The media industry is undoubtedly going through a major revolution. Content production is booming with new entrants, varying from individuals broadcasting online to multinational corporations that traditionally focused on other aspects of the media industry, now producing more content delivered through many different platforms and devices. Managers in our industry constantly face pressure to produce more, higher-quality content in shorter periods of time, and with fewer resources than before. We are all pressured to do more with less.
In addition to being a challenge for media companies themselves, this ever-evolving media landscape imposes the same market dynamics on solution providers. They are tasked with constantly reviewing and amending product lines to ensure their solutions can evolve and adapt in order to provide media companies with the right tools at the right time.
The media opportunity is a challenge for solution providers
For media companies, these challenges also represent an opportunity by enabling them to provide a wide range of content to consumers in a myriad of ways. The challenge of fierce competition is also the opportunity for almost anyone to have a place in this industry. Furthermore, many consumers are signing up to several services, creating more room than ever before, even for extremely niche content offerings.
This also indicates that there is are a vast number of potential media-centric workflows, depending on the content provider, the platforms, the type of content etc. For solution providers, this means there is increasing pressure to deliver flexible and efficient products that support the wide variety of workflows, whilst ensuring much needed security and reliability at all times so that precious content is not adversely affected. It is no longer enough to merely support flexible and dynamic models; today’s media solutions need thoroughly adaptable, service-oriented architectures that allow products to share a common technology base and ultimately be deployed anywhere in a load-balanced, high-availability fashion without compromising speed and reliability.
The cloud effect
One major buzzword in the industry right now is the cloud. Indeed, it is revolutionising the media industry, there is no question about it! The biggest advantage the cloud brings is flexibility to adapt to changes in demands and requirements, particularly in the dynamic workflows found in media enterprises. We live in the era of “doing more with less” – budgets are shrinking, and yet content is growing exponentially. The math quite simply does not add up if corporations continue to use traditional methods to meet these demands. The shift to the cloud is inevitable, as it allows media companies to very rapidly scale production systems, as well as support a geographically dispersed work force that covers events and productions all over the world. Ultimately, such a flexible infrastructure makes media organisations more efficient in tackling the challenges of our industry.
Yet, at the same time, the move to the cloud is causing challenges for some manufacturers and solution providers, as products for today’s media industry need to be designed with the cloud in mind. That means distributed, highly-available, and secure services that can be easily installed in any combination of modes (irrespective of geographic dispersion) – in data centers, on the cloud, on premise – thus allowing customers the greatest flexibility possible with respect to pacing out their most optimal transition to the cloud.
With the rise of cloud-based architectures, it is not surprising that we are witnessing many companies turning to a more services oriented model. The media industry is also looking for much more flexibility when it comes to choosing the right tools, favouring a build-it-themselves approach whereby different solutions are tightly integrated and bundled together for a bespoke offering.
Solution providers need more than ever to offer a service-orientated platform, deployable on a load-balanced, failover, distributed platform, which enables customers to take on the toughest challenges and minimise production time. By also making services available on an array of other popular platforms, customers can get the right tools in any environment they choose to adopt in their transition to cloud.
IP or not IP
IP has been a massive topic of discussion in the industry over recent months and years. Many industry pundits claim it is still years away from reality; however, that is definitely no longer the case. IP is already widely used for distribution and it will be taking centre stage in live productions over the coming months and years. Essentially, the technology already exists for full IP workflows, indicating that the main barrier to industry-wide adoption is, in fact, a question of integration. As more and more examples emerge of IP done well, we will see more and more providers follow suit in order to maximise the cost and bandwidth efficiencies afforded by IP. I, for one, look forward to witnessing the next big shift in this industry.
IP infrastructures are yet another challenge for solution providers and manufacturers who are having to totally rethink solutions to be IP centric. It is not enough to simply run traditional unwieldy solutions in an IP environment, which unfortunately many supposed IP solutions are doing. In other words, to truly get the benefits of IP workflows, solutions need to be built with IP in mind.
Solving the workflow puzzle
These significant shifts in the tech & media industry is offering media companies plenty of opportunities to engage with its audience like never before. As solution providers, we have an important role to play in helping shape the future of our industry and enabling content providers to concentrate on effectively producing the best content with the tools of their choosing. Ultimately, as solution providers we dedicate ourselves to constantly strive to solve the ever-dynamic workflow puzzle for the media industry, formulating the best possible solutions that address the pain points experienced by media enterprises.
By Felipe Santos, CTO, Glookast