This article first appeared in the
Autumn 2017 issue of The Record.
Extending media production to the cloud, in a way that best suits an organisation’s unique operational realities, creates the opportunity to both increase production capacity and ease the financial burdens of content creation and distribution.
Media organisations gain the licensing flexibility and business agility to align their technology solutions with the needs of their production environment. They can also connect and collaborate from anywhere, whether through a workstation, laptop, or mobile device – all while increasing efficiency across every facet of the media value chain.
With cloud-enabled workflows, media organisations can grow viewership and brand affinity, connect with their audiences in new ways, and fully protect their assets by operating in a secure environment. It’s easy to scale resources as needed to address peaks in demand, whether anticipated or not, and tap into massive economies of scale across workgroups and departments.
The flexibility and elasticity of cloud services enables media organisations to maximise the value of their assets by expanding to new outlets. They can repurpose material to exploit new revenue streams and grow brand affinity across a broader range of viewers by making content available everywhere they want to consume it – whether on TV, online, or via a mobile device.
The cloud provides some unique capabilities for media asset management (MAM) projects. The cloud can be used to help the environment scale on demand – for example, when content needs to be quickly transcoded or processed. If the assets are available in the cloud, processing jobs can be initiated on demand and scaled up, and then down again as required.
Using new machine learning and content analysis technologies in the cloud enables search and content discovery within archives with limited metadata to be discoverable in production timescales. In addition, MAM systems in the cloud can be very easy to implement using templated deployment methods.
Maximising the value of assets is only becoming more important in today’s always-on and connected entertainment ecosystems. MAM systems continue to be the framework clients use to connect tools and systems across the content lifecycle. When we add the cloud attributes of easier deployment, elastic scaling, new machine learning and content analysis tools, we predict that MAM will continue to grow in importance across the entire media supply chain.
The inaugural Avid Customer Association Vote, which gave Avid’s customer community the unprecedented opportunity to directly influence Avid’s future offerings, revealed that 71.7% of media professionals are considering moving some part of their infrastructure or workflow to the cloud over the next two years. However, just 4.8% are considering moving their entire infrastructure and workflow to the cloud.
This highlights the important role that hybrid cloud deployment models will play in the media industry’s future. Media organisations must ensure that they deploy cloud workflows that give them the flexibility to create, distribute and monetise their content using the deployment type that works best for them – be that on premise, via a private data centre, or through the public or hybrid cloud.
In the case of MAM projects, it’s important to understand and design the system to match the media organisation’s needs and economics. Looking carefully at the content lifecycle and understanding the media flows to ensure you understand all the operational, technical and economic impacts will help to inform the best way to design the architecture.
In many cases, that may still have on-premise elements but be able to scale in the cloud when required through a hybrid deployment model. Usually, a hybrid approach is more effective with metadata and proxies in the cloud to improve collaboration and asset re-use, while storage subsystems are kept in the on-premise environment.
Avid is leading the media industry’s ability to handle full-scale media production in the cloud. We’re working closely with Microsoft to offer innovative cloud solutions that work in concert with the Avid and Alliance Partner tools and services that our customers already use.
By extending the Avid MediaCentral Platform to the cloud on Microsoft Azure, we’re giving media organisations a wide choice of deployment options, including public cloud hosting and cloud service offerings. And regardless of their deployment model, media organisations of every type and size will have the same user experience, workflow power, speed, efficiency, and collaboration capabilities they’ve come to rely on from Avid.
We chose Microsoft Azure as our preferred cloud hosting platform because Microsoft provides a broad range of public cloud hosting and cloud service offerings that meet the needs and budget of any size media organisation. With the world’s most secure data centre environments, Microsoft can give media organisations peace of mind that their assets are protected and safe beyond the reach of any threat.
With Avid and Microsoft’s extensive cloud and media technology expertise, media organisations will be able to migrate existing production workloads to the cloud at their own pace and architect new ways of working more efficiently.
Craig Dwyer is senior director of the global center of excellence at Avid. Visit www.avid.com for more information