Programming the BBC: The impact of computers on the BBC and its operations

Advanced Programming Specialist Group Event.

Thursday 23rd April 2009, 6.00pm

The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2 7HA. The nearest underground stations are Covent Garden and Charing Cross.

Rhys Lewis, Chief Enterprise Architect, The BBC

Ever since its formation over 80 years ago the BBC has relied on cutting-edge technology to help it make, and deliver, its TV and Radio programmes to UK license-fee payers. From camera and  microphone through to transmitter, advances in technology over the years have revolutionized the quality and range of services on offer to consumers. With the arrival of the digital media age, the BBC's approach to technology has taken a dramatic turn.

Software applications running on low-cost personal computers are able to take the place of what, just a few years ago, would have required expensive high-end hardware. Every employee can have access to video-editing performance which would have been the envy of the dedicated specialist a few short years ago!

But bringing the BBC into the digital age involves much more than giving its employees a computer and a set of software applications. Large collections of programs are required and must be designed so that they can be managed, and maintained, across many systems - allowing the BBC to get the content it produces 'to-air' in good time and stay there reliably. Many human factors also come into play in persuading people to move away from the technology on which they learnt their trade to using a piece of software available to anyone.

The BBC has been at the forefront of investigating the potential of digital broadcasting in many different formats including recently an investigation into the possibilities offered by grid computing and 'e-Science' models for the media world. Drawing on the experience of this project and others the BBC's Chief Enterprise Architect, Rhys Lewis, will highlight some of the technical and human challenges of building an organization critically dependant on computer software.

Free, but to gain admission please email your name to our Vice-Chairman, Dr Frank Martin, at -

CPD Value:
Half unit