Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, will showcase at the 2017 NAB Show how the company’s early embrace of a Cloud-Native strategy has enhanced and accelerated its ability to enable a large cross section of media & entertainment companies to transition portions — or all — of their operations to virtualized environments, including both public and private clouds. Visitors to the Imagine Communications booth (SL1516) will get a first-hand look at how the company’s latest innovations are helping to enable both content producers and distributors to realize significant boosts in agility, scalability and flexibility by moving ingest, playout, graphics, transcoding/encoding, Over-the-Top (OTT) services and dynamic ad insertion workflows to the cloud.
“Imagine Communications offers the most comprehensive technology portfolio in the broadcast industry, spanning all aspects of live production, playout, multiscreen and OTT delivery and advanced advertising management,” said Steve Reynolds, CTO, Imagine Communications. “At this year’s NAB we’ll be demonstrating the tremendous progress we’ve made toward making our end-to-end portfolio available from a cloud environment, providing our customers with unprecedented flexibility in choosing a deployment approach — on-premises, cloud or hybrid — that best matches their current requirements but is also capable of seamlessly evolving to accommodate deployment models that will put their businesses on a path to success in the future.”
In addition to providing new monetization opportunities for broadcasters, video service providers and other media companies, relocating critical functions into an agile, elastic and highly scalable geo-dispersed environment offers the potential to dramatically improve the time to market, efficiency and flexibility of media workflow operations, as well as facilitate the transition from a capital-intensive to a pay-as-you-go operational model.
Imagine Communications is a pioneer in the adoption of Cloud-Native technology based on a microservices design architecture. Zenium™, the pure microservices technology behind Imagine’s modular and Cloud-Native platforms, has enabled the company to accelerate the transition of core technology to the cloud and to differentiate its solutions from merely cloud-enabled applications, which are incapable of fully exploiting the benefits of a geo-dispersed setting.
NAB Cloud Highlights
Cloud-native capabilities that will be demonstrated by Imagine at NAB include the ability to provide content owners and distributors with an end-to-end solution for offering OTT services, including VOD, live/linear and cloud DVR, that supports subscription, targeted advertising and hybrid monetization models. The entire solution, which combines Siemens Convergence Creators’ Smart Video Engine video platform and Imagine’s multiscreen media and ad delivery solutions, will be available soon as a service on Microsoft Azure.
The comprehensive and fast-to-market nature of the joint solution is significantly lowering the barrier of entry for organizations looking to launch an OTT video service. “Imagine and Siemens have made it possible for us to build our business with a minimal up-front technical investment,” said Frank Deo, CTO, American Theater Channel, a Los Angeles-based group that recently announced the launch of a video service that provides on-demand viewing of a live theater experience and other theater-centric content on smartphones, tablets and smart TV devices. “Our new service is not only a source of new revenue, it’s a great way to build our brand and get theater content to an audience almost anywhere in the world.”
With a focus on showcasing the power of a fully virtualized environment to take the integration and synchronization of media operations to new levels, Imagine Communications will demonstrate its Unified Playout, Scheduling and Distribution solution at the 2017 NAB Show. The demonstration, which features Imagine’s xG™ Schedule, the industry’s first cloud-based planning and scheduling system for linear, on-demand and digital platforms, Versio™, Imagine Communications’ fully virtualized Cloud-Native playout system, and Imagine’s Unified Distribution portfolio, shines a light on the technology and business-related benefits of moving operations to the cloud, including cost decreases and workflow efficiencies, as well as the ability to maximize revenue opportunities.
With the broadest solutions portfolio in the industry, spanning live production, playout, multiscreen delivery and advanced ad management, Imagine Communications is in a unique position to assist media companies in realizing significant synergies between their business and operational systems. By pushing the integration envelope in the cloud, media companies can reach new levels of efficiency by streamlining workflows and reducing user error through the automation of multiple manual processes.
Also at the NAB Show, Imagine will showcase the integration of its dynamic ad insertion solution within Microsoft Azure’s Media Services live channel solution. Imagine will also demonstrate a “cloud onramp” service that provides a secure delivery channel into the Azure network. The solution enables media companies using the Imagine Communications SelenioFlex™ Live media encoder at a corporate facility to safely stream media into the Azure cloud. Imagine Communications is working with technology partner Zixi, which offers broadcast-stream quality and protected transport both to and across the cloud.
The Power of the Cloud
Imagine Communications’ Cloud-Native solutions are compatible with all datacenter environments based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms and are deployable in public and private cloud settings. Imagine is working in tight collaboration with Microsoft to ensure that its end-to-end solutions, from ingest to delivery, are available as services from the Azure Cloud. Imagine Communications’ software solutions are now available in the Azure Marketplace, which reaches businesses in 140 countries, including China.
“Microsoft and Imagine Communications share a common vision of enabling media companies to tap into the power of the cloud to bring new levels of functionality and efficiencies to their operations,” said Dario Scacciati, Senior Director Global Business Development, Media & Entertainment at Microsoft Corp. “Economic flexibility, speed to market and elastic scalability are just a few of the benefits the cloud brings to media companies to help keep them out in front of consumer demand for a more personalized consumption experience. Imagine and Microsoft are putting those competitive advantages within the reach of all types of media companies — whenever they are ready to make the move.”
Imagine’s Unified Distribution architecture, which will be demonstrated at NAB, is also a result of the company’s early embrace of a transition to standards-based IP technology and the cloud as a potential deployment destination. Unified Distribution provides an end-to-end platform that broadcasters and service providers can leverage to stream fragment-based content (MPEG-DASH and HLS) to IP-based devices through third-party or private content distribution networks (CDNs). It uses advanced technologies, including adaptive bitrate (ABR) and just-in-time packaging (JITP), to enable media companies to collapse both traditional and OTT operations into a single infrastructure and avoid the expense and complexity of operating multiple networks.
“The adoption of a virtualized and cloud-based infrastructure model provides content owners and distributors with an agile and flexible platform for doing everything from content origination to distribution,” added Reynolds. “Without the scalability and efficiency that a Cloud-Native, unified infrastructure delivers, media companies will be hard pressed to turn back current and future competitive threats to their businesses from new media companies and others.”
These and other cloud solutions will be showcased at the Imagine Communications booth (SL1516) at the 2017 NAB Show. In addition, Microsoft’s Dario Scacciati will participate in a Power Session seminar on IP cloud playout in the Imagine Booth on Monday, April 24 at 3:30 P.M.