Broadcaster information is now flowing smoothly at the UK spectrum regulator Ofcom thanks to a new database created by ATDI.
ATDI won a contract to streamline its central database of all radio and television stations for the UK as well as international coordination. It was a task that required the melding of a disparate range of sources.
“For decades, Ofcom had been working with a variety of non-standard and ad hoc data sources. The main one of these was in the Microsoft Access format but others were contained in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and as Ascii format files tables and, occasionally, text files,” says ATDI lead engineer Alex Krasnojen. “In addition, Ofcom works closely with the BBC and broadcast infrastructure company Arqiva and the three organisations use a database format unique to them – UKPM.”
The variety of data formats used by Ofcom made both internal and external data exchange an issue.
ATDI was tasked with unifying the information and presenting it in a standard, easily-accessible format. The basis for doing this was the company’s software tool ICS Manager. ICS Manager is in use by regulators worldwide to tabulate the abundance of details about the radio services. ICS Manager is tailored to the needs of the user, so ATDI engineers worked extensively to ensure Ofcom’s version of ICS Manager met the organisation’s requirements as closely as possible.
The result is that there is now a central Ofcom database which works with the different formats for the maintenance, processing and transfer of data. The database encompasses all Ofcom’s activities, processes, tasks and types of data. Its implementation has smoothed workflows and made each of Ofcom’s processes simpler and more efficient.
Alex notes: “Something very gratifying about this project is the degree to which we have been able to work and communicate with Ofcom. A situation like the one we found, with broadcaster information in various locations and in differing formats, was very complex. Our approach was to talk to Ofcom and identify a robust solution has been most pleasing on both sides.”