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Why we need TV and radio disaster recovery – public service broadcasting and building in resilience

Why we need TV and radio disaster recovery – public service broadcasting and building in resilience

There are a surprising number of broadcasters who do not know what will happen in the event of a disaster. With the potentials for hurricanes, earthquakes, excessive heat and floods – there are many external factors, or “acts of God”, that could be perceived as beyond the responsibility of the channel owner. Despite the investment in creating, managing and delivering content, few channel owners have worked to create a plan in the event of a disaster.

In short, every channel owner and broadcaster should have a disaster recovery plan in place. Imagine the damage to your brand integrity if there is an outage in your broadcast. If the screen goes blank and the airwaves go silent, your organisation is under an existential threat. It is likely that whatever has happened and for whatever reason, your audiences will switch channel or station.

You need to be ready with a plan in the event of a worst-case scenario, with a response that will protect your data and keep your services running.

Having disaster recovery material in the bank

There has been a lot of attention given to the protection of channels from cyber attacks. These protections often relate to the protection of IP networks. However, a significant concern in the event of any disaster is the white noise or the blank screen in the event of infrastructure damage.

In such a circumstance, you need to be able to turn to a provider that can switch on a playout within seconds. A basic-level loop of content is a simple way of preventing the broadcast from going completely dark. With a simple message to an outside provider to switch on the emergency content, your audiences can continue to listen to, or watch, content set aside for such a situation. The material will be stored on a secure hub remote from your organisation. Consequently, it should be secure from any disaster befalling your area.

Building in resilience for public service broadcasting

Much more significant is the role that broadcasting plays in helping in the aftermath of a disaster. It is not so much that profits are being lost or people are not being entertained. In such circumstances, the population may turn to the TV and radio to hear how they can escape or where they can seek help. Sometimes there are matters more important than business continuity.

It is, therefore, essential that resilience is built into broadcasting. Using solutions, such as satellite-based disaster recovery and fibre infrastructure, will help maintain signal when other communications are cut. It is vital to restore full communication between critical locations as quickly as possible. While protecting your broadcast data is essential, ensuring nothing is lost, it is the restoration of the signal to the wider world that is a priority.

In extreme circumstances, where the broadcast media are essential to the survival of the local population, it may be necessary to have a full mirror of the primary master control operation. This means that the primary playout can operate in the mirrored environment.

The future will be different

With a cloud and virtualised playout environment, backups will soon take on a different form. Disaster recovery will be provided in a virtualised environment too. However, at this point, content security will need greater solutions.

Transcool Systems has worked with TV and radio broadcasters to maintain connections to the wider world. Contact us today to learn how we can provide the hardware to house and protect your broadcast equipment.