TranSPORT: By Understanding and Explaining Needs, Broadcasters Can Get the Most From RFPs

Delivering content from point A to point B may seem a straightforward endeavor, until the bids from competing vendors start rolling in. Content providers are often left with a wide range of responses to the same RFP, facing the threat that the highest may break the bank while the lowest may affect production quality.

ScheduALL’s Rob Evans (center) speaks as LTN’s Matt Coppola (left) and Masergy’s Dan Boland look on.

ScheduALL’s Rob Evans (center) speaks as LTN’s Matt Coppola (left) and Masergy’s Dan Boland look on.

During an afternoon breakout session titled “Connectivity Economics: How To Secure the Right Pipes at the Right Price” at SVG’s TranSPORT even last week, a panel delved into what broadcasters should be requesting to make sure service needs are not only met but exceeded.

“The first thing that has to be considered is what exactly the application is,” said Matt Coppola, regional VP of sales, LTN Global Communications. “For sporting events, it’s probably going to be a little bit higher than if you’re just taking shots back from interviews. It’s making it very clear as to what the application is and what the requirement is.”

Beyond specifying the size of the pipes, the panelists encouraged broadcasters to determine the level of control and visibility they need and to consider alternatives to private line services to reduce costs, such as a booking a shared or part-time pipe. Masergy, a managed-services and cloud communications provider, specializes in delivering customized, high-performance platforms, including one of the first global IP/MPLS networks.

Said Masergy Manager, Video Markets, Dan Boland, “If you have somebody that said, I want a private line service to take me from any two points, whether it was global or domestic … and you just put that on the RFP, what you’ve done there is [miss] some of the intricacies of modern networking-infrastructure topologies.”

Coppola described a case in which a sports team is using LTN only when it’s at home. LTN offers next-generation, IP-based video transport for both occasional-use and full-time contribution and distribution. “They have two LTN systems, one at their stadium,” he explained. “When they’re not home, there’s no cost to them. When they’re on the road, they take an LTN flypack with them. [There are] no local loops that they need to deal with [or] build-outs that they need to get involved with. … We can introduce ideas with new technology [that the customer] hadn’t really had access to before.”

The panelists opined on a number of reasons that two bids for the same RFP might differ so greatly in cost. ScheduALL Senior Product Architect Rob Evans suggested that integrated scheduling may play a part. His company provides Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) software designed to provide smart workflow, asset management, business reporting, connectivity, and access.

“Why you may have a lower bidder is, they have more-effective control of their equipment and their scheduling system,” he explained. “They may have a cost-effectiveness that they can bring to you because of that. [It may not be] a line in your RFP that you can see, but there are tangible benefits in your bid you’re getting back that are internal cost savings.”

The key is research: know what you need to get the job done and understand how to create an RFP that reflects that mission. Said Boland, “The more educated the engineering personnel, the more perspective they have. How smart they really are in what they’re trying to accomplish is really key.”

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