Kat Lancaster is a Graphics & Data Solutions Support Manager at Sky. We caught up with her for our In Focus series, which highlights the work of inspirational women from across the sector.
Kat; what is your and role and what this actually mean?
We’re a team of Broadcast IT Engineers who support multiple platforms across Sky. Made up of 30+ engineers across 3 teams, Osterley Onsite Support covering Osterley Headquarters and Sky News Millbank in Central London. The Outside Broadcast team who guarantee our kit on OB’s across the UK and Internationally and a Technical Specialist team working on projects across our client base.
Our focus is on screen graphics, data feed solutions, broadcast applications, hardware and operating systems. Our Customers are Sky Sports, Sky Sports News, Sky News, Sky Entertainment.
Support portfolio includes Premier League, EFL and Scottish Football, F1, Golf majors to name a few. Think Soccer Saturday, Tickers, Clocks, Weather, Maps, Elections, Super Sunday Virtual Set, The Masters, Monday Night Football Augmented Reality, Video Walls, Telestration Touchscreens and much more behind the scenes.
What does a day in your working life look like?
Nowadays, lots of meetings and generally not enough time in the day. We have a number of migrations in progress at the moment, some that my team are driving and others that depend on our involvement. Updating on progress, tracking, understanding pinch points.
Diversity. It’s a hot topic at the moment specifically women in technical roles, Sky has a huge drive on Women in Tech and our TV Engineering department is committed to moving the dial for broadcast engineering. I’m spending a good amount time understanding the problem and ways that we can encourage and inspire you people into Broadcast Engineering.
Networking. I do a lot of this, don’t underestimate the power of networking; crucial!
How did you begin your career and what inspired you to look at jobs within the broadcast technology sector?
I was studying a HND in IT at the University of Derby and a chance visit to the Coronation Street set with my family made me change my focus. I researched a career in television and the following academic year I was enrolled at Ravensbourne. The first day of the course was on my 21st birthday, a while ago now! A 2 year BSc, some 4 years later after a job teaching IT and travelling Australia I started at Sky in July 2004.
What are the main challenges facing the sector over the coming year?
Recruitment, bringing new talent into Broadcast Engineering, there is a shortage across the industry and this needs to be understood and addressed.
What are your main challenges over the coming year?
How to manage grey hair, understanding Brexit, ignoring Brexit!
There are always a lot of moving parts at Sky, new projects, balancing new technology and future proofing technical spend while managing our customers’ requirements and expectations.
In support, we care about what nobody else sees; the underlying maintenance that’s required to ensure continued service and stability. The endless challenge to get maintenance windows which yields no immediate or obvious benefit to the customer.
Inspired by Kat’s story? Why not sign up for the Rise and Sky networking event on 15 May 2019?