Guest Blog: Orchestral Manoeuvres (or 3 Lessons for Communications Resiliency)

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Communications takes on many forms; spoken word, written word, sounds and feelings are all examples. What, when, how and why; the simple questions; is where my thoughts turn when considering the topic. Take for example an orchestra. What are they communicating; one sound, a set of individual sounds, or maybe a visual and aural spectacle? How are they achieving this and why does the whole sound so very perfect.

Resiliency on top of creativity and individual skill is required. For example a small quartet of players will look at each other, signal and start to play. A chamber group may elect one player to take to lead so that the others can follow, but an orchestra opts for a conductor. Resiliency, scaled according to the challenge, is built in through the leader role to ensure a smooth and co-ordinated passage from creation of solo instrument sounds to co-ordinated delivery to the listener. Of course creativity and individual skill very much play a part but the sound delivered is a combination of the whole. Any drop out from one specific player whilst it may alter the sound need not detract from the whole. The back-up provided by multiple players of the same part builds in resiliency. But what about a solo instrument; the triangle perhaps? If that player gets it wrong the listener will know. Resiliency in this situation? The strongest player you have!

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So three lessons for communications resiliency.

Lesson 1: Ensure you understand ‘the what’ and ‘the when’ questions. What scale of communications is being addressed? When will it need to occur? Are looking at the quartet situation where an overseer is not required to co-ordinate the when but the strongest of individual communications protocols is and or do we require a system with redundancy built in at every stage and an overseer.

Lesson 2: Ensure you understand ‘the how’ and the ‘why’. How can we achieve the result? And why can we be confident the result will be as expected. Are we looking at an orchestral situation with a large bandwidth or individual delivery where specific details can be examined more easily. Resiliency strategies need to cater for both.

Lesson 3: There are no easy answers but there are no hard questions either. Resiliency is a must if we want to achieve good to great communications. The ways to build in resiliency, back-up, co-ordination, security, multiple channels are not hard to envisage. Implementing strategies to build the resiliency, cost-effectively and robustly however are not easy. But for a place to start I refer you back to lessons one and two.

Guest blog from Dr. Val Lynch, CEO of AND Technology Research for techUK's "Good to Great Connectivity for the UK" Week.

Get involved at #ConnectedFuture. More information is available on techUK’s Communications Infrastructure Programme.

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