Products develop over time. New features are added to both keep up with changes in technology and provide users with the latest features they need to remain efficient and competitive in a rapidly evolving broadcast market. Companies themselves develop as well, which is the case with Three Media. Originally a business and technology consultancy in the late 1990s when it was called Broadcast Projects International, it has changed names and direction and now develops specialised systems to ensure the smooth running of production chains in broadcasting, complementing its continued provision of expert professional services.

The product development side of Three Media grew out of its consultancy work, with the hands-on experience of working with leading operators in the TV and media market, highlighting the needs and priorities of operators as they moved into the file-based, IT domain. From this came the XEN: suite of media management tools, comprising, among others, XEN:Sim for modelling, simulation and optimisation; XEN:Optima, informed and driven by business rules to deliver automated content processing, packaging and delivery management; and XEN:Transformer, a media centric enterprise service bus.

In 2017 Three Media re-evaluated both its approach and systems offering. Deciding to completely redesign its product range to cater for ‘big data’, codeless workflows, and at the same time exploit developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and metadata management, the company consolidated its existing range to create an all-encompassing product – XEN:Pipeline.

Launched at IBC 2019, XEN:Pipeline is a comprehensive family of media management tools based on the latest AI and machine learning (ML) technologies. ML in particular enables a system to recognise patterns and behaviours and, in its specific broadcast application, locate and identify validated material and to then associate it with specific functions or destinations. This is an important advance for broadcasters in general but especially for organisations that have large archives full of poorly catalogued material, which, if they were able to find it efficiently, could be fully utilised both financially and creatively.

XEN:Pipeline is the result of several years research and development, in collaboration with specialist performance engineers and researchers from the Department of Computing at Imperial College London. It is a strong combination of Three Media’s experience and knowledge of the broadcast market and the latest analysis technologies. As the demand to efficiently exploit archive material grows and the number of distribution platforms for programming increases, companies need to know what they have to offer while managing the control of how it is delivered and at the same time, ensuring processing costs are kept to a minimum. With the help of complex data management, AI and ML, XEN:Pipeline does just that.

Originally featured in the InBroadcast November 2019 eZine