated ingest handling. It’s applicable there too, so in theory you could have Clockwork in multiple points in the chain. We really are thinking outside multiple boxes here.