The media environment has rapidly changed over recent years, with more dramatic transformation still underway. Video delivery is no longer the preserve of huge TV broadcasters, and the industry has to adapt in order to stay current and keep its competitive edge.
The Asset Management Dinosaur
The first Media Asset Management (MAM) systems were originally designed and built when videos were largely produced for TV and delivered by large broadcasting corporations. Broadcasters would create internal development teams or enlist an established MAM software provider to scope, build and deliver the entire project. The resulting systems are usually enormous and address a wide array of business-specific workflow tasks. Invariably they need to support big teams and a single distribution chain. And so was born the enterprise, MAM systems, derived from broadcast needs.
Having previously worked for a traditional MAM company, we saw a need for changing and modernizing this paradigm. Therefore, we established Cantemo with precisely that vision.
There is no doubt large broadcast MAMs have worked well in the traditional media space, but they are not adept for the varied media environment we are currently witnessing, nor do they work for other verticals, with a completely different set of requirements. Thanks to over-the-top delivery, almost anyone can produce video and launch it to a huge audience across the globe within a very short timeframe. Of course, the diverse nature of the multiscreen delivery landscape also adds a great deal of complexity, with more and more platforms and devices being launched at an astounding pace.
All this means that we are seeing a large number of new generation video producers emerging, and all video producers, both traditional and next generation, are having to be much more flexible throughout the production and delivery process. For media content providers to achieve flexibility, the media asset management systems need to adapt to each situation and crucially, provide opportunities to scale.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
One size no longer fits all, as an industry, we were arguably ill-prepared for the rise in varied verticals in the production and distribution of videos, and the huge variety in different needs from MAM that would cause.
As we progress through 2015, we believe we’ll see a number of key trends emerging, which will result in MAM systems taking a big step away from monolithic enterprise solutions.
With such a wide range of different user types, with vastly different processes and requirements, there is clearly a growing need for modular solutions. The key is to enable users to get different components from various suppliers and build a custom software platform, which fits their needs exactly. MAM systems need to adapt to provide a core base for users, with enough built-in flexibility that they can be both extendable and adaptable enough to integrate with any add-on software. It also means that independent modules can be updated or replaced easily, without needing to alter the other modules.
We see two key areas of scalability emerging. On the one hand you have the scalability of business volumes, where companies may need to increase numbers of users, storage, transcoders, etc. The other area is to do with scalability of business needs, where the requirements may change over time, and often it is impossible to predict all of those future requirements.
Of course, the modular approach also enables organisations to start very small, identifying right system for their specific needs, without significant upfront investment. Using the modular approach, each deployment can then grow from extremely small installation up to an enterprise system.
For our users, the key is to start by solving the immediate problem. Then build on the core foundation, adding modules as new requirements arise, in other words. We build Cantemo Portal with the goal that customers could start small, think big and grow fast!
Contemporary media production requires an unprecedented degree of flexibility and organisation. Teams will often work from different parts of the globe and need to communicate remotely with customers for review and feedback. At the same time, with the potential for instant delivery, there is more need than ever for instant collaboration between members of those teams to sustain that competitive edge.
Naturally the ubiquity of cloud solutions means that sharing content instantly is much easier than ever before, even if your colleague, or client, is on the other side of the globe. But video is still large and complex, with numerous different standards and workflows. Not to mention that this situation is often accompanied with significant security and rights issues, which means media needs to be protected at all times. Due to these facts, many content owners are reluctant to fully rely on cloud solutions.
In 2015, we believe we will begin to see a trend for “hybrid cloud” deployments, whereby the media will continue to be housed on premise, however there will be a certain point in the process when an asset is transferred to the cloud, either for review or disaster recovering back-up, for example. We envisage this being handled in one of two ways:
Automated processes, whereby assets would be automatically moved around between cloud and on premise, depending on its status, i.e. once it has been approved it may be automatically deployed into the cloud.
Multiple locations, where solutions need to provide support for global operations and will use the cloud to deliver assets between the different locations. Clever algorithms will be used to analyze specific business needs and user behavior will determine how content and metadata is distributed to the right place at the right time and in the right format.
This changing landscape and the need for a modular approach is exactly what we based our vision on when we started Cantemo five years ago. We are living in exciting times in this industry, with many more developments likely in the coming years. By thinking modular, MAM systems are able to be future-proof for the users, and we can also enable the users to decouple themselves from the software provider – they no longer are tied to one vendor for the entire system and for years to come.