In roughly two weeks, thousands of overworked media production professionals will descend upon the Las Vegas Strip to take in the latest technology breakthroughs and sift through cutting-edge research.

A rite of spring, NAB in many ways marks the unofficial kickoff of another year of innovation and change in one of the most dynamic industries in the world. But we know you’ve been hard at work in 2015 since day one. We have the evidence to prove it. Back in December we asked you and a few hundred of your colleagues to share the technology and business objectives at the top of your to-do lists for the coming year. Based on the range of responses, you’ve been anything but idle through the first three months of 2015.

The survey results, which are highlighted below, show a healthy helping of high expectations for shifting your businesses into a higher gear.

Workflow Optimization

It should come as no surprise that nearly 60% of survey respondents indicated that the customization and optimization of workflows – the number one response – was a major objective for the coming year. These results reflect the fact that streamlining production processes, from ingest to playout, is a perennial objective of the media industry. The findings could also indicate a desire among broadcasters and others to move media processing capabilities to an IP realm, centralizing the operation of all workflow processes into a single solution.

Imagine Communications is at the forefront of workflow optimization. Our Zenium™ platform underlines our media processing solutions, enabling media professionals to introduce new levels of operational efficiency and agility that increase productivity and open up new monetization opportunities.

Hi-Def Desires

A survey surprise was the prominent ranking of Upgrade Operations to 4K/UHD, which was the fourth most frequently selected 2015 initiative by survey takers. While the migration to the next generation of high-density television formats is obviously important, most activity to date in 4K and UHD has come from the consumer electronics (TV manufacturers) industry and off-line production projects, such as content creation for OTT streaming and other digital transmissions of high-quality content.

Considering that many media production companies have yet to initiate or are still working through SD-to-HD transitions and that some UHD specifications are still being sorted out by standards bodies, the objective’s strong showing on 2015 to-do lists is something of a surprise — and perhaps comes a year earlier than expected.

The elevated placement of upgrading production capabilities to 4K/UHD on the 2015 survey could also be a reflection of awareness by respondents of the future importance of the technology and the need to ensure that current infrastructure investments provide a seamless upgrade path to 4K/UHD. The results show media companies clearly understand that they must partner with solution providers that currently offer a graceful and pain-free migration route to 4K/UHD and that anything they purchase today to support high definition or even standard definition will not become stranded in a 4K/UHD future.

All-IP Ambitions

The survey also indicates that a large percentage of respondents may harbor fears that their current infrastructure may lack the nimbleness and agility to swiftly respond to competitive threats. That is the likely reason behind the top-of-chart placement of business-transforming objectives. The Migrate to Hybrid or all-IP Infrastructure initiative, for example, was selected by 37 percent of all respondents. Similarly, more than a quarter of survey takers indicated plans to move all or part of their infrastructures to a cloud environment in 2015, an agility-increasing initiative that was the six most popular in the Imagine Communications survey.

The media industry, the survey suggests, is becoming increasingly aware that a migration from purpose-built hardware to software-based environments that leverage next-generation IT and IP technologies offers efficiencies and performance improvements that are crucial to competing effectively in a rapidly evolving and expanding industry.

Hybrid Reality

That doesn’t mean, of course, that media companies are planning to migrate to an all-IP production environment overnight. The gradual transition to IP will create a strong demand for technology suppliers capable of delivering solutions that enable video production and distribution companies to construct and manage hybrid baseband-IP operations. In a hybrid scenario, media companies can leverage the agility and cost efficiencies of IT while migrating from baseband workflows and investments at a measured pace.

Now that you know what your peers are working on, you’re all set to compare notes at NAB and set your agenda for the remainder of the year.

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