In Broadcast - June 2014 - 78


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

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 32 - JUNE 2014

N E W S

InTEST

Leading Edge Competitiveness
Is The Sum Of Many Small Gains
By Simen K. Frostad
Chairman of Bridge Technologies

S

78

por ts teams and athletic
competitors are constantly
searching for a performance
advantage through the cumulative
effect of dozens of small 'marginal
gains'.
Some of these gains are achieved
through rare and expensive
technologies, others through
diet and training, and some are
attitudinal and psychological.
At the top level of any competitive
endeavour, the opportunities for
establishing a clear lead over
rivals with any single 'magic wand'
solution are almost non-existent,
and competitors have to assume
that they are pitting themselves
against others who will almost
certainly be equally well-prepared
and well-equipped.
So if a team can train just a little
more effectively, follow a nutrition
plan that is just a little more effective,
use clothing that offers a tiny bit
less wind resistance, and keep its
members better informed about the
competition's tactics, and in a higher
state of morale...the accumulated
benefit of these gains could add up
to a real advantage, even though
each on its own might be negligible.
And since a team is made up of
people, the effectiveness of each
member and of the management
co-ordinating the team effort is a
critical part of the team's success,
or failure. No matter how advanced

the technology available to the
competitors, it takes the right
preparation, attitude and teamwork
to pull it all together.
What holds true for competition
in sports is also true in many areas
of business. In our industry we have
moved beyond the era in which the
high cost of technical solutions
determined which organisations
could afford to take the lead, and
which were among the also-rans.
The unmistakeable advantage
broadcaster X could once establish
over rivals by being the only user
(or at least the first user) of black
box Y has no real equivalent in our
current world of standardised IT
hardware, software licences and
cloud computing platforms. Now,
almost any media enterprise can
afford to implement a high-quality
technical solution that offers the
potential of big-league performance.
There are still of course differences
between solutions, and buyers have
to work harder than they did in the
black box era to understand how
one solution will deliver greater
benefits than another, when they
may look superficially similar.
Information, understanding of the
important issues, and an ability to
see through the marketing hype
are all very important. Box-ticking
is not enough. Discriminating
procurement skills are more vital
now than they were before, since

Bridge Technologies manufacture leading-edge technology

Infrastructure complexity provides 'infinite scope for inefficiencies'

system A may only be revealed to
be better than system B in realworld use over months and years,
rather than in a short-term trial.
The complexity of the
infrastructure that media providers
need to build today means that
there is almost infinite scope
for inefficiencies to creep in, for
horizons to be limited by lack of
adaptability, and for CAPEX and
OPEX to rise to dangerous levels.
Complexity is unavoidable because
of the proliferation of media delivery
types and viewing platforms, but
providers who don't manage to keep
their systems relatively simple and
well-integrated risk getting bogged
down and becoming uncompetitive.
Even with the right equipment
in place, and a well-integrated,
streamlined infrastructure running
smoothly with a high level of
interoperability between the
components, there's still the
challenge posed by continuous
evolution. From the perspective of
today, the 20th century world of
broadcasting appears a technically
stable place. Today, formats,
standards,
and markets
are in a state
of continual
flux,
and
whereas in the
black-box era
a piece of kit
would change
very little over
its working
life, today's
technical
solutions
are
likely
t o u n d e rg o
dozens and
p e r h a p s
hundreds
of upgrades
during the
ownership
cycle. And so

will most of the other components
that are linked together in the
infrastructure.
Like a Formula 1 car changing
from race to race, today's media
infrastructures are in a constant
state of evolution. This poses huge
business management challenges
because the buy-and-forget or
box-ticking approach to equipment
and infrastructure purchasing
will only result in decreasing
competitiveness over time. Not only
do the systems have to be kept up
to date with current upgrades and
enhancements, but workflows and
staff skills also have to be in a state
of continual renewal in order to stay
ahead of the wave.
At Bridge Technologies we
m a n u f a c t u re l e a d i n g - e d g e
technology, but when our customers
install our systems that is only
the beginning of the process. We
know from experience that with the
evolution the systems will undergo
over the ownership cycle, and with
the customer's inevitable changes
in personnel, there's always a risk
that the operator skills can fall
behind the technical capabilities
of the systems they are using. A
CTO can specify, test and choose
the best technical solution in the
world, but if twelve months later
the team that was trained to get
the best out of it has broken up and
moved on, it's almost guaranteed
the value that system brings to the
customer will be diminished.
In the search for the competitive
edge, all the marginal gains are
important - human skills no less
than technical capabilities. A
system that is designed to adapt
to continually changing operational
demands will itself be in a state of
change for much of its operational
life, so its owners and operators
can only get the best value out of
it if they keep themselves skilled up
and abreast of the technology.


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In Broadcast - June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - June 2014

In Broadcast - June 2014 - Intro
In Broadcast - June 2014 - Cover1
In Broadcast - June 2014 - Cover2
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 3
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 4
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 5
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 6
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 7
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 8
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 9
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 10
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 11
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 12
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 13
In Broadcast - June 2014 - 14
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In Broadcast - June 2014 - 79
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S1
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S2
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S3
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S4
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S5
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S6
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S7
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S8
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S9
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S10
In Broadcast - June 2014 - S11
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