Automation sees increased focus on the parallel delivery of content to multiple platforms

Larry Mincer and Mike Dilworth of VDS weigh in about the state of the automation market in the weeks leading up to NAB2007.

This week, Automation Technology Update talked to Larry Mincer and Mike Dilworth of VDS about how they see the broadcast automation market in 2007.

ATU: Are you expecting any changes in broadcast automation this year?

VDS: The trend toward more sophisticated automation solutions with an increased emphasis on workflow and content/asset management will continue. We also expect that the automation solution providers will have an increased focus on the parallel delivery of content to multiple platforms, including traditional broadcast as well as mobile and IPTV applications. For VDS, this means greater use of our products, which greatly extend the utility of legacy station automation products as well as current offerings.

ATU: Do you see any trends emerging in the design and implementation of automation systems?

VDS: One trend we see is the tighter integration between the traffic and automation systems. In the past, a schedule might be exported from the traffic system to the automation system at most a few times per day. There is a push underway to provide real-time feedback from the automation system to the traffic system, so that changes can be made on-the-fly. With tighter integration, ad space available for a specific time slot could be sold at a point close to airtime. Likewise, a show promo could be programmed into the traffic system or edited at a moment's notice and inserted into the automation system playlist immediately.

ATU: Are you expecting to see innovations at NAB?

VDS: We expect to see increased use of IT-based technologies in automation system offerings. File-based systems using commercial IT hardware and software components are becoming more feasible for high-end broadcast applications.

ATU: Do you see the rise of IPTV impacting automation?

VDS: IPTV is more software-centric than traditional TV broadcasting, so we expect automation of IPTV to follow suit. What this means is that fewer hardware devices with dedicated functions will be required. Instead, software applications running on commercial IT hardware components will manage the ingest, storage, assembly and delivery of content. At the same time, the APIs and control interfaces for station automation systems will also benefit from increased functionality and control, allowing third parties to offer clients application-specific solutions.

ATU: What about mobile TV?

VDS: Mobile TV is simply another source and destination to an automated broadcast. As a source, it can provide video content as well as data in the form of SMS polls and text, or MMS rich media including stills and video clips.

Alternatively, the broadcast schedule, promos and content can be pushed to mobile TV on an automated basis as needed.

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