Broadcast Industry ensures business continuity with Cloud-based Solutions
These are strange times and the last few weeks have thrown the world into a tailspin. Globally, we were ill-prepared for the situation, however critical services quickly geared up to face the challenges.
As the print medium faced severe restrictions in many regions, it became imperative that the News Channels keep communication lines open for updates from around the world and for the Authorities to raise awareness, disseminate information and counteract the misinformation being spread through unmoderated social media.
In these unprecedented times, with no template of best practices to handle a problem of this magnitude, we are learning on the go. While most News setups in our country had traditional Disaster Recovery and Remote Workflow mechanisms, no one was prepared for an event of this scale. Cloud-based workflows that were considered as tools for the future have now become the need of the hour.
As Broadcast Technology Architects, Real Image - the Media Solutions team of Qube Cinema, has been helping its clients analyze their preparedness and ensure business continuity with minimal dislocation of manpower.
One of our clients, with a bouquet of news channels for both national and regional audiences, operating out of multiple facilities across India geared up for this scenario by ensuring that each of their facilities can operate as a DR site for the other. In the event of a temporary closure of a site, the Infrastructure of the other site can take over the additional load and continue operations efficiently. Workflows have been remotely set up by our team, for efficient sharing of both text and video between sites.
Another client with operations in Noida and Mumbai has planned for complete off-site DR facilities at both locations. With our team’s support, the entire newsroom database has been duplicated at the DR site and it can go fully operational without lag time.
Another method followed by a national client, was a planned lengthier 3-day long rundown so that most operations at their facility could be controlled remotely and with minimum staff. The regional players without a cloud-based workflow or VPN access, have opted for general IT remote access applications, such as Team Viewer, for business continuity.
During this period, our Media Services team has also been conducting online training sessions for our clients, to ensure that their staff across divisions and locations are updated on the new workflow practices.
While the customers are setting up new Business Continuity workflows, all our product partners have also chipped-in with cloud-based solutions.
Having introduced cloud-based Video Editing as early as 2012, Avid Technologies offers a bouquet of Production solutions for users who need not be geographically bound. Partnering with Microsoft Azure, Avid can today host an entire facility on the cloud. Nexis CloudSpaces can park projects on the cloud as well as sync with on-site Nexis workspaces for an off-site backup. Media Composer, Avid’s flagship editing application offers 2 remote variants, Media Composer | Cloud as well as a Media Composer | VM. Other components for the Newsroom/GEC such as NRCS, Asset Management, On-Air Graphics, Archival, etc. are also available remotely with Avid’s MediaCentral | Cloud UX solutions The MediaCentral | Publisher option offers a SaaS-based portal to browse content from Production Management and trigger upload to the Publisher SaaS platform and subsequently to Social Media Platforms with a ‘single click’. The technology that drives these solutions can be deployed via on-prem servers, VM or on the cloud. Besides ensuring business continuity, cloud solutions also offer advanced metadata mining benefits that AI offers, including Face Detection, OCR, Speech-to-Text, Phonetic Searches and more.
As a gesture to the Newsroom community in India and across the world, Avid has offered free extended software licenses for NRCS, Asset Management, Editing and Playout workflows. To the Editor community, Avid has recently extended its Media Composer trial license to 3 months (from 1 month) for those working from home. For editors who specifically generate content for New Media platforms, there is the Media Composer | First, a lighter version of the application that is always free, with no watermarking or time limit.
Most of the News broadcasters are equipped with bonded telecom solutions to transmit and receive ENG live video streams from the field. MOG Technologies, an established media gateway to newsroom systems with tight API level integrations, has also enabled Ingest of live IP streams to make them seamlessly available to production users accessing content over remote through Avid Media Central | Cloud UX.
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Pebble Beach offers a bouquet of Broadcast Automation and Playout solutions. Besides having an API level integration with iNews and other NRCS systems, Pebble Beach offers advanced MCR workflows with deep integration to Production Assets, Traffic System and Archival. Pebble Beach ‘Orca’ a software-defined virtualized IP channel solution enables the deployment of IP-based channels almost instantly, without compromising production values. Orca delivers all the functionalities typically handled by discrete hardware servers, graphics, and captioning systems but within a pure software environment. It shares the same underlying architecture with Pebble Beach’s Dolphin and operates under the Marina automation system.
Kumulate is Masstech’s latest offering in intelligent storage, workflow and lifecycle management for archival of video assets. Its deployment can be public cloud, private cloud, on-prem disk, tape storage tiers or a hybrid of both and includes support for all major cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, Google, etc. Its tight integration with Avid and other Newsroom workflows ensures a quick turn-around so that users have fast access to browse and restore archival content directly from their NRCS tool. Kumulate also allows content to restore directly to playout servers such as Avid’s AirSpeed for a fast turnaround.
While there are readily available products in the market that will benefit the broadcast workflows, each site is unique in terms of requirements. The Real Image Media Solution’s team will be happy to collaborate with you to analyze your requirements and make recommendations for optimal and robust business continuity.
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The author, Shankar Bhat is Head - Domain (Broadcast & Pro Video), at Real Image, the Media Solutions division of Qube Cinema Technologies Pvt. Ltd. He completes 25 years in the Broadcast industry this year. Earlier he has worked as a Television Content producer for 8 years during which he handled many capacities from Script Writer, Show Director, Cameraman, Video Editor and Graphics Artist. Channels associated include Star Movies, BBC, MTV and Channel V.
In the past 16 years, at Real Image, he has helped design and commission Newsroom workflows for more than 70 channels in the country including NDTV, Times Global, Network18, India TV, Sun Network, N TV and more. More than 4000 Newsroom/ GEC users have been trained by him and his team.”