Broadband TV News speaks with David Short, Chair IET Media, about the upcoming event TV’s Sustainability Challenge, Engineering a Better World, organised by the IET Media Technical Network, on September 9.
What is the thinking behind this event?
We live in a world where environmental limits are being tested to the extreme. Urgent action is needed from international level down to individual personal choices. The IET is playing its part in providing forums for engineers to debate, teach and learn about how we can play our roles. I am the Chair of the Media Technical Network (TN) which is a special interest group for TV and media engineers and practitioners, open to both IET members and non-members.
How specifically do you see the role of the IET in bringing this challenge to the attention of the industry?
We are at an inflection point where the need for action is overwhelming. Big players have been taking this subject seriously for sometime and we see the role of the IET Media TN as spreading the knowledge that has been acquired so far and looking at the questions still to be solved. The IET is well placed to do this. As a multidisciplinary body we can share the best ideas between industries. As a non-commercial body, we can base our thinking on the best outcome for societies and perhaps most importantly, future generations. There is some tension in translating this back into the commercial world, but that’s the point (in my view) when theoretical technologies become engineered products and services. In fact, there is a growing framework of investment standards, environmental standards, and consumer and employee demand that create a climate that pushes “hard nose” businesses to care for the planet. Perhaps this is greenwash or perhaps it is enlightened self-interest.
What actions are leading industry players taking in the area of sustainability?
Big players such as Sky, Deutsche Telekom, BBC, ITV and EBU have well developed thinking and policies on many areas of sustainability. Over the course of our event series we hope to be talking to all of them, starting with Sky and Deutsche Telekom on 9th September. Talking to vendors and smaller organisations, there is now a need for the rest of the industry to follow suite, because it’s the right thing to do and because this will make their products more saleable.
Our discussion is intended to be interactive, so we are keen to hear from engineers and organisations who would like to contribute.
Looking to the future, are there grounds for optimism?
Most certainly. Consider the recent analysis of the Montreal Treaty of 1987, which shows that humanity dodged a bullet by early and decisive action to switch from CFCs. This not only prevented disastrous exposure to UV for all life on Earth but also stopped an extra contribution to climate change. Shifting from the carbon economy and reducing our environmental footprint to sustainable levels will be much harder than the switch from CFCs, but we have shown what can be done when we face common problems together.
For further information about and to register for TV’s Sustainability Challenge, Engineering a Better World, which is organised by the IET Media Technical Network and the next Media Meet & Greet event, please go to: