In Broadcast - December 2013 - 70


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 26 - DECEMBER 2013

N E W S

InTECH

Would Broadcast Benefit From Six Sigma?
MicroVideo focuses on finding flexible, lasting solutions based on efficient strategies for process control...
By Ian Hudson, CEO of
MicroVideo and i4b Ltd

S

70

ix Sigma is well known in many
high tech companies. GE, one
of the most successful companies
implementing Six Sigma, estimated
benefits in the order of $10 billion
during the first five years of
implementation.
Motorola and Allied Signal blazed
the Six Sigma trail back in the
'90s. Six Sigma was adopted by
thousands of companies around
the world throughout the 90s and
into the early 2000s.
It fell from grace in mid2000s when the US giant
Home Depot fell from top
to bottom of customer
satisfaction surveys with
complaints that too much
time was spent on recording
data and not enough time on
customers. Of course any
business procedure that
doesn't have the customer
(internal or external) as the
main focus, simply is not
the right procedure.
Six Sigma in simple terms
is a measurement-based
strategy that focuses on
process improvement.
There are two Six Sigma
sub-methodologies: DMAIC
and DMADV. The DMAIC
process - Define, Measure,
Analyse, Improve, Control)
is an improvement system
for existing processes, the
DMADV process (Define,
Measure, Analyse, Design,
Verify) is an improvement
system used to develop new
processes or products.
Am I seriously suggesting
developing a process lead
procedure for the broadcast
industry? After all the actual output
is the result of a creative process
that the technology is there to make
possible, or at least back up. No I'm

not, but what I'd like you to consider
is could the broadcast workflow and
therefore the equipment we buy to
perform tasks within that workflow,
benefit from us having a fresh
perspective on it?
One of the great things about
the established process control
procedure improvement systems
(and Six Sigma is by no means the
only one) is they encourage you to
look at what you're actually doing,
compare it to what the written
procedures say you should
be doing and then look at
the way you could be doing
it. It is always incredible
how much fat and
duplication even the leanest
looking workflows carry.
If you look at your
equipment chain, how many
individual items are there in
each channel? How many of
them provide more than one
function? How many could
be replaced by a multifunction solution? How many
are futureproofed? If your
system changes, how many
of these items get taken out
of service and how many can
be repurposed to perform a
task in the new chain?
Let's consider it another
way. Do you look at the
products available on the
market and go through the
rigours to calculate the
return on investment of
each or do you opt to find the
quickest and simplest route to solve
the immediate problem?
Fig. 1 shows a typical (if simplified)
setup. An MCR in one location wants
to signal to a local Playout Centre
to switch to local Ads or News. The
Control signal (or cue) is inserted at
the MCR and transmitted as part of
the programme stream to be read

MicroVideo HDB Series frame

Fig. 1: An MCR in one location inserts a control signal (or cue) into the SDI
stream which is decoded at the regional head-end and used to control the
local Ad server

Fig. 2: The remote signal is encoded into the main program stream, decoded
at the playout point where a GPI is sent to the local Ad server

at the regional head-end by a cue
tone or control signal decoder. The
control signal is used in the form of
a GPI to control the Ad server and a
second GPI can, after the necessary
pre-roll, switch the output to the
local Ad server. The same process
can then be used to switch back.
The cost of that simple solution is
in the region of £10,000 to £12,000
from any number of suppliers
(significantly more from one or two).
Let's take a Six Sigma approach
to that issue and use a seamless 2x1
switch with an inbuilt signal decoder
(Fig.2). The system works in exactly
the same way; a remote signal is
encoded into the main programme
stream, decoded at the playout point
where a GPI is sent to the local Ad
server but let's also include run-in
delays pre-set by the broadcaster
to allow for pre-roll.
This solution saves around 30% in
unit price over the solution shown.
However, let's take it one step
further and use GPIs embedded
by the automation system, i.e. no
dedicated GPI encoder - then we're
looking at savings of over 50% on
systems that perform exactly the
same task. Elegant, simple and
reliable, but above all we now have
a solution that delivers real value
for minimum investment.
We can take it even further, let's
say we want to switch between
the main programme, local news,
local ads and an off air testcard.
That traditionally would have taken

any number of switches, logo gens,
cue inserters and decoders and may
have even used a small router to
simplify matters. But now a single
eurocard in a 19" box, where six
individual cards (and hence six
channels) could all be controlled
from 1U of rack space (including
redundant power supplies).
Now let's take that same solution
and roll forward a couple of years
where the requirements have
changed; we are now producing
programmes locally and what we
need is a logo generator for station
branding, or a Downstream Keyer
for use with a graphics workstation,
or an inserter for adding subtitles or
practically any other product we can
think of - can the product we bought
two years ago be repurposed to
meet those needs? With careful
supplier selection it can.
The entertainment industry has
long had the adage "the show
must go on" but we're engineers
not showmen, we're not here to
simply resolve the immediate - yes,
keeping the transmission on air at
all times is critical - but we're also
here to give a lasting solution.
Dealing with the problems
we face today is important but
doing it in a way that benefits our
organisations and their customers
for years to come is essential. So
let's work at better, more efficient
ways of managing our broadcast
budgets and demand more from
our suppliers.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - December 2013

In Broadcast - December 2013
Contents
InNews: Vizrt to Acquire Mosart Medialab
InNews: NTP Dad Ax32 Captures Wagner
InReply: Seesense on Miniature Cameras
InStudio: Q-Ball Captures Historic Vettel Victory
InGear: Bluebell’s Fibre Optic Solutions
InGear: Grass Valley K2 Dyno Changes the Game
InMedia: Pixitmedia – More Partner Than Supplier
In Broadcast - December 2013 - Intro
In Broadcast - December 2013 - In Broadcast - December 2013
In Broadcast - December 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - December 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - December 2013 - InNews: Vizrt to Acquire Mosart Medialab
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - December 2013 - InNews: NTP Dad Ax32 Captures Wagner
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 15
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 16
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 18
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 19
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 21
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 22
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 23
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 24
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 26
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - December 2013 - InReply: Seesense on Miniature Cameras
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 30
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 32
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 34
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 36
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 38
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 40
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - December 2013 - InStudio: Q-Ball Captures Historic Vettel Victory
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 44
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 46
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 47
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 48
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 49
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 50
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 51
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 52
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 53
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 54
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 55
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 56
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 58
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 59
In Broadcast - December 2013 - InGear: Bluebell’s Fibre Optic Solutions
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 61
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 62
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - December 2013 - InGear: Grass Valley K2 Dyno Changes the Game
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 65
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 66
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 67
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 68
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 69
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 70
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 71
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 72
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 73
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 74
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 75
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 76
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 77
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 78
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 79
In Broadcast - December 2013 - InMedia: Pixitmedia – More Partner Than Supplier
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 81
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 82
In Broadcast - December 2013 - 83
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S1
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S2
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S3
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S4
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S5
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S6
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S7
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S8
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S9
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S10
In Broadcast - December 2013 - S11
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