NAB 2015 showcases cloud’s crucial role in video

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Clouds over Vegas

At this week’s National Association of Broadcasters’ NAB 2015 show in Las Vegas, cloud, and its increasing role in media management, will share the stage with conference sessions on broadcast engineering and technology in cinema, and preview the kinds of technology that are likely to power enterprise video needs in the near future.

Last year, a portion of the NAB Show’s expo space was used as a dedicated cloud pavilion, says Ann Marie Cumming, senior vice president of communications with NAB. This year, cloud is the topic of two full days of conference sessions. The show’s Media Management in the Cloud track – a mini-conference within the conference – will kick off Tuesday with a keynote from Brian Stevens, vice president of cloud platforms at Google. Stevens will discuss how the adoption of cloud services is helping the media industry deal with its requirements for burst computing and long-term storage.

Among the sessions during the Media Management in the Cloud conference track at NAB 2015 are a look at using hybrid cloud technology to manage on-premise content across multiple locations, integrating cloud into broadcast workflow, planning cloud strategies, and cloud security.

While the media industry is pioneering uses of the cloud to inform and entertain, the enterprise market is not far behind. As video becomes a mainstream content type for enterprises, companies are following the path of the media and entertainment industry to cloud-based services that can offload the burden that video would otherwise place on corporate data centers.

“Video is becoming a mission-critical component of communication for both consumers and enterprise,” Shay David, co-founder of Kaltura, which provides cloud-based video solutions, said earlier this year at IBM’s InterConnect event. “The challenge is to make video a first-class citizen, a first-class data type, that can enjoy all the architecture that will allow smart business insights, analytics, security, mobility and anything else that enterprises and consumers come to expect. There’s ample room for collaboration, and we’re just getting started.”

At the show, Kaltura is launching a new Universal Digital Rights Management (DRM) solution designed to securely stream premium content regardless of which browser, device, or platform is used. In February, Turner Broadcasting System Latin America launched a new authenticated on-demand service based on Kaltura’s over-the-top (OTT) TV platform that is hosted on IBM’s SoftLayer cloud infrastructure.

Cloud deployment has already begun wringing out costs and boosting agility across the $11 billion enterprise video business. Enterprises are using streaming video both internally and externally, be it to share webcasts of their annual meetings or enable corporate training and education to happen whenever, wherever. And new collaborative ways of working are making videoconferencing the centerpiece of always-on corporate cultures.

As evidence of cloud’s growing popularity for enterprise video services, one IDC analyst says he is seeing a decline in enterprise video hardware sales, down 6.8 percent in 2014 from 2013 and marking the third consecutive year of decreasing full-year revenue.

“It’s still kind of nascent, but the emergence of cloud-based video service offerings is one reason for the decline in hardware sales,” says Rich Costello, senior analyst of enterprise communications infrastructure at IDC. “The business segment that has traditionally used video has been larger enterprises, but now we’re seeing video move to mid-and small-sized companies,” which also explains why cloud is becoming more popular. Smaller organizations typically lack the capital, infrastructure, and expertise to host video in house; the affordability and flexibility of cloud services make them an attractive alternative.

At NAB 2015, conference sessions will focus on the media and entertainment industry’s use of cloud for more than just distribution of video. These companies are beginning to rely on cloud to help handle their internal media production workflows, such as the behind-the-scenes mechanics of broadcasting live events or handling film-production processes like rendering, special effects, and editing. The agility, scalability, and affordability of cloud services to handle these workloads is making the model increasingly attractive to the industry.

“Cloud impacts every step of the end-to-end, file-based work flow, which starts with capture/ingest and ends with streaming to a connected TV or mobile device,” says Richard Heitmann, VP of marketing with Aspera, an IBM company. The company’s file-transfer software is designed to speed the movement of content through the digital processing pipeline, but is applicable to any organization needing to ingest, exchange, and distribute file-based digital media content quickly and securely.

Aspera this week will introduce Aspera Files, a SaaS offering for very large file sharing, exchange, and collaboration that the company says will help enterprises overcome a key limitation to using video – high-speed sharing of any size files, stored in the cloud or on premise, regardless of network conditions.

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