Recent years have seen the rapid rise to prominence of Cloud-based broadcast workflow and playout management operations, but one exhibitor at IBC this year questions whether some organisations might be misled by vendors that claim their Cloud solutions to be something that they are not.
“The Cloud offers tremendous potential to increase agility, adaptability and speed to market for broadcasters of all sizes, but to fully exploit the fundamental features offered by the Cloud and IP you need a totally software-based playout platform,” states Igor Krol, Chief Executive Officer at Veset, a developer of Cloud playout systems. “Sadly many technology vendors, several of whom are exhibiting at IBC, promote their cloud credentials but cannot achieve this. Instead, they are reliant on the deployment of hardware components which reduce flexibility, extend implementation time, decrease system back-up and increase operational costs.”
Cloud-based playout offers significant technical and commercial opportunities for a wide range of broadcasters and service providers. But risks exist as well. Igor Krol fears that broadcasters can be confused if not misled into believing that a vendor offers a Cloud solution when it is actually a hybrid solution, often aimed at re-packaging an existing proprietary hardware-based product.
“Many of today’s hardware-based playout systems try to mimic the capabilities of the true Cloud and software solutions,” Krol explains. “For example providing web-based remote access to a traditional channel-in-the-box or proprietary GPU card reliant server located in a private datacentre, ticks only one box of what a fully featured Cloud solution should bring.”
A broadcaster can take full advantage of the Cloud when it implements software-based solutions developed specifically for the Cloud, pooling computing resources based on standard CPU processors. It empowers dynamic sharing of physical and virtual resources – driving operating costs down through more efficient load utilisation and economies of scale, in particular of engineering expertise.
Veset sees growing demand from broadcasters to increase speed to market and minimise investment risk. Alongside general development of IP workflows in broadcast, the Cloud’s inherent flexibility is the answer to many challenges faced by the industry. However, the company believes that to achieve this, customers need vendors to rethink their technology approach, often starting from the scratch.
“Vendors need to be clear about what they are offering. The Cloud represents a seismic change in enabling technology which in its purest form offers enormous potential to put broadcasters on renewed growth paths,” concluded Igor Krol. “Broadcasters need to scratch the surface of the so-called Cloud offerings, and push the vendor community to deliver what it says on the tin”.