This year’s IBC was probably the most relevant for years. A genuine turning point for the industry. NAB earlier in the year felt like the end of the broadcast trade show as it has been for the last 20-years. Modern production and content delivery management tools sat at juxtaposition with their forebears, the two looking and operating more different than ever. The somewhat tired legacy marginalised the progressive future. Do you need to exhibit at a trade show to demonstrate tools running in the cloud anyway?
A couple of days before IBC opened, a walk past the freight storage areas gave the impression of same old, same old: truckloads of proprietary metal with cable looms were being wheeled into the halls. Some vendors were even boasting about how much hardware they had brought. No sign of SDI dying, declining or terminating here, and machines with buttons were front and centre. Would cloud be no more than a word on stand facia and ‘cloud based capabilities’ demonstrated from proprietary boxes?
A tour of the halls on the quiet Friday (probably caused by the lack of actual clouds in the sky over a picturesque Amsterdam) surprised – the software / cloud era was coming of age. A great number of the smaller vendors were demonstrating not only truly cloud-based tools and services, but the ease of integrating these. It has never been easier or cheaper to capture, create and distribute content to audiences.
The Serial Offender
Our own demonstrations relied on a handful of laptops accessing cloud-deployed BLAMs which were configured for various applications such as post-production and media logistics. We also took a small server fitted with a capture card to demonstrate our longest-serving baseband ingest plug-ins. We spoof the Flexicart, obviously, but even taking a server to demonstrate cloud-enabled tools felt unnecessary – everyone is IP, right?
Colleagues at Bonded Services, DAM Smart and Yapku attest to the need for software-based archive digitisation tools. But throughout the weekend there was a queue – a long queue – for our ingest product. Baseband (SDI) is still very much alive, with typical requirements ranging from archive digitisation and straightforward lines recording to fast-turnaround editing or catch-up redistribution of live programming. Given the number of new projects and technology-refresh initiatives that will use SDI as the core contribution barer, it seems like many are sticking with the tried and tested. At least for now.
Return Flight Summary
Truly service-based, integrated architectures which do not differentiate between the cloud and the ground (on-prem’) operating models are the future. This was the IBC where the cloud-enabled service models moved (just) beyond the early adopters phase – but we shouldn’t forget that the legacy technology ‘landscape’ will be around for a while.
Hybrid operating models are the obvious near term vision, but this will require structured planning and expertise. This is very much Blue Lucy territory in terms of both software and consultancy. A future blog will cover a couple of recent projects which have enabled a seamless cloud migration but do get in touch to find out how BLAM can ease migration.
Down on the Magnetic Ground
By way of contextualising the breadth of the ‘industry’ and to bring us all down from the clouds, we need to name check Ethan W. Hall from Keith Austin World Video. Ethan, you enthused about our pop-art themed stand graphics and we were struck, almost literally, by your flamboyant pitch. Ethan is in the market for unused tape stock – so if you are sitting on an unstriped archive do contact him at Kieth Austin World Video and try telling him that magnetic tape, must die.