Along with storage reliability and data upload speeds, Third Summit needed to build a secure environment that would enable valuable media assets to be safely stored and shared within its flagship product, Alteon.
Developing Alteon also required technical expertise to allow customers to manage projects more effectively and to transition to more efficient digital workflows.
Third Summit turned to IBM Cloud Object Storage and Aspera High-Speed Transfer Server to provide a reliable infrastructure for data-intensive media projects. IBM Watson was also incorporated to analyze assets and make it easier for users to classify and search content.
ReliableA reliable platform for intensive media and entertainment projects
FastProvides high-speed performance - even for data-heavy transfers
SecureDelivers peace of mind that users’ valuable media assets are secure
Business Challenge Story
Transferring huge content files
Third Summit’s co-founder and CEO, Matt Cimaglia, has worked in the production industry for two decades, both as an entrepreneur and with large corporations, news networks and brand agencies. Over the years, he noticed recurring problems within the industry, which were often solved with ad hoc solutions. Those problems included consistent file transfers and asset storage, opaque hiring practices and delayed invoices. Companies would often rely on word of mouth recommendations, varying freemium storage solutions and physical hard drives instead of a single 21st-century solution.
Third Summit’s answer was to build an ecosystem of media and advertising solutions, called Alteon. The company turned its attention to developing its own core services to help customers manage projects more effectively and replace legacy processes with more efficient digital workflows. This is a particular issue for smaller companies where the costs of modern technologies can be prohibitive.
There are three services within Alteon: a production coordinator and talent marketplace (“Alteon Community”), a digital content manager (“Alteon Cloud”) and a payments system (“Alteon Pay”), all of which are accessible from one central platform. Within Alteon Community, hiring entities can create new projects, search through a database of candidates for specific skills and book those who are available. Once a project is underway, Alteon Cloud provides a central repository for storing, reviewing, sharing and managing different types of digital content. Alteon Pay lets stakeholders manage all the invoices involved in a project and track payments in a secure and transparent way, while also allowing creators to receive payment on-demand for a small percentage of their invoice, rather than wait for a month or longer.
Alteon is entering a rapidly ballooning field: the production industry. The popularity of streaming services and video ads has rocketed in recent years, while the gig economy is rapidly expanding despite economically uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated and sharpened those problems, emphasizing the importance of remote work and well-paying contracts. The leadership team at Third Summit recognized their strong position to help freelancers, contractors and remote workers attain easier workflows, rather than relying on ad hoc solutions. That meant finding a partner who understood those realities and was capable of scaling up as Alteon’s user base grew.
During the development of these services, Third Summit recognized the need for a partner with the knowledge to support the technical infrastructure and provide the storage reliability and data upload speeds required. With media projects frequently involving data-heavy assets – Third Summit expects most customers to each use at least a terabyte of data – the infrastructure had to be able to maintain an optimal level of performance and be accessible to stakeholders wherever they’re located. This meant the platform had to be able to deal with today’s data transfer challenges.
With camera resolutions now increasing to 8k, large file sizes were just one aspect of the problem. Another key issue was speed, especially considering how the platform’s technical capabilities had to meet other modern requirements, including facilitating collaboration among an expanding pool of users.
“With traditional means of transferring large amounts of data, like Dropbox for example, you face challenges such as content not being delivered or getting kicked off mid-transfer,” Cimaglia explains. “People get frustrated and end up shipping a drive instead, which is slow and insecure.”
Along with speed, security was also a key consideration for building, in particular, Alteon Cloud. “Based on our own internal data and industry research, two of the biggest concerns when it comes to asset management were speed and security,” Cimaglia says.
Moving content in a fraction of the time
Third Summit turned to IBM to form the backbone of its platform, which would provide a reliable and robust infrastructure to meet all the needs of intensive media and entertainment projects. For example, Alteon Cloud leverages IBM Cloud Object Storage, giving users access to a fast, durable and resilient platform that can store virtually limitless amounts of data in a cost-efficient way. Additionally, the integrated IBM Aspera high-speed data transfer option enables users to transfer any size content to and from Cloud Object Storage at maximum speed, providing increased flexibility during complex projects.
“There are a few elements that really stood out with IBM, and one of them is region replication,” Cimaglia says. “You can’t get that without having to spend a lot of money with other cloud providers. The other aspect is IBM Aspera. It’s such a powerful solution to be able to quickly upload, download and transfer files.”
The speed and availability of IBM’s cloud technology means the right content can get to users considerably faster than they could with a traditional TCP/IP connection, no matter their location. And it’s not just cloud storage; Alteon also uses IBM Aspera to offer long-term virtual archiving that can be turned on or off depending on the customer’s needs.
Alteon’s developers are currently testing Watson’s capabilities, as well. In this context, Watson would analyze video footage, audio clips and images to provide in-depth search capabilities, helping users search for specific phrases or themes in content and identify potential rights issues. The ability to tag and categorize files with detailed metadata helps users manage assets much more efficiently, which enables smaller companies to compete with large studios that have the resources to build and maintain their own cloud-based asset management systems.
“Watson’s image detection adds extremely valuable post-production capabilities to the platform,” Cimaglia says. “If I want to identify a specific person in every shot, I can click on that person’s face and the system will tell me where that person is in various edits of videos or pictures that were produced. This could help with rights management, such as blocking certain assets because you no longer have the rights to a specific actor or actress, or removing employees who no longer work at the company from promotional materials.”
A partner for future growth
With data stored on IBM Cloud, transferred with Aspera and analyzed by Watson, Alteon has used the IBM stack to offer a reliable, high-performing and secure platform for users.
In particular, the integration of Watson has provided Alteon with a valuable differentiator that it will build on in the future. Cimaglia adds: “We really want to start leveraging the power of AI and Watson to enrich media in ways that other cloud platforms simply don’t have available to them. This, combined with the ability to introduce these enterprise capabilities to the mainstream market, is the real power of our new platform.”
Most importantly, Third Summit is now in a position to drive future growth and technical development – particularly around Alteon Pay and the use of programmatic advertising – with the confidence that it has found a partner with the right knowledge and expertise to support such future projects.
“For us, this project was all about finding the right partner. It was about finding a company that wants to help us grow, and that has clearly been the case with IBM from the beginning. Building out this vision has felt like a collaboration as opposed to us just being another number on a spreadsheet. This level of personalization has been invaluable in the process of truly building a partnership.”
- High performance and availability assured: Alteon users will be able to upload and transfer content of any size quickly, and access those assets wherever they are in the world.
- AI differentiator: With IBM Watson, Third Summit is in a strong position to leverage the power of AI in ways that aren’t possible with other cloud platforms.
- Foundation for future growth: With the right partner in place, Alteon has access to the technical expertise and support it needs to expand and grow.
Alteon by Third Summit
Third Summit offers full-stack, enterprise-grade digital media and advertising solutions to the mainstream marketplace. Through a powerful, centralized ecosystem, the company helps independent creators, small and mid-sized agencies, developing brands and corporate in-house teams attain enterprise-grade workflows and technology that would otherwise be inaccessible. This enables Third Summit’s users to compete with multinational agencies that have traditionally dominated the advertising and communications arena, while still retaining the agility and flexibility of a start-up.