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IBC 2016: Takeaways from the Year’s Biggest Broadcast Event

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

 

Ah, Amsterdam…famed for its tulip fields, wooden clogs, bicycle rides through the city, and an annual industry gathering that unites more than 55,000 media and entertainment professionals to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the world of broadcasting.

The International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) is always a great opportunity to connect with our global customers, partners and hear about the major developments taking place in media & entertainment today.

This was my 4th time attending IBC and, as at previous conferences, there was no shortage of exciting product announcements, customer and partnership wins, and spirited discussions about what’s ahead for us in the coming year(s). Here’s a high-level snapshot of the major trends I saw at IBC this year:

hanging-sign

Enterprise IT Shaping M&E’s Migration to IP

We continue to see progress in the migration to all IP workflows, and this evolution is taking shape with lessons from enterprise IT. In an industry where flexibility and agility are key, proprietary media hardware will quickly become a roadblock to the next generation of simplicity.

I had the opportunity to visit the IBC IP Interoperability Zone, which featured more than 30 diverse demos of verified technical interoperability over IP. The new initiative was developed by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) and the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM), with a shared vision (as expressed by Peter White, IABM CEO in an article from SVG) to “remove the roadblock that uncertainty over standards and interoperability has put in the way of end-users’ decisions to transition to the many potential operating and cost benefits of IP technology in the broadcast production chain.”

Potential, not pixels, is what matters

I think the next significant growth area in the M&E space will be around data analytics, particularly in light of how “TV” as we know it has evolved. Further, machine learning (AKA AI or deep learning), is becoming increasingly sophisticated particularly around the areas of video search.

Look at the ways that televisions themselves at been evolving. Even as recently as a few years ago, when it came to buying a TV (or any ”entertainment viewing device,” for that matter), what mattered most was the picture quality. Screens were still relatively large and bulky in size and resolution was often the primary consideration for consumers. Those buying factors have changed, to where we think of TV (again, “entertainment viewing devices”) more as a sophisticated media hub than just a humble television. Long gone are the days of “appointment viewing,” where viewers had a specific day and time to watch a program before it was gone forever. Today the conversation is around USB ports, storage, networking, wireless connectivity and on-demand viewing, just for starters.

In fact, I’d like to designate NHK for “T.V. Burns Top Pick for Best Demo at IBC” for their awe-inspiring 130″ 8K display screen f(made up of 4x4K OLED panels) that was just 2mm thick, including bezel! Talk about taking your next weekend movie night to the next level!

Virtual Reality (VR) Closer to Becoming Actual Reality

VR was everywhere at IBC, with myriad demos, launches and partnerships being announced that will ultimately bring us all one step closer to experiencing true VR. The fact is that the way that consumers experience programming is fast becoming richer and more lifelike than ever. It’s not far-off to say that soon we’ll no longer “watch” TV but rather “experience” it through full video and audio immersion with a 360 view of our content.

Notably at IBC, Kaltura launched the VR Alliance, in conjunction with founding partners Inception, 24i Media, Encompass and Harmonic. The “Future Zone” on the exhibit floor was incredibly popular, with attendees being able to interact with realistic avatars via LiveLike, and an interactive cooking show from BBC R&D (Cook-Along Kitchen Experience, or CAKE) that adjusts the content in real-time to align with the viewer’s cooking.

The World Gets Smaller

Consolidation and partnership were definitely in the air at IBC, with a slew of acquisition announcements coming out around the event. Rovi closed its $1.1B acquisition of TiVo; Blackmagic Design bought both Fairlight and Ultimatte; Ross Video announced the acquisition of Abekas, Inc.; and Telestream announced the acquisition of UK-based Quality Control (QC) technology specialist, Vidcheck. In partnership news, Ericsson and Google joined forces to combine Ericsson’s MediaFirst platform into Google’s Android TV ecosystem.

If you were at IBC – or if you were monitoring developments from home – what were your favorite announcements and developments? Let us know what you think the next year will bring for the M&E space after this year’s event.

This summer, NBC captured history while setting standards for the future

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

This summer, NBC captured history while setting standards for the future.

Building on its history covering the Olympic Games, NBC provided viewers in the United States a front row seat to the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

Projects such as covering the Games, a 17-day live concurrent event, require the ultimate in scalable, reliable storage. NBC uses the EMC Isilon product line to store and stage video captured during these irreplaceable moments of sporting glory, as well as audio, stills and motion graphics.

Isilon’s 3 Petabyte storage repository bridges the gap from Stamford to Rio, where it functioned as a single large Data Lake, enabling real-time global collaborative production supporting the entire broadcast. Adding Isilon nodes without downtime allows the addition of storage capacity and network throughput while maintaining seamless access to a rock solid platform.

NBC selected the EMC Isilon product line as a reliable, proven infrastructure, to manage their storage.

 

 

IABM Selects EMC as a Game Changer for Storage at NAB Show

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

Hello from the NAB Show in Las Vegas! It’s been a terrific couple of days so far and the team is having a great time connecting with our customers, partners, prospects and others in the broadcast and media technology community.

game_changer_logo_for_web_bannerWe’ve got some exciting news to share from the show – the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM) presented EMC with the 2016 Game Changer Award in the storage category for Isilon CloudPools and IsilonSD Edge. These new products help media organizations integrate cloud storage into their current workflows and easily enable new remote office productions.

The media industry is built on change, and today the media business of creation and delivery is no exception. As higher resolution formats and new delivery methods create turbulence in the industry, media professionals are looking for best-of-breed technology that will future-proof their workflows and transform their business to meet tomorrow’s needs.

From day one, EMC has thought differently about the media industry: we’ve always believed in challenging the status quo of how storage is used in creation, processing and delivery of media. With Isilon storage we’ve done that by creating simple, easy to manage, high performance, and cost-effective tiers of storage that are all in one flexible pool.  A single pool of storage lets artists and editors easily share assets across the workflow, while providing a single point of storage management throughout the life cycle of the storage infrastructure.

EMC Isilon SD Edge graphic

Perhaps more importantly, from the ground up, we’ve future-proofed our products by design. The Isilon storage platform can be incrementally and modularly grown as business needs change or technology requires component replacement. There’s no need to acquire the infrastructure today based on predictions of what will happen in the next three years—simply grow the storage system in increments that follow business cycles. If a portion of the infrastructure is no longer cost-effective, gradually replace those portions with new technology—seamlessly and cost-effectively.

The judging panel of 40 independent industry professionals described the products as “a development of a well-established professional, high performance media storage system [that] enables a hybrid approach in migrating to cloud-based storage.”

This Game Changer award is a testament to our team’s dedication and hard work to provide thousands of organizations in the media and entertainment industries the most effective storage solutions. From all of us at EMC, we want to extend our thanks and appreciation to the IABM for this recognition.

Is the Media & Entertainment industry in the middle of a major transformation?

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

Media Companies in 2016 find themselves “in the middle of things”:

  • a “peak TV” environment in which cable channels are bursting with high-quality scripted episodic programming
  • an on-demand subscriber environment that has revolutionized the way consumers find and watch entertainment
  • immersive environments which have changed the grammar of visual storytelling

“We can’t really even call it television anymore…”
When I took this gig as CTO, Media & Entertainment for EMC, one thing that intrigued me about the role was how EMC thought differently about the media industry: they focused on helping media companies create and deliver great stories. We do this by leveraging the evolving concepts from traditional enterprise IT such as software-defined storage and converged infrastructure to provide adaptable carrier-grade solutions and a future-proof infrastructure to their media customers. This year is no different as we’re introducing a host of new features to our flagship Isilon product—features that expand a media organization’s reach from “Edge to Core to Cloud.” (I’ll talk about how this relates to media organizations in a sec…)

“The software-defined media facility”
Broadcasters, advertiser- and subscriber-supported OTT providers, content creators, aggregators and the entire ecosystem of partners and suppliers are really in the “Entertainment Services Delivery” market. Technology infrastructures like software-defined storage and software-defined networking will allow broadcasters to make changes to their workflows programmatically. This is the “new normal” – of adding or migrating new services in days rather than months.

As our media customers have responded to this re-definition of their business, we’ve introduced new features that let them do things they’ve never done before. For example, last year we introduced the concept of a “Media Lake”—essentially a single, high-performance shared resource that let media organizations consolidate their data into a central repository. Rather than copying your data to some other silo, transforming it and copying it back – the idea is to leave your data in one place and execute the value-creation operations (whether it’s encoding, archiving, creative editorial, analytics or what have you) while you leave the data in place – it saves you time, enables collaboration and reduces the possibility of error.

Isilon Media and Entertainment Data Lake
This year we’ve doubled our investment in the idea of a media data lake—announcing “Media Lake 2.0,” which gives our media customers new capabilities that allow productions to extend to “edge” (smaller or remote) locations, optimize their core media operations, and leverage public/private/hybrid clouds.

The new Isilon software upgrades and products being introduced include:

OneFS 8.0—improves availability failover reliability for Isilon storage clusters.  OneFS 8.0 includes multiple features, but the ones that are critical for Media & Entertainment include non-disruptive operating system upgrades, upgrade rollback, and non-disruptive operations.  In addition, OneFS 8.0 incorporates support for SMB3.0 Continuous Availability for increased reliability and availability for Windows clients.

One of our long-standing partners Jeff Snyder Nexio Mediaand premier media industry vendor, Imagine Communications, recently tested OneFS 8.0 in their lab and at one of their customers’ sites.  As a  global leader in video and advertising solutions—nearly half of the world’s video channels traverse through more than three million Imagine Communications products deployed across 185 countries.

That’s why we look to Imagine to give us feedback on our solutions as they definitely know how to stress new technology.  For OneFS 8.0 they were specifically interested in the non-disruptive upgrades and the improvements in SMB 3.0.

In testing, Imagine found the scale-out and failover from EMC Isilon makes it one of the “best” NAS solutions they’ve tested. The continuous availability options (the ability to upgrade or update on-the-fly) and improvements in the SMB protocol gave them functionality and bandwidth “they couldn’t get with other NAS products.”

IsilonSD Edge—provides a software-defined storage solution that allows media companies to quickly and seamlessly gain access to production and talent wherever great stories are created and captured. In addition, as a software-defined storage solution, IsilonSD Edge runs on commodity hardware in a virtual environment—substantially reducing costs and increasing agility. IsilonSD Edge extends the Media Data Lake across geographies, allowing “follow-the-sun” content creation and delivery from remote and branch facilities. Media data lake synchronization with remote assets reduces inefficiencies and accelerates production times by sharing critical production media assets.

EMC Isilon CloudPools—enables Isilon media customers to seamlessly archive or tier assets from their Isilon cluster to an in-house (private) cloud based on EMC ECS, or a choice of public cloud providers, or a combination of both. This gives a media organization the flexibility and simplicity to dynamically expand beyond their current capacity and archive storage into any cloud-based solution. With CloudPools, data that is transmitted to the cloud is encrypted for security purposes and compressed to optimize the network bandwidth usage.

“Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…”
The industry continues to change at a dramatic pace, and we realize our customers need to not only adapt and transform but also profit from their efforts.  That’s why we continue to challenge the status quo for our media customers.   Whether it’s jointly developing end-to-end workflows solutions with great industry partners like Imagine Communications, or upgrading the Isilon platform with innovative features like the CloudPools and IsilonSD Edge, our goal is to give our customers a foundation for future-proofing their business and workflow needs.

@TVBurns

Thoughts from the road: OTT Media Delivery Trends

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

In my recent article, “Get Ready for Changes in Media and Entertainment”, I riffed on a number of imminent technological and cultural phenomena such as automation, UHD/4K, security and the application of analytics to the media and entertainment industry.

Now I’m back from a pre-IBCMedia OTT leadership summit in Amsterdam, where I took part in a great discussion of OTT business models, during which I compared OTT to a gold rush: content providers in a hits-driven industry competing for nuggets of viewer attention. All the panelists agreed that existing media companies have to re-tool their workflow and infrastructure in order to stay competitive.

There are a lot of new contenders and it’s certain that we are still in the early days of OTT delivery, with ad-supported (AVOD) and subscriber-supported (SVOD) as two of the more successful business models to date. With all this activity in the market, the future of media delivery will be decided sooner than later as large and small content providers settle on their strategy.

I don’t think the workflow versus business model dichotomy is the problem, it’s actually an opportunity. In customer meetings, I advise media companies to profile their content and subscriber base first, and then choose a suitable distribution platform. That way, they can hedge their bets if they own or create multiple types of programming. It seems like the millennials are quickly moving in one direction and, as I keep saying, and as soon as the parents’ generation can navigate the OTT interfaces (or someone builds a better one) the majority of viewers will switch to on demand video.

Lights, Camera, Disruption! Heading to Digital Hollywood

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

Digital Hollywood, oneHollywood of the leading trade conferences in media and entertainment, takes place this week in Marina del Rey. The event hosts top executives in the film, television, music, home video, cable, telecommunications and computer industries. I’m honored to be part of the Oct. 20 panel, “Future of TV – Wall St. Analysts Meet Industry Executives – It’s All About Innovation and Disruption – Chasing the New Normal in the Entertainment & Technology Industries.”

As the media and entertainment industry continues to undergo a rapid transformation in content production, distribution and consumption, the discussion is an opportunity to highlight the impact of new technologies on the future of television and the current business models in place. I look forward to debating this exciting topic with my colleagues and getting their thoughts on what it takes to attract and maintain an audience in this increasingly fragmented marketplace.

If you’re attending the event, please stop by and say hello. If you’re unable to attend, submit your questions in the comments below.

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