Lights, radio, action!: the use of communications in the entertainment industry

Philip Mason investigates how radio communications technology is being used in the creation and dissemination of entertainment content

In the field of radio technology, one phrase which gets bandied around an awful lot is ‘mission critical’, primarily in relation to situations in which communication has to be instantaneous and uninterrupted or lives could be lost.

Without wanting to state the blindingly obvious, probably the most ‘public facing’ example of this is the use of push-to-talk by the emergency services, something which has been thrust well and truly into the spotlight by the recent difficulties surrounding the UK Home Office’s ESN project.

Other ‘mission critical’ sectors, meanwhile, include aviation, as well as utilities, the latter of which relies on ultra-low latency SCADA technology to regulate its energy generation systems. All of these represent environments in which literally nothing can be allowed to go wrong.

With that in mind, there is, however, another field in which everything has to run like clockwork, only this time with reputations and, more to the point, often enormous budgets on the line. Welcome to the high-risk, high-reward, incredibly stressful world of film and television production.

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