Sky News Arabia’s News Operations Center (NOC) Relies on ScheduALL
Sky News Arabia is a new 24-hour, Arabic-language rolling news channel broadcasting in HD quality from Abu Dhabi to the Arab world. A joint venture between Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (ADMIC) and the UK’s BSkyB, the channel offers fresh, fast and independent news across multiple media platforms to audiences in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The contract to implement the required infrastructure for Sky News Arabia was awarded to Broadcast Systems Integrator TSL in early 2011 and included ScheduALL software as a key integration component. TSL has been involved in various projects in the Middle East such as Orbit Showtime Network, CNBC Pakistan and First Media. The Sky News Arabia facility is one of the largest and most advanced News Centers in the Middle East.
Broadcasts will be transmitted in both SD and HD and across multiple media platforms including online, smartphone and tablet applications. The new production facility represents the state-of- the-art in television and online news for the regional and global broadcast industry.
TSL was contracted to create a tapeless, fully file-based facility that would bring a level of automation to the News Operation Center (NOC) that has not been achieved anywhere else in the world. The system includes a fully integrated cross vendor booking solution which requires an automated open interface between the various systems being installed.
The Middle East is leading the world in the development/implementation of media hubs and media technology. “Sky News Arabia wanted to maximize the automation between hardware and software to create the most advanced NOC in the world,” said Andy Appleyard, Sr. Project Manager at TSL. “They needed the best in breed interoperability software to accomplish the reliable automation. That’s where we knew we needed to bring in ScheduALL.”
ScheduALL’s interoperability platform Chorus allows SNA’s independent control systems to effectively communicate and work together – from initial feed request to ingest control. The advanced automation that is supported by Chorus includes a complete bi-directional path that sets up the communication between disparate systems like Miranda, Broadcast Bionics, Paradigm and Harris across the facility. Implementation is fast and easy due to Chorus. “ScheduALL’s brilliant interoperability capabilities are most definitely a contributing factor to this project following the plan and the projected timeline,” said Appleyard.
Sky News Arabia was looking for ERM (Enterprise Resource Management) software, superior in its allocation of people and equipment. This would allow the entire newsroom to acquire additional ‘found’ time to cover more news stories and not be hung up on old administrative processes or multi-tasking between different systems. “ScheduALL allows you to be flexible and get the most out of the hardware and software, so that you can be more effective with your resources,” said Bevan Gibson, Launch Technical Director for Sky News Arabia.
The project team at Sky News Arabia was keenly aware of ScheduALL’s capabilities and reputation via their worldwide client base. Their presence in that region alone includes local clients such as DMI, MBC and the Al Jazeera network
Gibson knew that development time would be reduced because of the fast integration and interoperability capabilities that ScheduALL allows between the many complex and disparate systems being installed. The turn-key configuration that ScheduALL offers with its Chorus module would eliminate the need for single-vendor interfaces during implementation, saving substantial time and money during the process.
“ScheduALL and its Chorus module benefit the entire industry. One system can talk to the mix of devices we brought into this project, and the ScheduALL software could easily create the level of automation we were striving for,” stated Gibson.
ScheduALL was the definitive answer to TSL’s need for integrated scheduling, since the software provides connectivity and accelerated workflow between the systems across this new state-of-the-art facility. “By bringing ScheduALL in at an early stage of Sky News Arabia’s bidding process, we felt like we set ourselves apart from the competition in a highly competitive marketplace by integrating their software into the facility,” said Appleyard.
The benefits of ScheduALL became abundantly clear once testing and implementation at the Sky News Arabia broadcast facility began:
The implementation of ScheduALL streamlines the increasingly complex environment of a modern file based workflow as used at Sky News Arabia’s NOC. ScheduALL prevents duplication of data, in turn reducing human errors, automating workflow and giving a small team of operators the ability to process large numbers of bookings through a wide range of complex machines. This now enables Sky New Arabia to react to breaking news stories faster than ever before.
ScheduALL’s core product is a powerful and scalable Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) system that for 23 years has been the number one scheduling, tracking and reporting choice of the world’s most successful broadcast, media and entertainment organizations.
The ease of building project workflows for users of ScheduALL and the automation of redundant tasks are just some of the features of the software that are benefiting operations throughout Sky News Arabia’s staff. “The simple and elegant user interface and smooth implementation has prompted Sky News Arabia to start adding additional modules of ScheduALL across the enterprise,” Said Appleyard.
The ScheduALL core system has the ability to interface with back-office human resource and ERP systems, creating a 360-degree cost control and reporting functionality that drives unparalleled business analysis and increased efficiencies.
Equipped with ScheduALL software, journalists, editors and producers who are located anywhere in the Sky News Arabia facility are now able to find out when feeds are scheduled, and to check real-time status. In addition to improving awareness of feeds for production, the improvements in the workflow and reporting is easing the burden on control room staff and administrators.
As Sky News Arabia continues to look to increase overall efficiency across their news broadcast environment, the channel can take advantage of ScheduALL’s cross-departmental management tools. ScheduALL listens to their client feedback and, with Chorus, has developed software that is compatible with virtually any system across the enterprise. As the software is implemented across Sky News Arabia, additional benefits to departments like Finance, HR, Sales and Executive Management will be realized
“ScheduALL’s brilliant interoperability capabilities are most definitely a contributing factor to this project following the plan and the projected timeline.”