BT Sport workflows powered by high-speed transfers and automation


BT Sport, is a collection of sports channels offered by the BT Group in the UK. The broadcaster provides top-tier coverage of English Premier League football, and from 2015, has the exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

Timeline Television, a provider of broadcast technology and services in the UK, provided the broadcast infrastructure for BT Sport. Aspera, an IBM company, was chosen to provide the orchestration system and underlying high-speed data transport technology to power BT Sport’s complex, file-based live sports production workflow.

To fulfill the stringent requirements, the platform needed to support secure high-speed transfer at multi-gigabit speeds, allow fully automated end-to-end workflows including ad-hoc content ingest, review, approval and distribution, and offer reliable, secure data replication of petabytes of media from BT Sport’s main site in London’s iCITY to the disaster recovery and continuity facilities located at the iconic BT Tower.

Aspera Orchestrator, a web-based application and software development kit platform, provides complete workflow automation for BT Sport. It enables precise control over the Aspera high-performance file transfer environment and allows BT Sport to build efficient, predictable, file processing pipelines.

By integrating Orchestrator with EVS’ IPDirector production asset management suites, Aspera completes the seamlessly integrated solution for high-speed data replication between BT’s studio facility and the mirror system at BT Tower. As well as enabling essential disaster recovery and full redundancy, it also allows BT Tower to act as a satellite production facility if needed.

Aspera Sync provides high-performance replication to the disaster recovery site. Designed to overcome the performance and scalability shortcomings of conventional synchronisation tools like rsync, Aspera Sync can scale up and out for maximum speed replication and synchronisation over wide area networks for the largest big data file stores—from millions of individual files to the largest file sizes. Production content and metadata originated at either iCity or the BT Tower is immediately synchronised via Aspera Sync. In the event of a disaster, production can resume at the second site, ensuring a rapid return to business as usual.

The combination of Aspera’s FASP high-performance transport technology and Orchestrator workflow automation application delivers extreme scalability and control in BT Sport’s high-volume workflow automation. It enables secure, practical ingest and delivery of file-based media and the seamless integration and execution of multiple high-volume workflows across the production process from end to end. It enables BT Sport to transport large media files at the highest possible speeds and in single sessions, improving productivity and reliability.

Aspera’s ability to integrate easily with any third-party solutions, as well as its previous experience successfully collaborating with EVS, enabled Timeline Television to seamlessly integrate the Aspera applications with EVS IPDirector, Harmonic MediaGrid and Avid Interplay. Timeline Television was able to deliver a tightly integrated solution for BT Sport’s complex workflow in under six months, making this project one of the largest and quickest broadcast installations in the industry.


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