The pandemic has highlighted two things for media and telecommunications (telcos) companies. First, the importance of scalability, with the surge in popularity of streaming during the various lockdowns. Second, the importance of flexibility, with chip shortages and the associated supply chain disruptions.
In 2022, media companies and telcos showed an increasing focus on profitability. Telcos have invested heavily in their 5G networks, stressing the technology’s importance for their final profit or loss figures. Meanwhile, media companies have taken a two-pronged approach, focusing on continued consolidation and adapting to the ongoing 'streaming war'. The latter has driven them to invest heavily in content and streaming technology while operating at a loss. After all those investments, they were ready for some returns.
The video industry is showing an unprecedented interest in using cloud computing to improve both scalability and flexibility. While cloud adoption is still relatively low (under 20 per cent), spending in cloud infrastructure is now growing at a rate six times greater than that of traditional IT hardware. In this gold rush of rapid cloud adoption, media and telco companies must rethink their technology sourcing strategy.
Traditionally, media companies and telcos have adopted a best-of-breed approach for individual services, which has resulted in fragmented ecosystems, little standardisation and a lot of legacy or proprietary technologies. This is not a viable cloud strategy as a video delivery chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This generally leads to a low-quality experience, lower efficiency and increased costs.
Over the past few years however, standardisation protocols have improved the delivery of video services in a cloud environment. For example, Reliable Internet Stream Transport, Secure Reliable Transport and Network Device Interface have improved signal transmission to the cloud, enabling new workflows such as full remote production.
Others, such as Common Media Application Format – which provides a way of packaging and delivering HTTP-based media – finally seem to offer a single industry standard that leads to higher efficiency, better caching, reduced latency and lower operational costs. These new tightly integrated end-to-end ecosystems provide higher levels of service and better overall value compared to legacy fragmented ecosystems.
The cloud is a truly transformative technology that will impact every aspect of business. Migrating one workload to the cloud will affect other aspects of the business. This means that when bringing a video ecosystem to the cloud, businesses should not be asking “which workload should be moved to the cloud,” but “which workload should be moved to the cloud first”.
A video ecosystem in the cloud should be built following an open timeline, not as a project with a deadline. Prime workloads for migration can be identified with two questions: what would benefit most from the cloud? And what would be the easiest workload to migrate to the cloud?
Building a cloud ecosystem of connected cloud-native applications with a centralised monitoring system and analytics allows for new synergies to emerge, enabling new opportunities. Depending on the overall corporate strategy and objectives, businesses can consider different migration paths.
For example, an innovation-focused migration strategy can lead to new services that attract more customers and create increased revenue streams such as personalised, free, ad-supported streaming TV channels.
On the other hand, a rejuvenation-focused strategy can lead to strong improvements in cash flow and operational efficiency. For instance, software-as-a-service solutions can deliver a paradigm change. Content owners looking to reduce their costs can send all their content to the cloud for remote production and securely distribute it with low latency to their affiliates or subscribers through the public cloud, using only the resources they want and when they need them.
This new cloud environment brings advanced opportunities for media companies and telcos that can differentiate themselves from the competition and create new revenue streams while reducing operational costs. But to do that, they need an integrated solution that avoids the pitfalls that could lead to a degraded viewing experience. Ateme’s wide portfolio of cloud-native, pre-integrated solutions has already supported several of these businesses in accomplishing their migration objectives.
François Guilleautot is the director of cloud solutions at Ateme
This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.