If there is one lasting impression of the 2014 NAB Show for me, it is one of a coming together of vendors to realize the next step in products and services. Through acquisition and mergers, and good old-fashioned collaboration, an amazing number of initiatives were announced at NAB that will inevitably lead to a more open, connected and vibrant industry.
With so many people discussing the financial and creative possibilities of IP, cloud, open standards and multiplatform delivery, there is at last a real momentum toward these technologies in the broadcast sector. Our own CEO, Charlie Vogt, has been a vocal proponent of this crusade. “Our industry requires a framework that unshackles customers from today’s premises-based, proprietary models and supports new playout platforms, delivery options and monetization models for TV Everywhere,” he said.
At NAB, we demonstrated what an “unshackled” broadcast industry would look like with the introduction of MediaCentral. From a basic, technical perspective, this service-oriented industry framework combines media and playout software modules in a standards-based environment that utilizes the cloud and virtualized computing capabilities. From the more important business perspective, MediaCentral provides elastic scalability that allows broadcasters to manage more stations, more networks and more distribution channels efficiently — and ensures that today’s investment will not be stranded with the introduction of new delivery models, formats or innovations.
We also demonstrated how a collaborative, ecosystem-friendly supplier community could benefit the broadcast industry. By leveraging Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, we introduced a cloud-based version of our LandmarkOSI™ traffic and billing system that provides broadcasters, networks and content distributors with advanced sales, CRM, traffic, billing and data analytics capabilities. Again, from the more critical business perspective, it enables media companies to achieve significant cost-savings and more quickly adapt to new business models and delivery platforms.
The utilization of Microsoft Azure is an example of how an open, non-proprietary industry is enabling more benefits-driven technologies for broadcasters. Tony Emerson, Managing Director, Worldwide Media and Cable, Microsoft Corp, put it well, saying that operating the system on his cloud platform will fuel innovation, offering customers more data-driven and analytical tools that increase revenues and boost their competitive advantage.
After NAB, I think we can expect more announcements of companies coming together and new service solutions that will give broadcasters the tools they need to thrive in the new multiplatform, open IP world.