Technology Record - Issue 28: Spring 2023

44 one of ‘win at all costs’ to one of responsible growth. There can be no doubt that doing more with less will be key and technologies that enable that will be a critical success factor. Microsoft is well-positioned to enable ongoing innovation during these challenging times. The company has been investing heavily in cloud computing and artificial intelligence, which can help media companies improve their digital capabilities and better engage with audiences. Microsoft also has a range of products and services that can support media companies, including its cloud computing platform Azure and professional networking site LinkedIn. Microsoft also enables innovation through its investments in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and innovative technologies such as mixed reality and virtual reality. The cloud is clearly at the heart of digital media. Where are Azure and associated cloud-connected products driving the greatest competitive advantages right now? The benefits of the cloud are numerous. Azure’s ability to quickly and easily scale up or down based on demand is a major advantage for media businesses. The advancement in artificial intelligence technology and the Microsoft partnership with OpenAI will influence every pillar of the media industry to help organisations automate content production processes and improve customer experiences. Together, these will enable media and entertainment organisations to respond to market conditions in a far nimbler way. Azure’s infrastructure and AI services will help organisations across media gain a competitive advantage. There is no such thing in media as a one-size-fits-all model and it is an industry known for fluctuating business and technical demands, where data has become the new currency. While Azure handles identity management and threat protection, the integration with products such as Dynamics 365 enables businesses to easily analyse and gain insights from their data, which is needed for content and experience personalisation. There are two specific Microsoft solutions that offer true differentiation in media. PlayFab is a first-party service that brings gamification, loyalty and engagement to media. It offers a fully unified customer experience toolkit that also adds real-time first-party data that can instantly be used to monetise a customer’s journey. Xandr is our data-enabled technology platform powering a global marketplace for premium advertising that we are working to embed deeply into both an overall advertising technology modernisation solution and future partner integrations. Azure's flexibility, scalability, security, and range of services are driving competitive advantages for businesses not only in media and entertainment, but also across a wide range of industries. Tell us a little about the partner ecosystem that Microsoft has created within this sector and where you see these organisations delivering real value for customers. Partners are essential to Microsoft for a variety of reasons. We work together with our partners to achieve more. They extend Microsoft’s reach. Microsoft has a vast product portfolio that includes everything from operating systems to productivity software to cloud services. By partnering with other companies, Microsoft can connect with customers in industries or geographies where it may not have a strong presence. In addition, Microsoft’s partners are often experts in specific industries or technologies, which enables them to deliver specialised solutions and services that meet the unique needs of customers. Highlights from media partners include Harmonic’s ability to deliver a high-capacity streaming service for international sporting events and MediaKind’s live streaming and on-demand application programming interfacess all running on Azure to deliver the highest quality streaming experiences for the NBA’s direct-to-consumer platform. Photo: iStock/FilippoBacci EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW