Wednesday 27 June 2018

And.. I'm back!

I can't believe its been over two years since last wrote an blog entry, for a blog called "A week in IT" which was intended to be a collection of weekly discoveries that's a bit poor - and for which I can but apologize. I have spotted I have a number of"draft" entries waiting to be published so those will be tidied up and slotted back into their correct weeks over the past two years.

However - to the current and June 2018... And, how to get started and "catch up" on 113 missing weeks... Well, a lot has happened over that time some of which will make great topics for blog entries too as and when the time is right.

As a key update - After 9 years in retail (with Tesco and Marks and Spencer) it was time for a bit of a change, and I'm now the "Head of Software Engineering" at the BBC for the BBC Platform. The next question everyone typically then asks is - what does that mean?

BBC Platform is the technology foundations for the BBC, it covers everything from the websites, app's and digital presences to the iPlayer, streaming, content authoring for the news journalists and a lot of bits in between. My role is the lead the software engineering team as we build the platform ready for the future of the BBC - a world where content is no longer linear and "broadcast" but customized and delivered on demand to the audiences in a way that meets their needs. A shift from where things are today - the building blocks are all there the challenges to overcome though need a lot of consideration.

I've been at the BBC for two months now and there are a fantastic set of people here - nearly 250 engineers spread across London (White city), Salford (Manchester) and Glasgow where there are big expansion plans too ("a £4m investment will be made to set up the new technology hub which will see 60 jobs created over the next three years.... developing a common digital platform for the BBC to run its apps, websites and online experiences").

And I've already been able to see some great achievements, last week we had the UHD (4k) trials of broadcasting the World Cup over IP. This isn't without some significant challenges to overcome with scale - a UHD stream is roughly 9 times the size of a HD one, again the foundations are there as around 3 million people simultaneously watched the existing streams of the game. The challenge for the future being that if all those 3 million people switched to UHD the platform would be handling 9x the volume it is today!

I'm really pleased to have joined and facing into solving a whole heap of interesting challenges ahead!

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