This is the first in a four-part blog series guest-authored by video tech expert Brian Ring. Stay tuned to read Brian’s timely musings about sports, news and enterprise video workflows as well his next #FutureOfTV Survey, dropping on October 2, 2020.
Technology marches forward, but not always at an even pace.
Software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service – all of these behemoth biz models for tech align with the mega-trend of them all: cloud-native, microservices computing.
The idea here, and a source of ‘the cloud’ as metaphor, is that in a world of pervasive, perfect and abundant connectivity, a centralized compute mega-facility could achieve “hyper-scale” – a state in which cost efficiency and granular agility blend into a Holy Grail.
This cheap compute, in turn, means software can automate everything. Marc Andreeson’s “software is eating the world” visual riffs off this. At the same time – that software gets deployed as highly granular microservices, each accessible by an API call of some useful flavor. The on-demand cloud API economy powers ahead.
But wait – who’s calling the shots? Who’s asking for what file to be sent to which transcoder? When should we hit that AI service with this stream of words extracted from eight multi-language audio tracks of that feed? And who invented pervasive, abundant & perfect connectivity? Cloud is powerful – but it’s not that simple.
In the cloud tech economy, the next wave is all about Orchestration.
Yes, it’s a buzzword — and a great one at that. It’s sticky and descriptive in a semantically meaningful way.
Technology Orchestration, I’ll suggest, is the art and science of connecting microservices / APIs, automation, and human talent to an optimized mix of technology resources.
But as with video itself, complexity lives at a deeper level.
The very idea of technology orchestration is borne of enterprise IT concept known as the Enterprise Service Bus. Today, an increasing number of enterprise SaaS tools are seeking to take an over-simplified version of this concept into a video & TV media infrastructure ecosystem that hasn’t fully cloudified by any stretch.
Many of them can upload a file, kick-out an email, or schedule a meeting.
Few have worked a remote production workflow involving 2,000 live feeds and 1.9 Petabytes of content, or coordinated three real-time sports clipping workflows integrating IBM Aspera, Telestream Vantage and Lightspeed Live Capture. (Yes, REACH ENGINE has.)
Video is, was, and always will be a more complex media than images, text or audio. That’s true in a raw sense – it comprises all these assets and then some – and it’s also true because of the immense economic and historical structures fueling the various global commercial markets that video has spawned, from Broadcast to Cable to Streaming.
In a vacuum, new tech is easy. But commercial markets are critical to progress – each of them is undergirded by a web of technical standards, file formats, transfer protocols not to mention an enormous set of business policy requirements governing everything from how closed captions are executed to the way that advertising pods are lined up for view. Complexity is everywhere.
Finally, today, traditional video, TV and broadcast technology has started to move to the cloud in earnest. But it has never been clearer that the optimal model for managing large, efficient and agile video infrastructure is really about Hybrid Cloud: i.e. a combination of on-prem, private cloud and public cloud services.
Optimizing existing video infrastructure, extending the useful life and agility of that infrastructure, swapping out one cloud storage service for another to save costs on a massive archive without losing anything precious – that’s the power of Dynamic Media Orchestration.
It’s the ability to understand multi-platform media workflows at a gut level. It means having pre-integrated solutions that enable video creators to launch “out of the box” growth use cases from fast-turn social media to self-scaling, self-healing streaming distribution workflows.
So while there is an increasing number of tools today that appear to orchestrate video – be aware, these aren’t media workflows.
In truth? This explosion of offerings is leading to suboptimal cloud waste in many organizations today.
Dynamic Media Orchestration solves this.
And, as you already know, REACH ENGINE by Levels Beyond is the Dynamic Media Orchestration leader.
What’s the nutshell definition of Dynamic Media Orchestration according to LevelsBeyond? Three things:
The flexibility to do this easily, on-demand and with proper user roles and permissions is the unique selling proposition of REACH ENGINE. But don’t take my word for it. Set a meeting with Art Raymond of Levels Beyond and judge for yourself.
Brian Ring is principal analyst at Ring Digital llc, a revenue growth consultancy that uses consumer surveys to understand changing viewing behaviors, inform client product strategies and execute go-to-market thought leadership for video innovators serving TV providers, networks, studios and broadcasters around the world.