Softel today announced ScheduleSmart™, a sophisticated workflow technology that uses proprietary heuristics and algorithms to determine the optimum point in the workflow at which to bind captions, subtitles and other ancillary data to content.
ScheduleSmart introduces unparalleled flexibility in captioning and subtitling workflows by automatically assessing whether there is time to ingest data to media servers or on to the Digital Asset Management System (DAMS). If the system determines that early or late binding is not possible, live systems are directed to perform the bind at time-of-air.
Although captions and subtitles can be bound to assets early in the workflow - close to airtime using faster than real-time encoding or during live broadcast - traditional tools restrict broadcasters, forcing them to choose one default binding method and deal with the many exceptions and special cases that arise in a typical mix of work. This leaves facilities exposed to losses of reliability and workflow efficiency and forces a reliance on costly manual intervention.
These challenges are amplified in modern broadcast facilities where delivery of ancillary data has to be coordinated and automated to ensure systems are able to handle a proliferation of platforms, including playout to the web and mobile phones.
ScheduleSmart automates selection of the correct encoding method using either Softel Swift vTX to add captions and subtitles directly to file based media assets, or Softel Swift TX to handle live binding. If there is sufficient time, ScheduleSmart will initiate the ingest of the caption and/or subtitle file via Swift vTX. If there is not enough time, for example, if the event is live, or if the captioning/subtitling will take place in real time, then the Swift TX time-of-air system is directed to playout accordingly. All of this takes place with little or no user direction in a totally automated manner.
"Softel has a long tradition of delivering innovative end-to-end captioning and subtitling solutions that seamlessly integrate in broadcasters' ecosystems to enhance efficiency and reduce operational costs," says Sam Pemberton, Softel CEO. "In launching Swift TX in the 1990s, Softel revolutionized the workflow by automating playout. Then, as tapeless systems were adopted, Softel introduced Swift vTX, binding ancillary data to file-based assets for easier VOD, multichannel and cross-regional distribution. Next-generation workflows will encompass multiformat delivery over multiple platforms in numerous languages. So with ScheduleSmart, combined with Swift TX and Swift vTX, Softel delivers the first automated control center for ancillary data that ensures the reliability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness needed in the highly complex workflows of the future."