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Opinion: How harnessing automation fosters innovation and agility

David Edwards, product manager at Net Insight, looks at ways in which automation drives agility and enables creativity to flourish

The media landscape today is an ever-evolving arena, demanding constant innovation and flexibility to keep pace with consumer expectations and technological advancements. As consumer appetite for compelling and enriched content continues to grow, through more immersive camera views and additional content provided via OTT platforms and social media channels, media companies face the dual challenge of meeting these increasing demands while managing more complex workflows. 

Net Insight product manager, David Edwards

To address this growth and fragmentation of a media-rich landscape, media organisations must be ready to handle a significant spike in live streams and deliver content seamlessly across various platforms. This need for agility and responsiveness makes innovation not just a strategic goal but a necessity.  Media companies must continuously innovate to stay competitive. 

However, traditional media networks often hinder the speed and flexibility required for innovation. Many of the organisations that are adapting most rapidly have found that the solution lies in automation, particularly through more agile, software-defined media networks. These networks are transforming content delivery and streamlining operations, allowing companies to launch new offerings more swiftly and effectively.

The limitations of traditional media networks

Traditional media networks, implemented on rigid architectures and manual operations, are increasingly becoming a hindrance or drag for companies striving to meet the growing demand for diverse, high-quality content. Through a non-segmented architecture that may be open to misconfiguration risks, such networks often involve laborious processes that are not only time-consuming but also prone to human error. As media organisations face the challenges of managing more complex workflows and maintaining high delivery standards, the need for more dynamic solutions becomes evident.

In the past, launching a new channel or service could take several months of meticulous planning and preparation as equipment was manually provisioned and signal flows routed. This slow pace is no longer viable in today’s fast-moving media environment, where agility and rapid response are key to staying competitive. The next chapter of video production and delivery requires speed and automation, and this is where software-defined media networks come into play.

The imperative for software-defined media networks

Software-defined media networks offer a dynamic framework that enables media organisations to adapt quickly to changes and scale operations efficiently. These networks are designed to be flexible, allowing for rapid reconfiguration and expansion based on current needs. Automation serves as the backbone of these networks, reducing operational complexity and enhancing content delivery across multiple platforms.

The power of cloud technology has also played a crucial role in this transformation. Software-defined media platforms and hardware products operating with software deliver the flexibility and agility that media organisations need to innovate and evolve quickly and reliably. This cloud-based approach allows for on-demand scalability and regionalised provisioning with remote management and control, opening up new opportunities for collaboration and efficiency.

One of the significant advantages of software-defined media networks is their ability to manage increasing volumes of content seamlessly. By establishing ‘software layers’ of control and monitoring based on open APIs, media organisations can configure, reconfigure, expand, and monitor systems and networks very quickly and effectively. This capability is particularly crucial during high-stakes events such as live sports broadcasts, during which the network can rapidly scale up and add more live feed destinations, tapping into growing monetisable audiences. It can then scale down quickly to accommodate network traffic troughs and avoid the costs of running at full speed unnecessarily. This dynamic approach not only improves efficiency but also frees up resources that can be reinvested in projects that drive further innovation. 

Fostering innovation through automation

Beyond improving operational efficiencies, software-defined media networks unleash unparalleled creativity and innovation through their speed and reliability.  Automation tools that manage content end-to-end, and can adapt media platforms and networks at a moment’s notice, are mission-critical to agile and operationally efficient networks. By automating routine tasks, creative teams can focus more on content creation and less on the logistical aspects of media production. This shift allows media companies to experiment with new formats, engage with audiences in novel ways and use staff in the most effective manner to stay ahead of industry trends.

Enabling business success

The journey towards fully automated, software-defined media networks is pivotal for the success of modern media enterprises. As we advance, the integration of sophisticated automation tools will play a crucial role in reshaping media operations, enhancing content delivery, and ensuring that media companies can continue to deliver captivating, high-quality content to audiences worldwide.

Automation is not just a means to an end; it is the driving force behind the future of media. By embracing automation, media companies can streamline operations, reduce costs, and foster innovation, positioning themselves as leaders in a rapidly evolving industry. The future of media is automated, and those who adapt will likely thrive in this new era where content and agility is king.