The future of media and content distribution depends on agility, relevance, and speed. Consumers need to access content across an ever-wider range of platforms and devices. Broadcasters and service providers are also seeking opportunities to deliver targeted, personalized content and advertising. And they need to bring new services to market much more rapidly than ever. All of these trends are driving the uptake of technology and infrastructure that delivers enhanced scalability and adaptability.

Cloud offers a compelling alternative, providing an efficient way to gain flexibility, scale on-demand, streamline production, reduce time to market and reach new audiences – wherever in the world they are. The benefits are driving rapid uptake. A recent IABM report found that cloud adoption in broadcast and media has accelerated significantly during 2020, with 45 percent of respondents already deploying some form of cloud technology. However, the opportunities go hand-in-hand with significant potential challenges. Turning each one to your advantage will help unlock the true benefits of the cloud.

Driving towards cloud with openness and flexibility

Cloud offers a hugely efficient alternative for managing, transporting and delivering content, but adoption can be costly, especially when leveraging public cloud options for services running with very high utilization. What cloud does offer is a way to reduce network complexity, realizing network agility and opening up new ways to monetize content.

Built on an open architecture, our Nimbra Edge cloud-based content delivery solution is cloud-agnostic, making it compatible with any cloud provider, and is compliant with existing infrastructure, allowing customers to leverage the benefits of cloud without discarding their existing  investments. The solution enables capacity to be flexibly spun up and down depending on demand and deployed on a pay-as-you-go basis. This means only paying for the resources you need, when you need them. In a world where services must be adaptable, or created for short peaks of usage,such as a large live event, this flexibility is increasingly valuable.

As well as supporting a wide range of scenarios, Nimbra Edge allows customers to reduce costs by only adding technology as it’s needed, managing investments over time.

Reducing network and operation complexity

Time to market is critical in an environment where competition for viewer eyeballs is fierce. Sports broadcasters, for instance, are competing with OTT providers to deliver quality content experiences to any screen. A cloud approach allows them to be more nimble and responsive as they meet shifting market demands with new and exciting services.

A cloud-native infrastructure simplifies both network and team operations, opening up new business models and smarter ways of working. It underpins the transition to truly distributed content production workflows, allowing production staff to work from multiple locations – even their own homes. In a landscape where travel restrictions or reduced staffing numbers at venues are a reality, this capability is invaluable.

The uptick in demand for content also impacts service providers who face growing demand for network capacity. Investing in cloud is very much front of mind as they migrate to more cost-efficient and flexible OPEX-centric business models. Investments in cloud and IP also deliver the scalability that is vital in today’s fast-shifting market. Customers can more easily scale up to support surges in demand for the contribution and delivery of content. Cloud also opens up opportunities to innovate and try new services without incurring huge costs.

Mobilelinks is one example of this.  The service provider deployed Nimbra at arenas across Northern Europe to accommodate a wider range of production and transport requirements and support 100 Gb capacity directly from the venues to broadcasters’ production facilities. With the flexibility of Internet and cloud, they could also adapt to a flexible production workflow where people were literally sitting at home, and still being fully integrated into the main live production workflow. Watch Mobilelinks’ presentation at the recent virtual SVG TranSPORT event.

A large American broadcaster leverages Nimbra Edge as part of a multi-region deployment to handle multiple inputs from different locations, routed to multiple destinations. The cloud agnostic nature of Nimbra Edge allows our customer to make use of a hybrid cloud environment, combining both public and on-premises services, while ensuring the end-to-end reliability needed for mission critical live content.

In today’s dynamic market, our customers need adaptive, comprehensive solutions that are simple to use. Nimbra handles contribution, distribution, cloud ingest and orchestration on a single platform, opening up the benefits of cloud at minimal cost while leveraging existing hardware investments.

Ensuring reliability and resilience

Satellite has been the primary choice for content contribution and delivery for decades and is seen as robust and reliable. As the new kid on the block, cloud was sometimes perceived as a lower performance alternative that cannot meet the security and quality needs of high-end broadcast. The pandemic changed all this, demonstrating that cloud does work, is reliable and can meet the quality and reliability requirements that media transport demands when implemented correctly.

With C Band satellite bandwidth being redeployed for 5G, satellite has limited availability which presents a challenge when demand for capacity is rising. Nimbra Edge provides a global media delivery platform allowing content to be ingested and distributed anywhere in the world, reliably and cost-effectively. This is the start of next generation global content media delivery with built in authentication, security, hitless protection and timestamping. This allows service providers to quickly offer a compelling alternative to satellites for global contribution and distribution, with a high level of reliability and security. One such media service provider is Tata Communications who is currently going live with Nimbra Edge for elastic cloud-based live media transport. They are also integrating and leveraging their existing VideoConnect infrastruture and their cloud media ecosystem to provide a fully end-to-end media delivery and processing platform for both broadcasters and content owners. Watch the Tata Communications case study video here.

And the IABM “In conversation with Jeremy Dujardin, CTO of Tata Communications and myself about how we work strategically together to transform clients’ way of working

Future-proof investment

There is no doubt that a cloud-centric approach makes it possible to rapidly create – and adapt – the rich and exciting media experiences that consumers demand. The focus for broadcasters, service providers and production companies is to adopt any new technology in a way that maximizes existing hardware investments. In a market that is moving fast, ensuring that any technology is open means they are future-ready and will pay dividends today and tomorrow.

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