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The cloud for LATAM TV

Aldea Mexico is using AWS tools to become an end-to-end provider of cloud-based media services for Latin America

Grupo Marcatel has been innovating in telecommunications for over 50 years, and bringing people together through telecommunications is in the DNA of all the companies in the group. More than half a century ago, Gustavo M de la Garza Ortega created Radio Beep, a pioneer paging company in Latin America. In 1994, he founded Marcatel, a company that has a Mexican fibre-optic network with a global presence. In 2008, Grupo Marcatel acquired Aldea Montreal to intensify its services worldwide.

 Aldea Mexico, a branch of the company in Mexico City, provides media and content delivery for customers across Central and South America, specialising in cloud services for the region. Marcatel owns a wide fibre-optic network that connects Mexico, the US, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. Leveraging this has allowed Aldea Mexico to build first-rate video distribution services over a wide area.

While most of Aldea Montreal’s customers are broadcasters, Aldea Mexico’s customers are a wide variety of companies requiring video services.

“We have a little bit of everything,” says Edgar Cerón, Aldea Mexico’s general director. “We have education customers, we have government accounts, we have enterprise and we have broadcasters, too. Any company that is doing some kind of video distribution over IP could be one of our customers. It could be e-learning or entertainment – we have diversity in the kind of customers we serve.”

This diversity of customers means that Aldea Mexico has developed a diverse service. When the company started, it was providing solely streaming media services, then it moved on to providing hosting services and cloud storage solutions. It is now specialising in content security services for the cloud and even SD-WAN services. SD-WAN stands for ‘software-defined networking in a wide area network’ (WAN) and simplifies the operation of a WAN by separating networking hardware from its control mechanism.

“You could say that Aldea Mexico is more like a media and cloud services company,” adds Cerón. 

 

Our work with AWS isn’t only about the technology, but also about the people

 

Finding the right cloud

“When we started our move to the cloud, we knew since we were talking about media, we needed a lot of bandwidth, a lot of storage and a lot of processing to do the encoding and transcoding of content. So we started trying solutions with different cloud providers,” says Cerón.

It took some time to find the right cloud provider, but Aldea Mexico’s journey came to a happy conclusion two years ago when it began its adoption of AWS tools. 

“At first we didn’t really understand what would be the big difference between AWS and other vendors,” says Cerón. “But what we noticed when we began working with them is that they would provide us with different tools, so we could start creating our own services for customers.”

It was when Aldea Mexico initially started to experiment with AWS tools, that the possibilities for new services became more apparent – that the cloud was for more than just storage. It wasn’t long before Aldea had developed its own online video platform. 

“With AWS, we were able to start building our own core technology. Instead of reselling the service from someone else, we could build services from scratch by putting together different pieces from AWS,” explains Cerón.

Aldea Mexico began to build its own OTT platform using AWS components, including AWS Elemental MediaConvert, MediaLive, MediaTailor and Amazon CloudFront. Once the platform was ready, Aldea began to incorporate social networks into the product, again developed using AWS tools. 

Cloud ambitions

Cerón says the company is now looking forward to growing its offering even more, using AWS as the main generator for new services and for being able to provide services tailored for the needs of those in Latin America.

“We want to expand. We were just at IBC in Amsterdam where we saw some of the new solutions that AWS is launching and we’re looking forward to being able to work with those,” says Cerón. “Now we have these solutions, something we want to start focusing on is localised services for local markets in South America – and at a price point that is suitable for that area.”

“When someone comes in with a product from the US or Europe to Mexico, sometimes those services are too expensive. I’m not saying they aren’t good – they could be very good solutions and services – but we are trying to focus our strategy in South America on how to develop solutions that fit those markets – Colombia, Chile, Argentina. We are positive our solutions could help those markets.”

As part of Aldea Montreal, and being part of Marcatel, Aldea Mexico is looking to provide that complete distribution and contribution service.

“We can do everything, from the production at a stadium, taking the video into AWS and then encrypting it out to the end user. We want to be an end-to-end distributor for the region,” says Cerón.

But, finally, it’s not only the toolkit that has Aldea Montreal sold on AWS Media Services. It’s also about the relationship it has built with AWS.

“Our work with AWS isn’t only about
the technology, but about the people. We have had a very good experience with them. They have provided us not only with tools, but also with ideas,” enthuses Cerón.

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