Blog | Allison Olien, Senior Director
May 3, 2016

Origination Evolution: Integrating Human and Hardware Resources

There is little doubt about the recent dramatic shift in how content is distributed and viewers consume it. Yet, despite increased demand for streaming and OTT, pay-TV and other subscription-based services remain strong, with over 100 million pay subscribers[i] in the United States, versus a combined 50 million subscribers between top online providers[ii] in 2015.

Channel origination has adapted and transformed to satisfy this hybrid distribution demand. Layering in the needs for security, monitoring, and flexibility further complicates the already complex task of origination. These complexities have encouraged an evolution in the human and technical processes necessary for stable and efficient origination.

The result is a unified origination environment where technical and hardware needs, as well as human support services, are merged. It is an environment in which technology is streamlined, and where operators and engineers coexist to ensure stable origination.


Joining Forces for Stability and Reliability

Channel origination is and always has been an orchestrated effort from technology, operators, and engineers. Operators are key to ensuring the quality and consistency of channel playout, and are the first line of defense against outages and other issues. Engineers provide for the overall system design, documentation, deployment, and ongoing sustained support of the operational systems.  Operators notify engineers of outages and issues, and both teams then work together to resolve the matter and restore playout.

The key difference in the unified environment is that operators and engineers are in the same room. Therefore, response time to outages is drastically reduced as issues are seen at the same time, in real time. Operators and engineers can begin troubleshooting and testing immediately, and since both parties have witnessed the outage, precious time is spared that would otherwise be consumed describing the observed issue.


Redesigned Technology Offers Simplicity and Flexibility

Integrated technology in the single environment improves monitoring and recovery time by simplifying diagnostics and research. Operators and engineers have less hardware to test and inspect to isolate the issue. The combination of the streamlined technology and colocation of Operations and Engineering not only greatly reduces recovery time, but also enhances origination stability, efficiency, and flexibility. 

In addition, the updated equipment and technology in the unified origination environment are designed to halt problems before they start. They include diagnostic rules that automatically spot issues before they affect the feed. This “self-healing” feature can ultimately reduce the amount of issues that operators and engineers see.

The unified origination environment transports video via IP routing, versus point-to-point via coax. IP routing moves all video signals through network infrastructure, without a fixed number of cross points to contend with. Utilizing a 10G network infrastructure enables simultaneous transport of multiple video signals on a single network connection—from compressed video (MPEG2, H.264), to uncompressed HD and SDI, and even 4K with light compression. Furthermore, the network is redundant and can withstand the failure of a single router with no perceptible downtime.

Beyond the stability and monitoring benefits of the unified origination environment is its flexibility. Rapid scalability is made possible by the consolidation of hardware and its near “plug-n-play” attribute. Breakout pods make adding signals or channels (such as live event streaming) simple and seamless. The nimble nature of the IP infrastructure facilitates flexible expansion.

This new generation of channel origination leverages the best technology has to offer with experienced operators and engineers within a unified space to provide an efficient and reliable platform. The network infrastructure enables rapid scalability, security, and redundancy. It also facilitates seamless distribution to satellite or terrestrial, such as OTT transmission services, meeting the demands of today’s consumers and allowing for easy expansion for tomorrow’s evolutions. Click here to learn more about Comcast Wholesale’s new unified origination environment.