The Future is Yesterday

This autumn, BBC Scotland, passed the fifth anniversary of the opening of our new  facility at

Pacific Quay

Pacific Quay (Photo credit: Steve Bowbrick)

Pacific Quay in Glasgow. When we opened our doors, we were the most advanced broadcasting facility in Europe, and arguably the world.  We had a full HD infrastructure, production was mostly file-based, and with the exception of live video, all our media was transported via IP.

Since then, a number of comparable facilities have opened, Sky’s Harlequin 1, DR’s DR Village, Media City UK, China Central Television‘s Headquarters, and the BBC’s soon to open, New Broadcasting House.

We’ve experienced a lot of firsts over the past five years, a lot of them expected – launch of a new channel, BBC ALBA, moving productions like The Weakest Link and Question Time to HD, streaming the World Pipe Band Championships globally via the web.

We have now reached another, less dramatic, but extremely significant milestone – it’s time to start the process of replacing worn out equipment.

It’s funny to think of new generation broadcasting equipment as being old and worn out, but one on the major innovations of PQ was the move to IT-based broadcast technology. Some of the systems were installed seven years ago. Think about using a seven year old laptop or mobile phone  and trying to keep it working, let along remaining competitive, and you’ll get the idea.

Interestingly enough, there’s going to be a large amount of work to change the way people think about this next phase. Most of the industry is just beginning the shift from traditional broadcast technology and the primary focus of major investment is presented in the form of a “change programme.” We’ve already made the change, so what we’re doing is simply related to the cost of doing business. We get a few blank stares at the moment when we explain that.

So, what do you do when you’ve won the revolution?