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System X is a new network of telephone exchanges being introduced to the UK for the 1980s. It is entirely digital and is being made for the G.P.O. by a consortium of industrial firms. This programm...e explores how Plessey, one of the manufacturers, approached the problem of ensuring the reliability of the system. A central feature of the reliability scheme is the role played by a subsidiary company of the Plessey Group, Plessey Assessment services. P.A.S. had been involved in testing components and hardware, but for System X they took on the new role of design assurance. Geoff Alstead of P.A.S. explains in the programme what this role entails and how independence from the pressures of production is maintained. The strategy for System X involves taking on board many changes in design as microchip technology develops. Gordon Patterson, Technical Director of Plessey Telecommunications, explains how the task of managing change is approached by Plessey. The programme then illustrates this by eavesdropping on a policy review at Plessey's where the introduction of a new type of microchip is being discussed. A number of points emerge which indicate that the implementation of new technology involves a complicated balance of goals. New advances in chip design are weighed against the loss of tested reliability patterns, and manufacturing strategies are discussed that leave room for further developments in design and yet keep production schedules realistic.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: T241, Systems behaviour
Item code: T241; 09; 1979
First transmission date: 23-06-1979
Published: 1979
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:28
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Producer: Andrew Millington
Contributors: Geoff Alstead; Ronald John Beishon; Gordon Paterson
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Plessey; Systems management; Telecommunications; Telephone systems
Master spool number: HOU5344
Production number: FOUT032E
Videofinder number: 813
Available to public: no