Pebble Beach Systems Announces Marina Migration Pack for Seamless Transition from Legacy Broadcast Automation Systems

Supports additional descriptive and timing metadata, plus dynamic database links between new and legacy databases 

At NAB 2016, on booth N5323, Pebble Beach Systems,a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist,today announced the immediate availability of the Marina Migration Pack, a plugin framework that ensures a seamless transition from legacy broadcast automation systems to the powerful Marina automation system.

As legacy automation systems reach end-of-life, broadcasters and multi-channel originators want to take advantage of the flexibility and power of centralized, software-based automation systems. However, many are concerned about migrating years of accumulated data from their legacy system database to a new automation system. For any organization, having a hard cutover to an entirely new system comes with considerable risk. Are all staff adequately trained? Is it really necessary to change every component at once?

Legacy broadcast automation databases often contain descriptive and timing metadata for hundreds of thousands of clips. Much of the descriptive data input by operators is considered critical to the successful use of the asset. Just as important, is metadata that describes the timing information. When an asset is ingested, an operator must determine the true start time, skipping any garbage frames, and true end time for clean playback. Segment timings for breaks are equally important. Both the descriptive and timing metadata are stored in the legacy database, but if the data is lost during translation to the new automation system, control operators can’t guarantee a clean broadcast output. Obviously, having personnel re-analyze and re-mark all clips in the new database is unsustainable.

“The ease in which we migrated all the data from our legacy ADC system to Pebble’s Marina shortened the time span between installing the automation system and being on the air with it,” said Gordon Bell, SVP Engineering, Operations and IT at KCET. “Without the Pebble migration tools and assistance of their highly responsive team, we would not have made our aggressive switch-over date.”

With the Marina Migration Pack, not only is all metadata crucial to the description and playback of assets transferred, but an active database bridge is also created between both systems to keep the systems in sync and enable them to run in parallel.

“Our approach to migration is unique: having an engineer show up and run a one-time database conversion process is not a solution for most customers,” says Eric Openshaw, General Manager of Pebble North America. “We realize that hard cutovers are unrealistic and overly burdensome, so the method we provide keeps the legacy database and Marina database constantly synchronized, running in parallel, ensuring operations can make a well orchestrated transition on their own terms, in their own time.”

Part of a framework developed by Pebble Beach Systems, the Marina Migration Pack includes playlist readers and AsRun writers for various formats including the BXF standard. For legacy Sundance systems, the Migration Pack includes the ability to import media/macro associations. The Migration Pack plugins maintain a live link between databases and associated metadata, so that any additional information ingested with the legacy system is automatically and immediately transferred to the new Marina system. Metadata changes in pre-existing media on legacy systems are also transferred. In this way, both automation systems can stay actively in sync enabling a methodical and gradual transition on a schedule that suits the operation, not the technology. If required, such a link can create a permanent hybrid enabling both systems to co-exist indefinitely.

Operator change management is another key consideration during system migration. Pebble Beach Systems has extensive experience migrating users from ADC, Omnibus, and Sundance automation systems. The Marina UI layout can be configured to closely mimic a legacy system UI to aid in initial training and uninterrupted operation. With time, additional data and augmented feature sets can be revealed to operators by the system’s administrators. User log-on determines the UI presentation for each operator interfacing with Marina from master control operators, ingest and prep operators, engineering staff, to specialized layout UIs for live events.

Support for BXF enables organizations to standardize their data exchange with traffic systems while direct API integration with third party MAM systems enables retention of existing workflows.