In 2010, Media Broadcast was faced with the challenge of optimizing the existing system for managing and controlling video and audio transmission services. The aim was to improve the availability of the services offered and, in the event of transmission interruptions, not only to inform customers more quickly, but also to be able to react in a more targeted manner. Therefore, Antonio Finas, Head of OSS Applications at Media Broadcast, contacted various consulting companies. "Even then, TIMETOACT caught our eye positively with its agile, goal- and solution-oriented approach," recalls Finas.
TIMETOACT's solution approach was to first ensure a complete data and information pool. The reason: The existing system used existing data partially incompletely, so that important information was not available at all when needed. A special circumstance here was that the systems whose data had to be processed were very heterogeneous and merging them was complex. "At that time, the situation was such that our service quality was very much dependent on who was on duty at the time," reveals Finas. "This shows that in many cases the data that was available was not sufficient to guarantee fast troubleshooting."
More overview thanks to service monitoring
Together with TIMETOACT, they introduced a system that improved documentation, making it much easier for Media Broadcast's service staff to recognize the connections and consequences of outages. For example, if a line goes down, it doesn't just affect a specific service, but causes disruptions in various places. Says Finas, "By having solid documentation, we laid a foundation back then, which we effectively supplemented in 2015 with the introduction of service monitoring based on IBM Netcool Operations Insight (NOI)."
These changes have brought numerous improvements that Media Broadcast still benefits from today. For a company that offers more than 10,000 services and whose operations require a large number and variety of systems to interlock, their availability is indispensable. Today, the Cologne-based transmission service provider can boast 99.9 percent availability and a response time of 10 minutes with its nationwide network offering. This not only pleases the customers, but also the CTO, Frank Schulz.
Wir waren auf der Suche nach einem Sparringspartner und TIMETOACT hat uns nicht nur gleich mit seinem ersten Konzept überzeugt, sondern ist in den 10 Jahren unserer Zusammenarbeit zu einer festen Größe in der IT von Media Broadcast geworden.Antonio Finas Head of OSS ApplicationsMedia Broadcast GmbH
Tender win for regional distribution law
Schulz had long wanted more transparency and a shorter notification and response time when there were service restrictions. Frank Schulz is all the more pleased that the OSS Applications department has found and successfully implemented a solution together with TIMETOACT. Since 2015, this project has provided and also monitored 350 services for DVB-T2 HD, DAB+ and FM for a public broadcaster from eastern Germany. In addition, monthly reporting was required by the broadcaster and the desired service level was quite demanding compared to standard market agreements.
Thanks to the now digitized documentation and monitoring, Media Broadcast was able to identify within minutes which services were affected and which were down in the event of faults or outages. This new level of quality, combined with the good experience gained in the past, convinced the customer and Media Broadcast was awarded the contract. All in all, the process took six months. However, Media Broadcast was not awarded the contract until three months after the presentation and then had to start implementation within another three months. A feat of strength, but also an initial spark for the digital transformation.
Finas: "Thanks to our new technology, we got off to a flying start and the customer was able to see for himself how professionally we keep track of everything and provide timely information in the event of problems. Our proactive and open communication received great approval."
Even though a lot had already been achieved through monitoring, Media Broadcast wanted more. "It quickly became clear to us that we could now see immediately if there was a fault and what the consequences were. However, we were also aware that a service employee would still be responsible for informing the customer in the next step," recalls the Head of OSS Applications at Media Broadcast.
Together with TIMETOACT, they therefore decided to introduce a ticketing solution that automatically generates an information mail to the affected customers from the messages of the monitoring system. "We wanted to avoid the manual work of a service employee remaining the bottleneck of the entire process."
Surcharge for federal distribution law
When the tender for the distribution networks of the largest public broadcasters came out in 2016 and specified that the transmission service provider must be able to inform the customer within 10 minutes in the event of a fault, Media Broadcast saw this parameter as an incentive. "We wanted to win the tender and knew we had to deliver now," Finas says. Media Broadcast was awarded the contract, but with it came very specific pressure to deliver the agreed-upon services in accordance with the contract.
Thanks to ticketing automation and the dispatch of information e-mails generated by the system in the event of a fault, Media Broadcast was covered. However, there was still some fine-tuning to be done. TIMETOACT and the transmission service provider, based in Cologne, therefore optimized the requirements for generating an automatic ticket step by step. After all, it had to be defined down to the last detail who would be informed when and how. Finas: "After all, we didn't want to make everyone nervous with our mails because of every little thing, and that was a big challenge with the provision of 950 lines alone."
TIMETOACT & Media Broadcast - Partnership with a Future
These two tenders and the cooperation with TIMETOACT play an important role at Media Broadcast - not only from an economic point of view, but above all with regard to digitization and future security. "TIMETOACT brings in a large number and variety of ideas and has great implementation expertise. This generates innovative power and ensures that our services and performance continue to evolve. We have a partnership of equals because our engineers and TIMETOACT's computer scientists complement each other perfectly. The length and intensity of the collaboration are something special, after all, together we have expanded the number of monitored services from 300 to over 10,600," says Finas.
But that is not the end of the story. On the contrary. Media Broadcast is already planning a new project: the introduction of workflow management. This should help to automate operations even more, so that resources can be deployed in a more targeted manner and colleagues have more freedom for other, more advanced tasks. "The best thing, however, is that colleagues are proactively supporting us because of the positive experience they have had with digitization and because of the praise they receive from customers. Everyone is pulling in the same direction, and we have TIMETOACT to thank for that," sums up Media Broadcast.