Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, announced that its playout, live encoding and dynamic ad insertion solutions are now available on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. In addition to providing new monetization opportunities for broadcasters, video service providers and other media companies, this suite of solutions offers the potential to dramatically improve the speed, efficiency and flexibility of media workflow operations by enabling secure, scalable and on-demand access via Azure.
This collaboration between leaders in the media and technology industries represents the most ambitious action to date to provide broadcast-quality video origination and distribution capabilities in the public cloud. Thousands of media companies from around the world can now have instant access to market-leading playout, encoding and dynamic ad insertion technology from an efficient, centralized and virtualized workflow environment made available through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.
“With more video content being managed and distributed over IP, media companies gain the benefit of network agility, flexibility and elasticity that cloud-based video capabilities offer,” said Charlie Vogt, CEO, Imagine Communications. “Imagine has been investing in hybrid IP, software-defined and cloud-enabled solutions to future-proof today’s buying decision and ensure our clients are prepared for the network of the future. Our collaboration with Microsoft advances the industry by providing incremental optionality for deploying our market-leading production, playout and distribution solutions in Azure.”
The following Imagine Communications solutions are Microsoft Azure Certified and available through the Azure Marketplace. Microsoft Azure Certified solutions have passed stringent testing and compatibility requirements to operate seamlessly in Azure.
Versio: The 100%-software, cloud-enabled Versio solution, now available in the virtualized Azure environment, offers market-leading integrated channel playout capabilities, including graphics, automation and master control. This award-winning solution simplifies the creation and management of channels and enables media companies to extend their brands and content with more freedom, visibility and control than ever before. Versio enables channels to be developed and deployed in the cloud, with options for OTT distribution through the cloud and for traditional distribution, including OTA, cable, satellite, and IPTV. Media companies can now use the combined flexibility of Versio and Azure for a variety of revenue-enhancing and cost-reducing applications.
SelenioFlex Live: SelenioFlex Live provides high-quality live encoding for high-value applications, from cloud DVR to live-event streaming to over-the-top (OTT) delivery of linear channels. With multiformat output flexibility and rich adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming support, SelenioFlex Live enables operators to reach audiences with superior-quality, live viewing experiences across the broadest range of devices. SelenioFlex Live in the Azure cloud provides media companies with affordable scale to match their rapidly evolving business needs, while avoiding the expense of purchasing premises-based, underutilized encoding and transcoding systems.
xG Ad Insertion for Multiscreen: xG AIM supports advanced ABR streaming to deliver hyper-targeted ads to smartphones, PCs, tablets, connected TVs and virtually any other device that receives live or on-demand video programming. The software-based xG AIM provides relevant ads in real time across various stream types — including live, VOD and cDVR — and on subscribers’ preferred viewing devices. With xG AIM now available on Azure, media companies can further monetize their media content globally with higher-value advertising.
These solutions are the latest in an ongoing collaboration between Imagine Communications and Microsoft to bring end-to-end processing and distribution capabilities to Azure by offering Imagine Communications’ software-based ad management, playout and networking and distribution products as cloud-ready, Azure Certified solutions.
By moving operations to a cloud environment, media companies can realize an array of cost, service and performance advantages:
– No upfront hardware investment
– Simple provisioning and decommissioning of resources
– Virtualization of operations
– No additional datacenter footprint investment
– Ability to use elastic capacity to support new launches or peak events
– A geographically dispersed platform with built-in security and reliability
– Media companies now have a choice of on-premises, private or public cloud or hybrid deployment models for video processing and distribution
“Microsoft and Imagine Communications share the same vision of revitalizing media operations through the flexibility, scale and operational efficiency of cloud-based services,” said Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President & Chief Evangelist, Microsoft Corporation. “Together, we are accelerating solutions for the media industry by providing broadcasters, content distributors and others with the ability to reduce time-to-market while moving from a capital-intensive business to a pay-as-needed operational model.”
As part of the Azure Marketplace, Imagine Communications’ software solutions are now available in 20 Azure datacenters, which serve businesses in 140 countries, including China.
The solutions will be demonstrated at the Imagine Communications booth (N2502) at NAB Show 2016. Microsoft executives will also participate in knowledge-sharing sessions hosted by Imagine Communications at the annual tradeshow and exhibition.