IBM > Case Studies > High-Speed Transfers and Automation: BT Sport's New Production Hub

High-Speed Transfers and Automation: BT Sport's New Production Hub

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Technology Category
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - Backup & Recovery
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) - Application Development Platforms
Applicable Industries
  • Buildings
  • Cement
Applicable Functions
  • Facility Management
  • Logistics & Transportation
Use Cases
  • Last Mile Delivery
  • Search & Rescue
Services
  • System Integration
The Challenge
BT Sport, a collection of sports channels offered by the BT Group in the UK, needed a high-speed file transfer solution to support ad hoc ingest and distribution as well as power automated data replication to an offsite data recovery center. The vision of BT Sport could only be realized with a new, state of the art broadcast facility. Timeline Television, BT Sport's technical partner, had less than six months to build out the broadcast centre from an empty shell into a 24 hour-a-day operation, including the simultaneous roll-out of a fully automated disaster recovery system. They quickly identified the need for a robust, high-speed transfer platform from a trusted vendor, to power the intense file-based production workflows and meet the project’s aggressive timescale. The platform needed to support secure high-speed transfer at multi-gigabit speeds, allow fully automated end-to-end workflows including ad hoc content ingest, review, approval and distribution, and offer reliable, secure data replication of petabytes of media from BT Sport’s main site in London’s iCITY to the disaster recovery and continuity facilities located at the iconic BT Tower.
About The Customer
Launched in August of 2013, BT Sport is a new collection of sports channels offered by the BT Group in the UK. BT’s surprise move into the pay TV market with new world-class technical facilities and cutting-edge file-based technologies saw the largest shake-up of the UK sports broadcasting industry in decades. Comprising BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, and ESPN UK, the broadcaster provides top-tier coverage of the English Premier League football, Aviva Premiership Rugby, French, Spanish and German top-tier league football, WTA tennis and a host of other European and international sport. Timeline Television, a leading provider of broadcast technology and services in the UK, provided the broadcast infrastructure for BT Sport, including managing the end-to-end design and build of the production hub.
The Solution
Timeline Television settled on Aspera, an IBM company, as the only vendor that offered an enterprise-grade platform capable of bringing together each of these requirements. Aspera provided a full suite of software including Aspera Orchestrator for complete workflow automation, Aspera faspex for ad hoc ingest and distribution, Aspera Sync for high-performance replication to the DR site, and Aspera Console for centralized management and control over the entire transfer environment. High-speed data replication between BT’s new facility and the mirror system at BT Tower enables essential disaster recovery and full redundancy, and allows BT Tower to act as a satellite production facility if required. Production content and metadata, originated at either site, is immediately synchronized via Aspera Sync. In the event of a disaster, production can resume at the second site, ensuring a rapid return to business-as-usual. BT Sport uses Aspera faspex and Aspera Orchestrator to deliver material from production units in the field directly to the edit suite, maximizing edit-time for crucial fast-turnaround stories; to send programming to journalists and executives for review; and to receive and ingest production elements from production houses, programme makers and outside broadcasts around the world.
Operational Impact
  • With Aspera, BT Sport can transport large media files at the highest possible speeds and in single sessions. BT Sport now maximizes bandwidth between the two sites, ensuring business continuity with near-zero recovery time – which would not have been possible without Aspera. Thanks to Aspera’s ability to integrate easily with any third-party solutions, as well as Aspera’s previous experience successfully collaborating with EVS, Timeline Television was able to deliver a tightly integrated solution for BT Sport’s complex workflow in under six months, making this project one of the largest and quickest broadcast installations in the industry. Other notable benefits include easy integration with any third-party platform, so Timeline Television was able to complete a smooth integration with EVS, Harmonic MediaGrid and Avid Interplay. The active / active Aspera deployment with high-speed replication enables full business continuity at the BTT DR site.
Quantitative Benefit
  • BT Sport maximizes bandwidth, achieving 5 Gbps transfers between their headquarters and the disaster recovery center.
  • Up to 40TB/day of live feeds, rushes and produced content synchronized with DR site.
  • Remote management of all BT Tower facilities from iCity allowing BT Tower to act as satellite production facility.

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