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Swiss Television Premieres New FARO Digital Archive


FARO celebrates its premiere: Swiss television (SF) has launched its new multimedia compatible archive database. In collaboration with IBM (NYSE: IBM), SF replaced a nearly 20 year old legacy application with a modern content management system called FARO, which allows for digital video files.

Film data is still primarily available on classical video cassettes but in the coming years, SF will transfer its entire inventory to data files -- approximately 100,000 hours of film and video tapes that go back to the very beginning of Swiss television in the ’50s.

“With FARO we have completely replaced our old metadata search system and have expanded important functions. So today we have a comprehensive shot search at our disposal, as well as a broad palette of search aids and a special sports search tool, which enables more efficient researching by journalists,” said Sandra Figini, head of Film and Video Documentation at SF. “The introduction of FARO was a complete success, and we are receiving very positive feedback from our users.” Furthermore, with the new Web application, the platform allows a simple access to the SF archive for future distribution -- such as the Internet or for mobile devices.

Together with SF, IBM and Supercomputing Systems AG (SCS) are planning video integration in phase two of FARO, whereby the new archiving system will be linked to all production islands. “Once FARO phase two is implemented, the journalists’ burden will be greatly reduced,” said Dieter Fahrni, SF spokesperson for the program producers in the project team.

“The editors can then select a picture sequence with the video preview and process it further into transmittable quality at any selected cutting point. The whole process of finding existing video material and reusing it will be simplified.”

There will also be significant improvements for the long term handling of the archive. “Archive data is subject to periodic format changes. We now have the ability to carry out automatic migrations. The hitherto very high costs for maintaining the archive will be significantly reduced. FARO makes the work process more fluent, archive access more efficient, and the maintenance of our archive inventory simpler,” said Fahrni.

E. Rudolf Vontobel, member of the management board of IBM Switzerland, said, “The quality of the archive material improves, while at the same time maintenance costs drop. Editors can find their material more easily and produce segments more quickly. And with this solution, personalized media input or collaboration with third parties will be easier to implement at a later stage.”

For the new archive solution, IBM Global Business Services (GBS) has formed a development partnership with subcontractors Supercomputing Systems AG (SCS) from Zurich and Ardendo Software AB from Stockholm. The aim is to implement the newest IT technologies and to adapt them to SF’s television business. The in-house development concentrates on the editorially significant areas such as front end and workflow and will be implemented by Supercomputing Systems AG.

The system builds on new, flexible and high-performing industry standard technologies. It employs IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, the IBM General Parallel File System Storage (GPFS) and the IBM System Storage TS3500 library with IBM System Storage TS1120 drives, for high capacity, fast access to data and long-term data retention. In the final development phase, SF plans capacities of 1,800 hours video (60 TB) on IBM disk storage, and 85,000 hours (2,800 TB) on IBM tape storage. The maintenance and the transport of the media content is carried out by IBM ADMIRA software, which was developed for the high demands on value retention and content maintenance of public broadcasters.


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