For the IBC 2022 event, Celerway and one of its key partners, Johnnie Dymock, CEO of Wired Broadcast, discussed how its technology enables modern media and broadcast professionals to go wherever the story takes them.
Headquartered in London, UK, Wired Broadcast is an international leader in mission-critical agile connectivity and a trusted provider of end-to-end facilities and services for broadcasts and live events. For over 30 years, it has served hundreds of high-profile clients whose ranks include the BBC, ABC, and CBS. In addition, its team has supported major live events like the Grammy Awards, the Olympic Games, and the MTV Music Awards.
What is the most crucial aspect of your work in the field?
Our focus in the field has to be providing reliable, low-latency internet connection wherever the site may be. Technology has evolved, of course, by leaps and bounds in the last thirty years. But, it is never just about the connection’s speed but its resilience. So fundamentally, what we always want to be able to do is to combine multiple available connections to create a single, stable one, especially when we are working from sites in more challenging locations.
Is combining multiple connections a common approach?
Yes. As consumer-grade internet has become almost ubiquitous in recent years, many network equipment vendors rely on this strategy. We always keep an eye out for the latest and best available implementation in the market. This is especially important with how quickly the technology landscape and our clients’ workflow have evolved.
Considering how much connectivity options have grown, is there still often a need to combine multiple connections?
Yes. Connectivity options out in the field are much more mature than just a few years ago, with cellular options like 4G/5G, commercial WiFi hotspots, and even satellite services like Starlink being available, to name a few. But perhaps, as a result, media teams are increasingly expected to be able to stay connected in the field, using just what connectivity options are available, to either conduct research, upload footage back to studios, or directly report from remote locations.
Where do you see a connectivity gap when all these options are available in the field?
For live broadcasts, failure is not an option. Media teams generally use purpose-built equipment to handle audio and video data. The connectivity gap occurs when field journalists work without their usual team equipment. This frequently happens when they work from hotel rooms or airport lounges. Also, they may be embedded in a community or are called to remote locations on short notice. In all these cases, journalists are at the mercy of the local cellular signal or WiFi. There is no guarantee that the connection will be good enough to let them send and receive large amounts of sensitive data to and from the newsroom. And needless to say, in this business, every second counts.
How do you bridge this gap?
For working from the field, you will need an easy-to-carry, professional-grade mobile router. We see the Celerway GO as the perfect fit in this scenario. The GO is powered by the same software as all other Celerway routers. Combining all available connections, like 4G from different carriers and WiFi hotspots, the GO gives you a single, uninterrupted, and stable connection. Plus, the GO is pocket-size, battery-powered, and straightforward to operate with a single touch. We equipped some of our clients with the GO to support their remote teams in the field, and we have had great feedback. Some of them have since included GO as their standard field equipment.
I can see why a MiFi solution or a smartphone would not be sufficient for professional use.
Yes, indeed. Neither MiFi nor smartphones can match the uninterrupted performance and flexibility of a dual-modem solution like the GO, remote location or not. We should also consider security and manageability. The GO’s built-in encryption performance is best-in-class in the market. You wouldn’t want your data stream to be hijacked while covering a story. Besides, the office IT team can configure, manage, and update all GOs directly from the Cloud. From the user’s perspective, it is as simple as turning it on, and the GO just works. From the organization’s perspective, it is a total solution that plays well with its infrastructure.
With 5G becoming increasingly available, will there still be a demand for Celerway’s technology in the field?
This multi-connection strategy will always be needed in the field, even as better and faster connectivity options like 5G are being rolled out. Whether doing live vox pops or uploading footage to the newsroom, you will never want to depend on just one cellular signal or WiFi in the field, no matter the speed. Celerway’s implementation of combining multiple connections exceeded all our expectations. They deliver what is specified on their data sheets exactly. In fact, we have chosen Celerway’s software platform to power the latest generation of our own router, the Mediaport®. The name of the game has always been reliability and resilience, and in our modern times, security, mobility, and manageability.
From the user’s perspective, it is as simple as turning it on, and the GO just works. From the organization’s perspective, it is a total solution that plays well with its infrastructure.