Meet our Customer Fulfilment Engineer

Jordan Toner featured in TVBEurope’s “Meet The” Series where they talk to a range of people working within the media and entertainment industry about their average working day in their roles. The piece can be found online here.

Talk us through an average day in your role  

After completing my morning routine (which includes yoga!) one of my first tasks is to check on support calls that have come through overnight, followed by a regular catch up with my line manager and colleagues on the work to be prioritised and completed for that day. The work varies from a simple configuration of adding another channel to an existing system or helping to build a playout infrastructure from scratch for a new broadcast facility.

I then respond to emails following up on questions from existing customers or requests from our solution architects team detailing future work that will come our way which needs to be planned for.

Some days I’m involved in a kick-off meeting which provides vital information on what is needed for a customer and the timeframe for delivery, others I’m solving the challenge of a complex configuration at a customer site – so looking at the type of channel they play out and the hardware they use to do this alongside our software and then identifying what changes/fixes need to be made to the hardware so that the channel continues to play out successfully. And then there are days where I’m working on a full technology refresh, which means installing new servers whilst ensuring the customers’ channel/s stay on air – which is quite the challenge. A tech refresh like this happens in one day!

As you can imagine, working on so many different projects concurrently means that every day is very different!

How did you get started in the media industry? 

My first job was as a warehouse assistant for a live events company. I helped to design the live events in the warehouse itself, recreating the “event” locally; my main duties being to test all the kit which ranged from lighting, safety bonds, audio desks (testing faders) microphones, cabling, cameras and finally stress testing the truss.

My next role was working for BFBS as a junior broadcast engineer. I remember my first task was fixing an uplink van – which was quite old! From there, I was then given the task to update the facility’s Scala archive system, taking it from the older LTO4 to the newer LTO6 tape generation. I also had to install a whole new robot and chassis as well as a light web interface. At the time, BFBS were using Pebble’s Integrated Channel solution which is how I first heard about Pebble!

I also worked for a number of systems integrators to help design and build large-scale production facilities worldwide, the most memorable being for the BBC Lagos Bureau in Nigeria. I experienced a very different side of the world and met some very interesting people; friends I keep in touch with even now.

After some time with TSL, I then moved on to Blackmagic Design as a technical sales specialist for broadcast, where I built a mini production facility in a van and drove it across 12 countries in Europe in eight weeks!

After my time at Blackmagic, I worked on a project for Google Deep Mind to build the best video conferencing facility possible. The backbone of the facility was MTP trunked fibre, enabling a full UHD SMPTE 2110 system – it was all IP, with no SDI at all – across multiple sets of meeting rooms with AI controlled cameras, Shure directional microphones and speakers in the ceilings. This was also recreated in an amphitheatre for a video conferencing experience straight out of the year 3000!

What training did you have before entering the industry? 

I took a two-year college course in Media Studies aged 16, but didn’t return back to education until I was 23. In between, I spent two years working as a 999 call taker for the Ambulance Service, but I eventually went on to study Media Technology at the University of Salford – a big shout out for Laurence Murphy who is the lead lecturer and head of technology there! He undoubtedly helped me land my first job.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry? 

Because I’m a geek first and foremost! I’d describe myself as a technologist – I like the “cutting edge-ness” of it all. I’ve worked on some varied projects in my career so far but never have I worked for a company before with so much trust and freedom like I do at here at Pebble. For me it’s the place to be! And I have a fantastic line manager who is very supportive. The industry itself is constantly evolving and there are various debates about the next best thing such as 8K HDR with whispers of 16K on the horizon. 

It’s also about the people too – especially at Pebble. I recently mentored my colleague Anisa which was really interesting. Having the perspective of a ‘fresh green’ engineer who was testing my knowledge was great because she wasn’t afraid to ask questions and it was really rewarding to play a pivotal role in her development. It’s nice to have someone that you can pass your knowledge on to and challenging the way you do things by constantly checking up on your knowledge. I really enjoy working with my colleagues and all in all I think the team we have at Pebble are the best around!

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours? 

Be sure this is what you want to invest your time in because it is a challenging job, a lifestyle choice – but one that is incredibly rewarding at the same. You need to enjoy the challenge and you will want to solve the problems this industry is facing. Be prepared to learn lots and continue to learn lots! If you give it everything, it will give you so much in return in terms of industry experience but also general life experience – it’s the nature of a broadcast engineering role. No other role like it in the industry!


What does interoperability mean to you?

Looking for ways to diversify your hybrid cloud playout and facilitate IP transition? Meet Pebble, your expert partner helping you take control of your connectivity

Interoperability is ‘the ability of different systems, devices or applications to connect and communicate in a coordinated way without effort from the end user’¹. In other words: the more your systems enable devices and applications to seamlessly interact with each other, the greater your claim can be to provide a totally interoperable solution.

It’s important to understand that the term differs from the basic concept of applications being interconnected, instead deriving from the idea that they are communicating meaningfully and intelligently, exchanging information independently between applications and/or devices.


There are many reasons for maintaining a hybrid IP/SDI environment, especially when trying to achieve interoperability. It acts as a zero-baggage approach, keeping your options decisively open when potential re-evaluations crop up later down the line. Growth plans can change, but the beauty of IP is that you’re left with that innate ability to increase channels, broaden system or network sizes, add services and upgrade to new resolutions and solutions.

Choosing a control system is the most important piece to that IP facility puzzle. It dictates what devices you can work with, as well as the types of workflows that will sit on top of that control system.

Having recently won the M&E Best in Market 2022 award for Pebble Control Free, Pebble boasts over 22 years of experience in playout automation. Its origins are in controlling VTRs, cart machines and routers. And now its latest solutions are designed to control networked devices and create flexible workflows for virtualised playout. Pebble technology is used by an international customer base having brought thousands of channels to air – reliably.

With Pebble Control Free, you can make 15 simultaneous input and output connections. You can also have up to 50 active inputs and outputs from multiple devices, running on one host with one software panel.

For those with legacy devices, Pebble Control Free has a Legacy Router Emulation feature – a virtual router that sits on top of all the inputs, outputs and containers. This allows you to map resources into sources and destinations, just as you would in a normal router.

Pebble Control has been designed with an empowered mission: to solve challenges caused by the uncertainty that comes with IP assignment. It does so in a way that’s independent, cost-effective and – most importantly – retains interoperability.


Pebble is a pioneering voice in an industry-wide regulatory debate. It participates in the NMOS Steering Committee and chairs the NMOS Modelling activity, ensuring interoperability of any installed IP devices. Following these open standards will then support the industry to move away from using proprietary protocols and adopt an interoperable approach. Collectively, we need to be responsible for easing the pain of using multiple devices for various workflows.

¹ techtarget.com/searchapparchitecture/definition/interoperability

Read the article directly on FEED magazine HERE.


Two Key Concepts in the Transition to IP Media Workflows

Full page article for TV Technology written by Pebble CTO, Miroslav Jeras:

Maintaining a hybrid IP/SDI environment leaves options open for the future

Whether we are talking about the cloud, the shape of our new working lives, or the migration toward IP workflows, one of the main words you will hear around the industry now is “hybrid.” 

It’s an important concept; while the future of broadcast is based on transitioning to native IP environments, that does not have to be a “big bang” solution. Rather it can be a steady migration, one where the industry moves through several transition stages to reach the goal at the end of the roadmap.

Gracefully Moving Forward
The destination is not in doubt. IP allows broadcasters to scale and adapt easily, quickly spin up new services to meet changing audience demands for content, and flexibly configure and manage devices and workflows. It is where we want to be. However, not everybody is in a position to move at the same speed to this SDI-free future, and so there are distinct benefits to allowing the current hybrid IP/SDI infrastructures that we are seeing taking shape in the industry to flourish.

Maintaining a hybrid IP/SDI environment leaves options open for the future and ensures that broadcasters do not have to commit to an infrastructure investment in what are, by any stretch of the imagination, turbulent times. Once plans coalesce then the move can be consolidated, but if current plans are set for the foreseeable future while longer-term steps are not yet in focus, then SDI co-existing with IP is still a practical solution.

In some respects and in some types of equipment, it is a case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” SDI may remain the best choice, for now at least, for certain types of equipment and technologies, or for organizations of certain sizes and budget levels. The use of the SMPTE ST 2110 protocol (the set of SMPTE standards for sending digital media over an IP network) in a hybrid system means it is also easy to manipulate separate video, audio and ancillary data streams, providing IP-style benefits even with legacy setups.

There does, however, need to be a degree of forward-thinking at work here. 

Existing SDI-based control systems should be upgradeable to control IP sections in an ideal world as well. If they lie outside this remit, then companies need to determine if that will be handled by an IP control system (for instance, Pebble Control), which would then interface with the legacy SDI system. This type of integrated control solution can bridge the gap between IP and SDI, with both SDI and IP inputs and outputs offered in a single solution to support hybrid infrastructures.

Many organizations are transitioning to IP-based systems using their existing SDI infrastructure, which can create isolated areas of IP. These organizations must consider how to integrate IP into their current infrastructure and bridge between these resulting islands in order to move forward and eventually convert everything to IP. Which brings us to another key concept in the ongoing transition; interoperability.

The Importance of Interoperability
Interoperability is one of the key enablers of a smooth transition to IP workflows. To achieve true IP workflows, interoperability is essential to unlocking the benefits of using off-the-shelf IP networking technology to route signals from any source to any number of destinations on a network.

Interoperability describes the ability of an application or device to interact meaningfully and exchange information with another separately developed application or device. There is a difference between open protocols, proprietary protocols and closed protocols. Some companies add their own protocols, which can increase the difficulty of device integration.

For interoperability where multiple vendors are involved, which is everywhere nowadays as the old model of monolithic single-vendor installations has disappeared in the rearview mirror, sticking to standards and best practices is crucial.

There are two key points to talk about when it comes to accelerating IP deployments: the previously mentioned SMPTE ST 2110 and the AMWA¹ Networked Media Open Specifications (NMOS) suite of protocols. Together, these two advancements further the way IP networks transport media including uncompressed video, PCM audio and ancillary data that are carried over separate routable streams, as well as device connection management on a network.

Essentially, these protocols help join those islands together, now and in the future. Many manufacturers, Pebble included, are working within the SMPTE and NMOS protocols to simplify establishing IP native workflows. Interoperability also requires working with legacy and current systems and in this case, compliance with industry protocols produces definite benefits. For example, the ability to emulate legacy index-based matrices or routers means any IO or container can be connected using an SDI router protocol.

All this makes the hybrid IP/SDI environment possible and provides seamless backwards and future compatibility, regardless of an organization’s scale and scope. It enables an organization to migrate towards the IP future at the speed that suits them rather than having it imposed on them via external factors.

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Pebble to showcase its market-leading integrated solutions at ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium 2023

Epsom, Surrey, UK, 01 March 2023: Pebble, the leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, is delighted to confirm its presence at this year’s Digital Broadcasting Symposium hosted by Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU). This leading industry event is taking place at The Royale Chulan in Kuala Lumpur, between 7th-9th March 2023. Pebble will be at stand #42-43 with their channel partner in Malaysia, Tiara Vision.

As a proud member of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union, the company’s presence at the show will strengthen its relationships with local partners and discuss its long-term vision and strategy for the region.  

Pebble will be showcasing demos of its integrated solutions services including Pebble’s market-leading playout automation and integrated channel solutions, as well as its award-winning IP connection management tool, Pebble Control, and monitoring tool Pebble Remote.  

Built specifically to enable broadcasters to make the leap to an all-IP facility without the need to deploy a bespoke enterprise solution, Pebble Control is a self-contained, scalable and easy-to-configure IP connection management system. Its freemium version – Pebble Control Free – was launched last year and enables broadcasters and production facilities of any size to try out many of Pebble Control’s functionalities and upskill their teams whilst they contemplate their first steps into IP.

Pebble Remote, a tool for web-based monitoring and control of Pebble’s Automation solution in the cloud as well as on-premises, provides 24/7 secure remote access to mission-critical control of playlists, as well as consolidating control access across several playout sites. Designed to support systems that comprise multiple channels, Pebble Remote has helped many broadcasters easily navigate the challenges of working beyond the normal boundaries of a playout facility.

Samir Isbaih, VP of sales Middle East and APAC at Pebble commented: “We’re thrilled to participate in ABU DBS, a prominent event in the broadcasting industry calendar that caters to APAC audiences. Our partnership with Tiara Vision is significant to us and we look forward to meeting new clients as well as our esteemed customers in person and reconnecting with industry peers.”

Danial Ahmad, Project Director at Tiara Vision, said: “We are excited to once again participate in ABU, which is a significant event for us, and to share a booth with Pebble and other industry partners. We intend to make the most of this opportunity and eagerly anticipate welcoming everyone to our stand.”



The role of standards in the hybrid era

Full page article in February 2023 issue of BroadcastPro Middle East.

As far as meta trends go, the migration towards IP workflows has been one of the most fundamental changes the industry has seen for many decades. It has resulted in a variety of different challenges that affect all parts and all levels of media businesses, with compatibility and interconnection being a significant part of this. No workflow is an island, and the importance of interoperability has only skyrocketed as organisations look to move beyond black boxes and proprietary systems to the format-agnostic, and even COTS-based workflows that IP enables.

Workflows based on interoperable paradigms (the ability of an application or device to interact and exchange information with another application or device from another manufacturer) leverage the best features of all technologies in the chain. In an ideal world, this results in a seamless, flexible, and highly adaptable workflow. It also highlights the key metric of scalability that all media organisations seek to ensure that further growth can proceed unconstrained.

However, interoperability is unfortunately unevenly distributed throughout the broadcast chain. Broadcasters want to build solutions which are made up of the best-in-class components, but all too frequently the use of a proprietary protocol results in vendor lock-in as they are forced down the path of a one-size-fits-all solution. And in instances where different protocols are deployed even a small amount of drift from one component in the chain can lead to distinct problems in the workflow with sometimes disruptive workarounds being required to accommodate them.

It’s clear that standards are crucial when building any system that is based on interoperable functions between different manufacturers’ equipment, and two industry standards have been developed to advance the adoption of IP deployments: SMPTE 2110 – the set of SMPTE standards for the transport of digital media over an IP network – and the NMOS (Networked Media Open Specifications) suite of specifications, which also ensures easy device connection management on a network, something fraught with multiple perils that were never envisaged by the builders of SDI networks in the past.

Happily, both standards have gained traction through the industry fairly rapidly, and multiple vendors, including ourselves, are working to implement them in their product ranges to help simplify the establishment of IP workflows. We are all collectively ensuring that solutions are developed with the requirements of these protocols’ architecture in mind, and integrating their future roadmaps into the ones that plot our own developmental routes. It’s in all manufacturers’ best interests to recognise the momentum and importance of these standards, as they are helping to build out IP workflows much more quickly than would happen in any completely unstandardised industry. Solutions based on these protocols benefit from enhanced reliability and ease of use, whilst also enabling future expansion to accommodate increased scale and complexity.

They are very rarely being deployed, however, in completely IP-centric instances. We are in what can be termed a transition stage, a hybrid era, where interoperability also requires seamless interconnection with legacy systems. As some of these deployments can include some of the aforementioned interoperable ‘kludges’ that sit on top of proprietary systems, it is more important than ever for protocol compliance to be maintained. Keeping within the constraints of the protocols helps make certain that significant time and expense are not wasted when the implementation of a workflow design fails to live up to expectations.

One crucial area where the implementation of standards in the broadcast industry is proving beneficial, is with the increasing number of cloud deployments. The pivot to the cloud was already underway before the pandemic took hold and it has only accelerated since, with companies unwilling to specify costly on-prem IP infrastructure that might end up being isolated from its necessary workforce. The desire for remote operation where possible has also increased massively while the benefits of cloud workflows (scalability, opex cost basis, faster, iterations, et cetera) make their own cases.

The pandemic has also introduced a fault line in approaches to the way new installations are built. Wholly IP-based facilities were typically commissioned pre-pandemic when costs were less of a consideration. The economic downturn since, and caution around any future economic headwinds, have led to a more pragmatic approach which sees a mixture of IP and SDI equipment coexist as part of an overall staged IP implementation. This is liable to be the prevailing strategy at least until the current economic and resource crisis is over.

It is still important, however, to plan for an IP-native future. While current installations may be hybrid, they will not be that way forever, and ensuring that the transition from this current implementation to the future IP one is as seamless as possible is key. Again, this is where standards come into play, providing backwards and forwards compatibility, regardless of scale, scope, and future roadmaps. Growth is enabled throughout an organisation as a result, with flexibility to both evolve and adapt inherent in the architecture.

And if recent years have taught the industry anything, it is that that degree of agility and adaptation is extremely beneficial to the ongoing survival of every media business.

The article can be viewed on the electronic version of the magazine on Page 32 HERE.