Remotely configurable features including automatic playlist loading help broadcasters adapt to remote working during COVID-19 pandemic
Weybridge, UK, 3rd April 2020 – Pebble Beach Systems, the leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, has an unrivalled track record in delivering specialist solutions to meet the automated ingest, content management and playout requirements of the international broadcast community.
During the current crisis remote access and operation are under the spotlight like never before. Broadcasters are looking for secure, easily deployed ways in which they can ensure continuity of service.
For owners of Pebble’s Marina automation platform, the Auto List Loader feature helps ensure that programming isn’t interrupted, and that playlists are loaded reliably and automatically regardless of where the system’s operators are situated.
The Auto List Loader, which can be remotely configured on Marina systems by Pebble engineers, enables broadcasters to run a process loading files from a local drive, or a network share, automatically into Marina. This ensures the playlists remain updated without operator intervention being required. Marina simply polls a watch folder to check for ‘triggers’, that is playlist files, events, or blocks of events which meet pre-defined criteria, and these are then appended to the playlist.
As the global health crisis escalates, remote working has become mandatory around the globe. French culture channel ARTE relies on Pebble’s Marina solution for its playout operations, including the management of playlists across multiple locations and countries. Their team also uses Pebble’s web-based Lighthouse solution to monitor ARTE’s playlists in a consolidated view within a web browser, whether at the broadcast facility or remotely and securely from their homes.
In light of the changing global circumstances, ARTE approached Pebble to expand its Lighthouse deployment to adapt its offering. Pebble responded by promptly adding new user accounts for the operators and the maintenance team, allowing them complete access to view playlists, timelines and statistics from their respective remote working locations. ARTE has also deployed the Channel Exception Monitor, which gives a consolidated view of any playlist errors across all channels, enabling early intervention if, for example, media is missing, or there are timing errors or invalid metadata in the list.
Additionally, early last week, one of Pebble’s customers based in Spain, a service provider handling playout for 25 channels, was advised that the entire team was to work remotely from Tuesday onwards. This gave them less than 24 hours to transfer the control of all of their playout operations to staff working from home.
Pebble’s engineers acted immediately to provide access to the Dolphin integrated channel device remotely, adding a compressed IP output to the pre-existing SDI output, all within same channel pipeline. They were able to configure most of the software whilst the preview channel was running. The Pebble team succeeded in making this happen by end of day Monday, and the operators have been reviewing content, graphics and subtitles remotely since.
“The situation during the ongoing global health crisis changes daily. We’re all having to make adjustments and adapt to this new reality in many new ways,” says Peter Mayhead, CEO at Pebble Beach Systems. “In testing times where unlimited access to facilities, and even free movement, can no longer be taken for granted, broadcasters are looking for ways in which they can ensure continuity of service and Pebble is here to help.”