Making the Cloud work for Broadcast

  • With Adrian Pennington

Making the Cloud work for Broadcast

As the broadcast industry continues its transition into IP workflows, vendors are offering a pragmatic approach to resource management in both cloud and on-premises operations - by Adrian Pennington...

These enhancements are not just about keeping pace with industry standards but about providing practical solutions for today's broadcasters and media companies.

TAG's Bridge Technology is at the forefront of these improvements. Updates to its Realtime Media Performance platform offer a scalable solution that integrates with existing workflows, explains Golan Simani, Director of Cloud and Tech Operations. It's designed to ingest a source stream once and then distribute it as needed, automatically optimized for the specific protocol, format, resolution, and size required for any endpoint, whether in a cloud-based multiviewer serving an ‘at-home’ manager or on-premises Network Operations Center (NOC) operator or engineer. This method conserves compute resources, offering flexibility without the need for additional infrastructure.

Incorporating the Beamr 5 HEVC encoder aligns with TAG’s strategic approach to bandwidth management. This integration significantly lowers bandwidth demands without sacrificing video quality, which is critical in hybrid environments where every bit of data and every second of compute time matter.

TAG's ongoing integration of diverse cloud services, including Google Cloud Platform (GCP, TAG is now an official GCP partner) and Alibaba Cloud among others, showcases its dedication to enabling broadcasters to navigate and stay ahead in a landscape marked by rapid technological change, constantly innovating to streamline the growing complexities of the industry. This increase in cloud capabilities ensures that broadcasters have the freedom to operate within a multi-cloud framework, enabling a balanced and resilient infrastructure that can pivot between cloud and on-premises resources as required.

Moreover, by integrating WebRTC capabilities into its platform, TAG has equipped broadcasters with the means to achieve ultra-low latency, an essential component for live event coverage and interactive media, such as sports and gaming, that is particularly beneficial in hybrid broadcasting and streaming media environments.

These developments reflect TAG's commitment to providing broadcasters with the tools necessary for a smooth transition to IP workflows, facilitating a balanced use of cloud and on-premises resources to meet the industry's evolving demands.

Highlighting the latest developments at Grass Valley to support broadcasters in leveraging cloud technology, Adam Marshall, Chief Product Officer at Grass Valley, highlights the company's cloud-native Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP). AMPP offers broadcasters a versatile and scalable solution with a wide range of unified production capabilities. It empowers broadcasters to select the most suitable production and distribution tools for their live content creation and delivery needs.

One key advantage of AMPP is its hybrid cloud-native architecture, which allows media professionals to efficiently distribute workloads with minimal latency. This remote cloud-based operation enables the assembly of virtual live production teams from across the globe, ensuring access to the best talent in the industry.

AMPP is compatible with major cloud providers such as AWS, Google, and Azure, giving users the flexibility to scale up and down as needed for their production requirements.

Notably, CBS Sports' Golazo Network successfully implemented an end-to-end video production workflow entirely in the cloud using AMPP. This encompassed tasks like switching, routing, recording, clipping, transcoding, graphics generation, and multipoint distribution. Instead of traditional point-to-point router connections, Golazo Network dynamically establishes SRT paths and adjusts its operation across multiple cloud instances. These capabilities exemplify the agility of AMPP.

AMPP's open ecosystem also allows for the integration of cloud processing with familiar hardware-based control panels, like Grass Valley ATP dynamic control surfaces. This approach acknowledges that while cloud-based production is on the rise, dedicated hardware remains essential for specific scenarios, such as 24/7 broadcasting or when extensive storage capacity is required. AMPP's value proposition lies in its ability to seamlessly unite both cloud and dedicated hardware components.

Furthermore, Grass Valley's GV Media Universe Alliance extends AMPP's capabilities to connect third-party vendor solutions. The company also continuously enhances AMPP with its own proprietary products, including the cloud-native GV LiveTouchX replay solution. This ongoing dedication to research and development ensures that AMPP remains a platform that customers can rely on today and in the future.

Partnering with video cloud providers gives traditional media companies and telcos a much-needed edge, says Shuki Eytan, General Manager, Media & Telecom at Kaltura. Not only for keeping up with ongoing trends but also for staying competitive amid constant and rapid industry evolution.

For starters, SaaS and cloud platforms afford an even greater depth of hyperconnectivity. They can connect the services of both media providers and telcos to personal devices, as well as to the personalised data retrieved in the cloud. As such, cloud solutions can provide media or telco providers undergoing their cloud transformation journey, or even newly minted media-telco conglomerates, with better monitoring capabilities and greater end-to-end monetisation opportunities - and more importantly, accelerate the pace of innovation. In doing so, telco and media companies will gain even more from their subscribers, not only with higher viewership but by being able to access unique preference data to personalise their offerings, cater promotions and suggestions accordingly, and ultimately reduce churn.

This is key in supporting the newest idea gaining momentum in the media landscape - “super aggregation,” which allows for the aggregation of even more content from even more providers in one centralised location, regardless of whether the content providers are linked. Consider the abilities of smart TV devices or streaming-integrated subscriptions through a TV company or telco. By making numerous VOD options - Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and even YouTube - available through a single holistic platform, viewers can search for content they want, across platforms, instantly and seamlessly.

Partnering with cloud providers also offloads much of the technical burden that in-house cloud infrastructure might otherwise require to assemble themselves. These external providers are prepared to handle the operational capabilities and troubleshooting needs that might otherwise steal precious time and attention from internal IT teams.

Running TV services is becoming increasingly complex. Broadcasters need to comply with stringent regulations such as GDPR and soon NIS2, while reducing the time to market for innovative, highly personalised video services that drive viewer engagement.

Alain Nochimowski, Chief Technology Officer at Viaccess-Orca says VO is solving these challenges for broadcasters with its cloud-native TV platform, enhanced with AI technology and resolutely geared towards multi-cloud environments. 

The solution includes VO’s service delivery platform, content protection and multi-DRM, a multiplatform video player, customisable TV apps, business analytics, AI-based Targeted TV Advertising, FAST, end-to-end monitoring, and AI-based recommendations. Using our end-to-end, data-driven cloud-native solution, broadcasters can simplify video workflows and deliver outstanding viewing experiences. 

Advanced AI, machine learning (ML), and machine learning operations (MLOps) run from VO’s secure cloud environment, are at the heart of our product offering, empowering broadcasters to adapt to the evolving TV landscape. With AI, broadcasters can benefit from streamlined workflows, in particular in the fields of personalised content discovery, recommendations, and protection. Our recent collaboration with Azure is an excellent demonstration of the innovation that can be achieved with generative AI, enabling broadcasters to protect intellectual property and brand identity.

As broadcasters are adopting cloud-native solutions in full force, many are opting for hybrid or multi-cloud offerings. Such approaches provides broadcasters with a combination of cost efficiency and deployment and operation flexibility, allowing them, for example, to keep some core components on prem, migrate others to the cloud, while preserving the benefits of cloud native architectures in terms of scalability and agility. Our cloud-native solutions are notably integrated with Google Cloud Anthos, a fully managed Kubernetes-based platform that allows users to manage their data and applications in hybrid cloud environments, including on-premises, the public cloud, the private cloud, and multi-cloud.  

Our cloud-native solutions are backed by solid DevOps expertise and tools. Through end-to-end services, AI, and scalable technologies, VO’s solutions reduce complexity, streamline deployments, and optimise service management. 

As the acceleration of cloud continues in 2024, broadcasters will adopt advancements such as serverless architecture and GitOps automation to boost their cost efficiency and business agility. VO will continue to support broadcasters through the cloud evolution, helping them simplify video delivery, guide viewers to desired content, ensure personalised viewing experiences, and keep content safe.