The Future of Broadcast Engineering: Navigating the Cloud Computing Revolution

The growing demand for hybrid skills

Both Ray and Neale identify a growing need for professionals well versed in traditional broadcast technology as well as contemporary IT practices, with a particular emphasis on cloud computing and IP workflows. According to Ray, IABM courses covering IP, video over IP and IP and file-based workflows are the most popular organizations. He believes this reflects a significant shift towards IT-focused capabilities within the broadcasting sector.

It’s important to remember that the fundamentals of streaming technology haven’t really changed; ultimately it is still a process of transporting a signal from A to B, Stuart Ray, Head of Skills and Development at the IABM.

Neale emphasizes the dearth of cross-functional expertise in the industry. Many of the public cloud providers are willing to provide solution architects to help design the best way to deploy to their cloud, he says. They are often absolutely fantastic. The only problem is that they may not understand our industry. It’s incredibly difficult to find people who have a background in broadcasting and really understand the cloud because there are such deep skill sets, knowledge and experience that are required in each of them, he says, highlighting the depth of the challenge.

The challenges of training

The ongoing transition will require comprehensive training that fuses traditional broadcasting knowledge with modern computer skills. Ray talks about The IABMs existing range of courses, noting their appeal to both industry newcomers and seasoned professionals – our introductory courses covering the fundamentals of AV and broadcast technology seem to work well , he says However, the exact backgrounds of these new entrants remain diverse and varied, adding complexity to training needs. It’s important to remember that the fundamentals of streaming technology haven’t really changed; ultimately, it’s still a process of transporting a signal from A to B, he says. It is the process, the method and the tools that have changed. And of course they’ve done it consistently over the years – film to tape to digital, for example. We still need cables to connect things or connect devices! We try to offer courses that cover a variety of technologies and the environments in which they are found.

Stuart Ray

Neale discusses the psychological aspects of training, noting that change can be difficult and that the shift from a hardware-centric broadcast environment to a software-based IT-centric model can be especially difficult for traditional broadcast engineers. This cultural and psychological barrier can complicate training efforts, as people may resist abandoning familiar tools and workflows for new and unfamiliar technologies. Change can be scary and worrisome, and this is a major shift we’re seeing away from a wired and wired environment to a more virtual one, he says.

Computing vs broadcasting experience

The industry has had a long debate about the relative merits of training IT engineers in broadcast skills versus training broadcast engineers in IT skills, highlighting different perspectives on how each group can contribute to the evolving landscape of radio broadcasting

Broadcast engineers’ deep domain knowledge gives them an advantage when learning to apply IT solutions in the context of broadcasting.

Ray does not explicitly state a preference for training one group over the other. Instead, it highlights the importance of understanding the context in which broadcasting technology operates, which could suggest an advantage in training those already familiar with the broadcasting environment. It implies that the knowledge and experience possessed by broadcast engineers can be used effectively if they are also trained in new computer skills. A person with a clear understanding of how and where their work sits within the broadcast chain is likely to perform better, he says. Know not only what they do but Because they are doing it is important.

Damon Neale

Neale provides a more direct comparison between the advantages of training computer engineers compared to broadcast engineers. Recognize the unique strengths each group brings to the table and discuss the challenges and benefits associated with cross-training each type. I don’t think one is easier or harder than the other, he says. Both bring important skill sets that are highly relevant and useful.

He further details the specific benefits, noting that IT engineers are generally more comfortable in a virtual or cloud-based environment, which is increasingly relevant in modern broadcasting. They could adapt more quickly to the technical aspects of cloud computing and the IT infrastructure involved in broadcasting. However, Neale notes that broadcast engineers already understand the unique requirements and challenges of the broadcast world, including content creation, management and distribution workflows. Their deep domain knowledge gives them an advantage when learning to apply IT solutions in the context of broadcasting.

Security everywhere

The integration of IT into broadcasting poses security-related challenges that are new to the broadcasting industry. Neale expresses concern that while the industry is rushing to adopt these advanced technologies, there is not enough knowledge about how to protect them, which could lead to vulnerabilities and risks.

There are still many misunderstandings about using the cloud, says Neale, highlighting a major gap in the industry when it comes to security, especially as technologies evolve and become more complex. It’s everyone’s responsibility in the organization, he says. You could have the best IT security, and then someone outside of the IT team clicks on a file in an email and your entire network is hacked.

In his view, there is an urgent need for comprehensive security training that addresses not only technical aspects but also practical implications, such as compliance with data protection laws such as GDPR. He believes that improving security training is critical to preparing broadcast engineers to handle the complexities of modern broadcast environments safely and effectively.

Continuous learning and rehabilitation

Both Ray and Neale recognize the critical role of reskilling in the broadcasting industry as it moves to more IT-oriented technologies. Ray focuses more on the ongoing need for basic and advanced training to keep pace with industry changes, while Neale emphasizes the urgency of addressing significant knowledge gaps. Both agree that the broadcasting landscape is rapidly evolving and that continued professional development and reskilling are essential to maintain industry standards and take advantage of new technological opportunities. Their perspectives underscore the importance of an adaptable and continually learning workforce capable of navigating the complexities of modern broadcasting.

Ray comments on the persistent demand for a deeper understanding of IP: I’m surprised by the popularity of our IP courses – it doesn’t seem like something particularly new, but there’s obviously an ongoing need to develop a greater understanding of it, he says.

Similarly, Neale stresses the continued need for skills development in areas such as cloud computing and AI, highlighting the dynamic nature of technology and the need for the workforce to keep pace: as technology evolves, so must our skills. Continuous learning is not only beneficial; it is necessary to survive in this rapidly changing environment, he says. We need training that goes beyond theoretical knowledge to hands-on, hands-on applications of cloud technology in real broadcast environments.

Looking to the future: training and development strategies

To effectively address the challenges described by Ray and Neale, industry must adopt a multifaceted approach to training and development, including:

1. Hybrid training programs: Courses that provide a thorough understanding of both traditional broadcast technology and modern IT practices, tailored to the diverse backgrounds of industry participants.

2. Safety and compliance education: Training on the legal implications of using technology in broadcasting to ensure engineers can navigate the complexities of compliance and security.

3. Improved collaboration: Focusing on improving the communication skills of engineers to enable better collaboration between IT and outreach departments.

4. Community and industrial collaborations: Collaborate with wider community and industry partners to keep training programs aligned with real industry needs.

As the broadcasting industry continues its transition to cloud-based technologies, it is clear that there is an urgent demand for programs to train a new generation of engineers proficient in both traditional broadcasting and modern computing . These programs are crucial not only to equip today’s engineers with the necessary skills, but also to pave the way for the next generation of broadcasting professionals. By taking a holistic approach to training, the industry can navigate this transition effectively, ensuring a future where broadcast technology and cloud computing merge to create more dynamic, efficient and innovative media production landscapes.

While no provider currently offers comprehensive training courses for the use of cloud technologies in the broadcast arena, there are a number of related offerings from various companies. By combining the courses available, engineers can create a personalized approach to continuing professional development in the area.

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