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Time to start planning your cloud journey

Posted on Mar 3, 2022 by FEED Staff

Broadcasters may not want all their playout in the cloud yet, but a solid strategy is essential and Pebble has the answer

It seems inevitable that everything in media playout – and all other domains in media capture, management and delivery – will eventually be based on cloud technologies.

But, despite the rising noise around cloud adoption, most playout today is still based on-premises – in dedicated, purpose-built facilities. And there are significant revenue streams dependent on their uninterrupted operation. That said, the Opex financial structure of cloud is becoming an increasingly desirable operational goal. In practice, switching to a fully cloud based system over a short period may be difficult. Investment cycles, capital availability, personnel capabilities and local network capacity can all hinder adoption. But the industry is transitioning, though the rates of change will vary considerably between broadcasters.

Deploying cloud technologies on-site has become a stepping stone in migration to a public cloud – and a learning opportunity for broadcasters. A broadcast organisation is unlikely to have just one type of channel under its umbrella. There may be content that is not time-critical, which works perfectly well at SD, made available to OTT customers only. Channels like this can be made up of pre-prepared videos and pre-rendered graphics, with simple automation. It’s feasible to operate these entirely in the cloud, where content is uploaded once and stays there.

On the other end are channels delivering quality live content, both over the air and OTT – like sports or continuous news channels – that are time-critical. Add in HD and UHD resolutions, a wider colour gamut for HDR content, or complex real-time graphics, and committing fully to the cloud may make less sense financially. But even these can benefit from a hybrid approach, which provides improved redundancy, analytics or archiving via the cloud. The coming years will see a variety of playout deployment models. Dynamic FAST channels will live alongside static channels, and back-to-back clip playback channels will be next to pop-up event channels. Technologies for deployment will be tailored to clients’ circumstances and business models.

To support these diverse scenarios, Pebble provides solutions designed, installed and adapted for each type of deployment – whether SDI, IP/cloud or hybrid. Pebble’s new cloud-native, service-orientated platform, Oceans, represents not only new technology, but an innovative way to collaborate with customers. Oceans has been developed for easy deployment of updated software, with an emphasis on remote web-based operations, management and solution monitoring. A reflexive move to ‘all cloud’ may not be the most effective way to evolve your business. Having a solid technology strategy – and the right partner to help with it – means you don’t need to rush. No matter what stage of your broadcast journey, Pebble can make it work for you.

This article first feautured in the winter 2021/22 issue of FEED magazine.

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