Beyond Covid: Setbacks and Opportunities
The global upheaval of the pandemic highlighted the importance of business continuity for every company. After a year of restrictions, many organisations have now got their house in order and made the most of remote working tools. Within sectors where individuals were working independently and checking in with the rest of the team on video call, the transition was relatively simple. For broadcasters however, the process was less straightforward with large scale infrastructure changes needing to be made.
Looking Back on the Unexpected
When restrictions first came into place, our priority was to complete the projects which were already in progress at that time. At 7fivefive, we were fortunate that our pipeline of jobs featured various technologies. Naturally, certain projects were pushed back as customers recalibrated their needs. However, there were other jobs which customers pulled forward because the improvements we were planning offered immediate value within the context of Covid. After reshuffling projects according to client need, our team ended up busier than before the outbreak happened.
Professionally we’ve managed the challenges well and continued to work effectively, supporting our clients throughout the restrictions. But socially it has been more difficult, we are a close-knit team and we’ve all missed that more personal dynamic day to day.
Crisis Management with Remote Solutions
Just over a year ago, we were starting to deal with the virus and the industry certainly didn’t stop. While some areas struggled, media organisations managed to make studios Covid safe and continue to output content effectively. Overall, I think that businesses have adapted extremely well. At 7fivefive, we had to take a very critical look at everything we were doing to check for any roadblocks. Everything from engineering practises, to the sales process and account sign off needed to be under scrutiny to make sure we could operate as seamlessly as possible.
For a lot of organisations productivity hasn’t been an issue during the pandemic. Everyone in the industry wanted their company to do well and move forward through a difficult time. Often the challenge is getting staff to disconnect and have a better work / life balance while operating remotely.
The initial crisis management solution, of using personal storage devices for content has now been abandoned by broadcasters as completely impractical. Most have also realised that downloading and uploading footage during the editing stages is unmanageable over the long-term. That process ultimately creates a disjointed workflow which makes it difficult for production teams to be responsive and collaborate effectively.
Media organisations switched to virtual editing workflows, so teams could remotely access cloud-based centralised infrastructure. Quality tools enable broadcasters to only use what they need to, maintaining control over the cloud economics. One great thing about operating with remote workstations is that the infrastructure can be spun up and spun down, to align with the ebb and flow of content creation. If a top tier news story or a one-off event needs more capacity, then additional deployments can be made to meet demand. Capacity can then be reduced once scheduling returns to normal. Virtualised workstations are only effective if usage can be streamlined wherever possible. By monitoring the resources available, how many users are connected, which files they are accessing and how much bandwidth is being used, administrators can ensure that editing in the cloud stays cost efficient.
Remote solutions are likely to become a standard part of the editing process, long after the pandemic is over. For an industry which regularly uses freelance staff, it makes perfect sense to decentralise editing suites and allow teams more autonomy over where they work. In future, most organisations will have an expectation that their staff can operate within a blended environment, split between home and the office. Companies want their offices to do more and offer more flexibility. Classically, edit workstations have been fixed positions but new technology is opening up other options. Not just allowing staff to work from home but also reconfiguring how office spaces are used in the long-term.