Interview with Peter Storey, Head of Broadcast Engineering for EMEA at Bloomberg
You joined Bloomberg in 2004, so you have been participating in its evolution ever since. What technological milestones of Bloomberg would you highlight so far?
I joined Bloomberg in 1995 but moved to the Media business in 2004. Since then, many technical advances have helped Bloomberg Television’s broadcast production evolve.
One major milestone was the introduction of breakthrough video low latency compression techniques across MPLS network in 2012. This technology means we’re able to do more with less bandwidth and has enabled us to introduce and improve remote production from other regions within Bloomberg. Bloomberg Television is a 24/7 network that operates out of nine major broadcast hubs globally: New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Dubai, Berlin and London. We control 36 remote cameras from our London hub alone, from Frankfurt to Kuala Lumpur.
Embracing video low latency compression techniques has helped us to centrailise our operation while leveraging the full value of our global network of more than 150 news bureaus. It has also opened up disaster recovery scenarios, enabling other Bloomberg hubs to control production services when necessary, making us much more resilient.
Another major, more recent, development has been the introduction of SPMTE 2022-7. This has enabled us to migrate to a pioneering uncompressed end-to-end video-over-IP solution, the biggest shift in video transport through a broadcast facility since the introduction of SDI in the early 1990s.
The shift to an all-IP environment has streamlined our workflows, enabled seamless integration of physical and visual infrastructure and allows us to dynamically scale up our capabilities to meet evolving content and product opportunities across platforms.
You led the project for Bloomberg Media that enabled the build and migration of all services into 3 Queen Victoria Street, London. As you claim, Bloomberg became with this project the largest and first in the world to go live on SPMTE 2022-7 technology. What were the highlights of this project?
The migration of our broadcast facility to Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London was a highly complex, challenging project.
Due to the phased nature of the build, we were installing and testing the facility while the building was still a live construction site. We delivered the facility four days early and on budget, which was a fantastic team achievement, but the highlight has been seeing our vision realised in the quality of the output.
Since we went live in early December, our output has been constant and the new facility has enabled us to be much more flexible, mainly because the solutions we’re using are more software based, which makes it easier for us to scale up and bring new services online.
Another highlight was successfully testing the SPMTE 2022-7 theory. We chose to power down one of the central core IP Arista switches during production, meaning we were losing the alternative stream and effectively running 2022-6. The facility didn’t miss a beat. This gave us confidence in the system and proved resilience.
What challenges did you have to overcome in this project?
There were more than 40 broadcast and IT vendors in play on the project, not including the teams of architects, construction managers and engineers working on the building itself.
Managing these vendors in order to ensure they delivered their products on time was a huge challenge, particularly considering the pioneering nature of the technology we were dealing with. Many vendors’ solutions were new to market and ever more software / COTS-based. This was risky considering the tight deadlines we were working to and some solutions just weren’t ready in time. In some cases, timely decisions had to me made and regression was required but the majority of solutions were implemented successfully and the end result has exceeded our expectations.
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