17 Jun
2016

How Cloud Services Are Transforming the Digital Broadcasting Industry

Keeping up with technological advances is taxing for any business, but broadcasters face a set of unique content management and delivery challenges. The media and entertainment industry faces growing pressure to meet customers wherever they are and provide personalized viewing experiences across multiple platforms. Emerging technology like virtual reality and wearable devices also offer exciting new opportunities that broadcasters can’t afford to overlook. 

Innovative cloud-based solutions are the answer. Cloud infrastructure is at the heart of today’s most agile broadcasting companies. According to a study by advisory firm EY, 74 percent of digital leaders believe it’s important to have cloud business tools because it allows for lower-risk rapid deployment and scalability as conditions change. It also helps organizations achieve business revenue goals across the major phases of broadcasting. 

 

Production

Production workflows are the linchpin of the broadcasting cycle. Delays and glitches at this phase have a ripple effect. With cost-efficient, scalable infrastructure and easily customizable solutions, cloud services save organizations both time and money. 

NBCUniversal is tapping into Cisco’s cloud-based media services to produce, broadcast and televise the 2016 Summer Olympic Games later this year. Cisco IP Fabric for Media creates an infrastructure that accommodates virtual reality presentations, a greater number of camera feeds and higher resolutions of 4K and 8K video. The turnkey solution is optimized for media production environments and scales easily as production needs fluctuate, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership.

 

Storage 

According to a survey by Devoncroft, storage was mentioned the most often by 2014 BBS participants. The report explains that the need for more storage is due to low-cost digital acquisition technology, increasing shooting ratios and the need to profit from several distribution platforms. 

Products like Dropbox Business are used because of their ease of use and cross-platform accessibility. Real-time syncing keeps files up to date and makes collaboration effortless. As HD media files grow ever-larger, cloud storage provides immutable scalability that today’s fixed servers can’t provide. Dropbox Business also unifies employees, collaborators and freelancers at broadcasting companies.

What sets Dropbox Business apart from other cloud storage options is its ability to maintain existing workflows thanks to its integration with over 300,000 apps and systems commonly used in broadcasting, including Vimeo and Wiredrive. For all of these reasons, some large influencers in the broadcasting industry, such as Hearst Corporation, News Corp, Spotify, ReelWorld Media and RadioLab, are using this cloud-based tool.

 

Post-Production

For this year’s NAB Show, industry expert Stephen Streater writes that the cloud is ideally suited for post-production work because of its scalability, efficiency and impact on the editing process. “Proxies are continuing to improve in both quality and resolution, with, for example, higher resolutions provided for fine-cut editing than for logging,” he explains. “Conforming from original HD sources ensures minimal generation loss on the final output.” 

Streater also notes a growing trend of broadcasting professionals using cloud services in the workplace. He explains that an increasingly technology-literate workforce is accelerating cloud acceptance and adoption.

It’s important, however, that organizations don’t leave anything to chance. Inadequate file sharing tools put organizations at risk for lawsuits, loss of intellectual property and reputation damage. When broadcasters shop for post-production, cloud-based file storage and management tools, they need to find a solution that protects their content and is easy to use so workers aren’t tempted to look for other options that aren’t sanctioned by their IT department. 

Belgium’s largest hosting company, Hostbasket, is one of a growing number of service providers that build cloud-based enterprise file sync and sharing (EFSS) solutions like Nomadesk right into its customer solutions. Nomadesk and similar cloud services give broadcasting organizations a central repository to store, manage and encrypt important files. The risk of data loss grows exponentially with every tablet, laptop and smartphone broadcast professionals take into the field. Nomadesk’s remote access tools mean files are always accessible while built-in technology guards content on mobile devices in the event a device is lost or stolen. Devices can be tracked on Google Maps and wiped remotely if necessary. Alex Van Overloop, CEO of Hostbaket, explains, “The comprehensible rights management and remote wiping of data when a laptop is stolen are features that make the software one-of-a-kind.”

 

Airing/Broadcasting 

High-performance cloud infrastructure gives broadcasters a competitive advantage in the high stakes media and entertainment industry. By tapping into data centers around the world from a single unified platform, IBM Softlayer helps sports broadcaster BT Sport deliver personalized viewing experiences to customers during live events. For instance, BT’s on-location cameras can send live video streams at high speed to Softlayer, which uses processing technology so viewers can watch the video in near real time on connected devices.

The availability of high-quality video content across multiple devices is high on the list of unwavering customer expectations that are fueled by today’s popular streaming video services. Clever use of cloud services means broadcasters can keep up with technological advances, such as virtual reality and wearables, without breaking the bank or adding additional strain to a busy IT department.

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