NEW YORK CITY—Pacific Television Center (PacTV), a Los Angeles-based independent global transmission and production company, has created a Disaster Recovery Best Practices Team to ensure the continued operations of its New York-based facility, drawing on lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, which struck the Northeast a year ago.
PacTV New York's recently renovated master control room
PacTV New York, which had to wrestle with limited power, fuel and resources during the storm, created the team with the goal of future-proofing its engineering, communications and facilities. After examining its existing generator and backup power systems, the team chose to install a natural gas power unit that, while providing a quiet source of electricity, would be clean-burning and a continuous fuel choice regardless of road conditions in the city. In addition, while keeping with PacTV New York’s transmission facility and studio service requirements, they also chose a unit that would provide efficient performance in the event that utility services were absent for an extended period of time, such as the case with Hurricane Sandy.
In addition to the facility’s power needs, its network controls were also a topic for improvement. In response, PacTV New York designed its hub around Grass Valley routers set up for remote access, allowing it to be controlled from PacTV Los Angeles. Due to its efficiency, PacTV’s Washington D.C. hub was built with the same idea in mind and integrated into the PacTV Network.
The team also needed to find alternate paths for future transmissions and those in progress, such as third party connectivity lines, and pinpointing points of the network that could become the vulnerable piece of the puzzle. “PacTV New York is one of the few broadcast facilities connected to all the major video hubs in New York (The Switch, Encompass, Azzurro, Vyvx and Zayo),” said Vinnie Nguyen, branch manager, PacTV New York. “If a feed can’t physically get into our building because of a natural disaster, we now have alternative access points into our network.
Communication was also a serious challenge throughout the storm for PacTV. In order to improve this, the company chose a new phone system that has the ability to manage communications from any PacTV facility. That way, the PacTV teams in Los Angeles, London and New York can help each other in times of need. In addition, the company’s new cloud-based email system and a new remote access to the Scheduall bookings system, allows operators and bookings to communicate off-site.