MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Cloudy Days Becoming the Norm in Media

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 28, 2014


When I arrived in Vegas two and half weeks ago, to attend NAB 2014, I anticipated a greater focus on cloud. I was not disappointed. The cloud was a dominant part of the conversation, with companies at all points along the media value chain providing cloud enabled solutions. Transcoding and storage have long been the poster children for cloud services.  Why? Because, transcoding is an infrastructure heavy process, challenging ROI goals due to the high cost in building the required server farms and the inconsistent use of the servers.  

As for storage, the cloud addresses a variety of concerns. The adoption of cloud storage, across all industries, was initially focused around disaster recovery. Companies opted for cost effective solutions to store and protect key assets. However, other valid uses quickly became apparent. Centralized access to media assets for either professional or consumer purposes addresses concerns for ease of access, effective collaboration and workflow efficiency. While concerns for content security have diminished, they have not complete disappeared. 

The business drivers remain consistent: increased collaboration, quicker time to market, enabling new business models, cost flexibility and  infrastructure scalability. At NAB, companies across the media industry announced and promoted their solutions in and for the cloud. From the Level 3 Communications bus, parked outside the South Hall, decorated in clouds, to the Avid Everywhere announcement. The cloud was front and center. 

     - Grass Valley introduced its cloud-based GV Stratus Playout solution, which positions playout cards at the edge of any network to provide fame accurate playback, displays still and animated logos and high quality pre-rendered graphics.  

    - Forbidden Technologies, a leader is cloud based workflow,  announced its rebranding to better reflect is primary solution, Forscene, which is a cloud-based video post-production platform.  

     - RGB Networks presented its CloudXStream capabilities, a cloud enabled platform to manage ad insertion for multiscreen and nDVR solutions

     - Vizrt now provides a cloud based media repository, on-demand media processing, management and storage services in the cloud leveraging their VIzOne Media Asset Management Services in combination with Aspera's FASP high speed transfer.

     - Chyron's Axis World Graphics allow broadcasters to create graphics such as high resolution maps, 3D charts or financial quotes for broadcast, online and second screens (aka mobile) - all in the cloud.

     - Imagine Communications (formerly Harris Broadcast) offers SelinioNext adaptive bit rate transcoding leveraging its IP based framework, MediaCentral, for migrating and optimizing media and playout functionality in virtualized cloud environments.

These are just a sampling of the announcements that exemplify the industry focus on cloud. All of this attention to cloud is good news for IT companies. The evolution of digital workflows and IP networks have set the stage for this transition. Companies like Microsoft and its Microsoft Azure Media Services partners with Forscene, Imagine Communicaitons, Wowza Media, Digital Rapids and NBC to enable live and on-demand cloud-based media workflows. IBM SoftLayer, a global cloud infrastructure, sits behind solutions from Vizrt and Imagine Communications. While Amazon Web Services is the enabler for Telestream, Harmonic, Wowza, Adobe Creative Cloud and others.

Sometimes a cloud day is good news. It looks like clouds are here to stay in the media industry.

What's your perspective?