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GV AMPP: Assemble the cloud alliance!

Posted on Jun 25, 2021 by FEED Staff

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Grass Valley’s GV AMPP platform is opening up its ecosystem to developers across the industry

The global pandemic sent media businesses scrambling to find new ways of operating. Everything, from production to monitoring to post, required a remote component. Cloud-enhanced production and playout – a wish-list item for the
past few years – was suddenly a serious consideration.

GV AMPP (aka the Grass Valley Agile Media Processing Platform) arrived as major media companies negotiated so many unforeseen circumstances, considering how they could turn adversity into new and better ways of working.

The platform is Grass Valley’s SaaS-based offering, that runs
in any data centre or cloud environment. It supports a modular, efficient approach to broadcast workflows, such as live production, playout automation, asset management, signal processing and master control switching.

“We’ve solved some of the really significant challenges for live production in the cloud, such as timing and sync,” says Grass Valley’s new director of alliances for the GV Media Universe, Barbara DeHart (above). “These problems don’t present themselves in the same  way at the lower end of the streaming market.”

CLOUD NINE Grass Valley is working to ensure that on-premises hardware is leveraged effectively

DeHart arrived at Grass Valley after running the desktop software business unit at Telestream. The role provided her with insight into the needs of corporates and micro-broadcasters, now booming  in the age of video everywhere.

That knowledge, added to Grass Valley’s expertise in high-end
linear broadcast, has helped to develop a wide-ranging view of where the content industry is going, as well as the tools it needs to get there.

The interest level is significantly higher than even we had anticipated – And it’s coming from all different directions

“Last year’s emergency really accelerated the adoption of these technologies,” says DeHart.

“Initially, we only thought about the lockdowns. Our thought process was: ‘This is just going to be for a short period of time – we can hunker down and make it through.’ But we then realised we needed to figure out new ways of working. It accelerated adoption, but it also changed ways of thinking. It was good timing that we were prepared with a solution for some of those problems.”

Operating system for broadcast

Blizzard Entertainment was one of GV AMPP’s early customers, jumping right in with creating virtual master control rooms.

More recently, Gfinity deployed AMPP to support multi-day live esports broadcasts for its virtual professional motorsports series, and EA’s esports division, Electronic Arts Competitive Gaming Entertainment, used AMPP for fully distributed, remote production for its FIFA 21 and Apex Legends events. But traditional broadcasters have been just as eager to see what GV AMPP has to offer.

“The interest level is significantly higher than even we had anticipated – and it’s coming from all different directions. That makes our alliances strategy all the more important.”

In her role at Grass Valley, DeHart is responsible for creating a comprehensive ecosystem of connected solutions, supported by GV AMPP. With a multitude of solutions coming together seamlessly to create a broadcast, DeHart’s addition to the team reflected a desire to create the best possible avenues for technology partners to integrate with AMPP.

We don’t want to be the only voice in the room. We want to create an ecosystem where third parties can develop complementary solutions

The vision for the cloud microservices platform is not just to provide a set of tools, but offer an operating system for broadcast facilities, enabling the entire industry to develop new solutions that can be part of the GV Media Universe. That means users don’t just have access to Grass Valley’s home-grown microservices; they can also use services created for AMPP by peers across the industry.

“Grass Valley has technology and depth in specific parts of the broadcast workflow. But there are a lot of other solutions that come into play when you look at an overall production. That could be a piece of hardware, wanted by a vendor to connect to the cloud or a cloud-native service. Our goal is to have companies specifically developing solutions for the AMPP platform.

“Despite Grass Valley’s core competency in these technologies, we don’t want to be the only voice in the room. We want to create an ecosystem where third parties can develop complementary solutions that we haven’t thought of.”
Some could be vendors with niche products that don’t really interest the big broadcasters, but may solve problems particular to different verticals in the video sector. The alliances approach allows those working on solutions for all manner of things to contribute tools to the wider ecosystem of content creation.

Adapting to adoption

Over the coming months, Grass Valley is also set to roll out programmes that help third parties better integrate with, and develop solutions for, the AMPP platform. Alliance partners are able to offer a frictionless user experience including purchasing, provisioning and billing. They can create new revenue channels with Grass Valley’s distribution infrastructure and include access to Grass Valley’s global first line of customer support services.

Opening up the AMPP ecosystem to a range of contributing partners also means broadening solutions for customers.

“Whenever there is a new technology, particularly one as disruptive as cloud is to the media business, people adopt the technology to various degrees: some are very eager, while some just aren’t ready. The successful cloud companies of the future are going to serve all of those people, providing pieces they can implement in their own infrastructures at their own pace. Then, as time goes on, they can access more solutions-oriented pieces – where they just log in to a web page and away they go.

“Working in the cloud becomes less novel as time goes on. People are already going live, demonstrating high production value in the cloud. And that’s what we’re here for.”

This article first featured in the Summer 2021 issue of FEED magazine.

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