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Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability…and Accessibility

It is no longer enough for data and processes to confirm to CIA principles. We need to add another A to CIA to make it CIAA. That is one of the most important lessons of 2020.

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This year, 2020, has been a revelation, a shock and a disruptor of many businesses, business models, business processes and has caused vast individual pain. It has also presented an opportunity for new ideas, new businesses, and new processes to take over. In that respect, the pandemic shock has not been any different from the various stages of development that mankind has seen in the past. In a way, the pandemic has hastened the 4th industrial revolution of automation of processes. It has hastened the use of new age tools to reduce touch points between machines/systems/processes and humans by attempting to automate process steps and decision making.

The broadcast television sector has not been immune to this onslaught of change. The whole industry went into overdrive to adjust to maintain “business-as-usual” posture. This was not a simple question of business continuity. It was also a question of people safety and people continuity. Many broadcasters struggled yet came out victorious in the struggle to get people to continue to work and deliver their responsibilities on time.

Broadcast television whether a satellite or an IP (OTT) based product depend on hardwired infrastructure and facilities to deliver the quality of product that viewers demand from content producers. Creative staff and technical support personnel have always worked at close quarters to keep the content engine chugging away.

When facilities got locked down, when personnel could not reach work premises, transport was down, travel was banned, companies had to scramble to get remote working going. Many technical teams used a combination of products and services to keep their operations running. It was a success of human endeavor and ingenuity that facilities and production kept working throughout the different stages of the human epidemic from lockdown to gradual reopening. The new challenge and the new normal will be to ensure continuity of people, talent and access to material, equipment, processes and be able to create content – both live and non-live. Clearly, the route points to the cloud for resilience, availability, and mobility. Processes hosted on public cloud will be more resilient, be generally more available and will allow people to work from anywhere without any disruptions – even when large geographical areas as shut down.

This disruption of moving from hardware plus on-premise equipment plus hardware-based production to software based everything will be essential to survival of the industry for continuity of all business outcomes. There will be challenges in the present with content size, transfer times, streaming and storage infrastructure sizing and many others, but most cloud providers have solved most of these challenges and have answered most questions. They have worked with small to large broadcast organisations like Times Network and are getting best practices in place for all broadcast functions and businesses. From content acquisition to access to production to storage to distribution, all broadcast workflows for both live, non-live and for all distribution media – satellite to OTT are being re-engineered for more resilience and accessibility. Giving your people access to their functions has become the operative essence of many organization – small to large. With human interaction and mobility constrained and restricted, we are being forced to reimagine the way we interact with our colleagues, our machines, and our data.

At Times Network, we have managed to bridge the gap between keeping production on and protecting our people. With the top-most priority given by senior leadership to protecting people, the executive management of Times Network setup mobility capability for most functions in the organization with great success. Conversion of storage, transmission, production, access and to access over IP networks, routing IP signals to homes, hotels, and remote offices, converting hardware products to their software equivalents all helped to make this transition smooth, effective and path breaking. The future of broadcasting is in software defined and IP supported processes. Gear up!

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