The move from linear processes to a digital media workflow is not just a challenge for engineers - it affects everyone in television, argues Will Strauss.

There was a time when Broadcast Live and Video Forum were just places to talk kit while supping a couple of cold (and expensive) beers with customers, suppliers and competitors.

This year, at the combined show, it didn't feel like that. I noticed a sea change in attitude. The talk was not about shifting boxes but about shifting data.

On the Sony stand, there were other manufacturers talking about their interoperability with Sony equipment. That never happened before. And Avid didn't even have any kit on show, as such. They just talked about, well, talking. And support, workflow and management.

In the Future of Post session, Root6's John Harris explained how things have changed. He talked specifically about post production but he could have been talking about any part of the broadcast chain.

He said: “Our generation, more than any other, has had to cope with the most change. We've seen the technology change. We don't do video anymore. We do data and bits. We have to grasp it. Post houses need to be involved with the movement of data. The weakness of older post houses is their inability to change. Post must get involved with pre-planning.”

Networked digital media workflows are quite a bit different to the linear processes they are replacing from the kit used to the languages they speak via the space they take up.

But, I'm not going to go into the details of file based digital processing in this blog. I don't have the space, time or expertise but it does bring me back to something I was talking about last week: the general lack of technical skills.

It is clear that, while I hope my point was still valid, in 2008 we're not dealing with rack mounts and cables anymore. It's about data. And understanding the role it plays. The broadcast engineer of the future needs to be able to understand that.

But they are not the only ones. So do the broadcasters, the producers and everyone else involved in the chain.

As it says in the Skillset facilities review: “Unless everyone involved fully comprehends the benefits, constraints and disciplines, whether operational, technical or financial, that are involved, serious problems will arise.”

This means that customers have to speak to facilities BEFORE planning new projects. It means that sales people have to appreciate the amount of data a project will use up BEFORE selling it at the cheapest price. And it means we all have to adapt to new ways of working.

As many of us acknowledged at Broadcast Live and Video Forum last week, we no longer shift boxes. We shift data. We'd all better get used to it.

Is Will talking cobblers? Or does he have a point? Have your say below.