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The fundamentals of flexibility

Posted on Aug 8, 2022 by FEED Staff

NAB Show 2022 saw swathes of launches across the industry – particularly around cloud. Ross Video’s new Production Cloud solution sets a benchmark when it comes to putting customers first

On approach, Ross Video’s stand at NAB was easily visible from the opposite side of the seemingly endless North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The bustling booth was crowned with a dangling halo, proudly beaming the Ross emblem. It also acted as a bit of a lifesaver for the FEED team scrambling from one place to the next!

Shawn Snider, Ross Video’s vice president of production workflow & cloud services, who has been a stalwart at the company for 15 years, caught us up with all the latest, particularly on a topic hovering on every NAB attendee’s mind post-pandemic: cloud-based production.

”We’ve come up with two primary technological solutions that allow organisations to make the most of resources and creativity, thanks to lower up-front costs, faster deployment, unmatched flexibility and greater efficiency.” 

Two solutions Snider refers to are:

Hyperconvergence: the ability to have production, switchers, routers and audio built into one, unified, purpose-built and software-defined platform.

Cloud production: launching at NAB, Ross Production Cloud is a suite of tools that provides an end-to-end workflow, that in turn allows a full production control room – or a gallery in the cloud.

“In short, we are taking all of the tools that we previously had, and making them nimble enough that they can run in the cloud,” Snider surmises. 

He emphasises a growth in demand, particularly after what has been an industry-shifting couple of years; and how customers are looking for a solution that can accommodate a new, collaborative way of working. A search that could be somewhat difficult in what’s quickly becoming an oversaturated market. As a result, it’s the differentiating factors of the various vendors’ cloud offerings that will be the make or break in this demanding climate.

“For example, every time an election comes around, your coverage soars. This leads to a need to build new studios and facilities just to be used for a couple of weeks,” Snider continues. “Cloud changes that equation, because you can have those resources provisioned on demand. The biggest part of that, for us, has been ensuring the technology is mature enough to make that transition.”

Ross-video-cloud
Heartbeat: The control room is more important than ever before

Key to the Ross Cloud Production Platform is that it can typically be deployed in two major groups:

Persistent group: a set of ‘always-on’ services that are constantly available, such as newsroom, media asset management, content gateways and licensing. These are low operational cost instances that power the tools your team uses in pre- and post-production workflows.

Dynamic group: services such as control room video workflows, graphics, switching and ground-to-cloud live sources. These are the larger and more expensive instances you want to start and stop on demand, as they are needed by a production. Deployed on a regular schedule or through manual triggers, resulting in significant cost savings.

“Our customers are one of the big drivers behind moving products to the cloud. We do not want to have to tell them: ‘By the way, here is our cloud solution, now you have to retrain everybody’. It’s the same user interfaces and physical switcher panels in front of you. But the guts of it are in the cloud.”

The impact of retraining an entire facility on a new workflow is one reason traditional broadcasters have been cautious about the buzzword, or perhaps ‘buzzworld’, of cloud production. An all-or-nothing cloud offering seems to be the answer provided by many. Ross Video’s approach is a black-and-white, customer-driven model.

“Another differentiator is our flexible licensing. Software licensing, which has always been perpetual, is something the customer continually holds.

“With cloud, we are continuing that trend. You can buy our products as a perpetual software licence. As far as I know, we are the only ones doing this for a cloud-based offering.”

Notably, as Ross continue with this approach, they are additionally offering subscriptions.

“This allows us to move to markets where top-tier quality production was never an option. Now it is there, allowing these smaller broadcasters to expand exponentially, at a fraction of the cost up front.”

While others provide limited cloud-based resources, Ross Production Cloud gives the flexibility to actually choose your optimal mix of cloud services and on-prem hyperconverged hardware.

Ross Video’s cloud concept mirrors a responsibility held by vendors across the board.

“Ross is committed to listening to customers, understanding their challenges in the long and short term, and coming in full-force to help with any problems. We support you in coming up with the best possible solution for your company.”

Find out more about the Ross Production Cloud at rossvideo.com/productioncloud

This article first featured in the summer 2022 issue of FEED magazine.

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