Technology Record - Issue 24: Spring 2022

130 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E “It’s very easy to build and distribute content through an on-premises environment, however its quite another from remote locations where connectivity can be poor. Bringing solutions closer to the edge and closing that connectivity gap will help us move from connected assets to connected ecosystems. So, in combination with our partners and the Microsoft technology stack, we’re going to build solutions that are interoperable with each other in a very seamless and reliable way. That’s one of the main advantages Microsoft brings to media and entertainment; the ability to power foundational services with Microsoft Azure and media workflows with the power platform to automate processes.” “It’s hard sometimes for media organisations to understand the potential benefits of leveraging these cloud and edge-type solutions,” he continues. “They’re not always cheaper, but there’s a reason for that. They provide a lot of flexibility, efficiencies and strategic value that they won’t see with a traditional approach.” The Microsoft Power Platform, made up of Power BI, Power Apps and Power Automate, also provides a way for media organisations to make better use of their data insights. Low-code apps can be built quickly and inexpensively to solve challenges in production, while organisational processes that may have previously taken up valuable time can be automated to boost productivity. Crownshaw points to the success of this approach in other industries as providing an example for media companies to follow. “What you’ve seen from other industries such as manufacturing or automotive has been the ability to build these apps in a quick, simple way,” says Crownshaw. “The Power Platform provides the ability to automate processes that may previously have required the work of several people, which is game-changing in an industry that’s as time-sensitive as media. The savings, accessibility and flexibility in a low-code or no-code environment are of huge value.” The development of personalised content also depends upon a thorough understanding of a viewer’s behaviour and interests, indicating the type of content that would most interest them. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for media and entertainment and the data accelerators expand the Power Platform and available Common Data models with media-centric concepts for fan engagement and content production. Six unique sample applications provide examples and materials for media experiences, while a sample Microsoft Power portal provides the capability for media organisations to enable self-registration for media events and the joining of live events through Microsoft Teams. “The accelerator gives media organisations the ability to absorb a significant amount of data across multiple applications and then bring that together to drive insights into the many different types of customers,” says Crownshaw. “Where are they in the world? What content are they experiencing? How are they accessing it? The platform helps organisations to build dashboards that allow them to really understand their customers, enabling data-driven decisions that can take them where they want to go.” With the restrictions created by the pandemic now gradually beginning to lift across the world, the innovations in personalised digital content that have taken place are colliding with the return of in-person interaction. Crownshaw predicts that the industry will see further innovations in the future as it continues to explore the possibilities of personalised media and entertainment. “We’re now seeing the blending of the physical and the digital worlds in a new and exciting way,” says Crownshaw. “There are all sorts of new experiences that we can drive. For example, you could experience a watch party in the metaverse through a virtual reality headset, interacting with other people through a virtual representation of yourself. The future will see us taking those elements of personalisation and community further than we’ve ever gone before.”