It’s fair to say that if any broadcaster or content producer isn’t thinking about cloud infrastructure, it’s because they already have it. Adoption of cloud workflows in the last three years alone has been unprecedented, and its not slowing down. We caught up with Simon Frost, Head of Marketing and Business Development, EMEA - AWS Elemental, an Amazon Web Services Company, to talk about some of the trends and developments he is seeing within his customer base.
At BVE you delivered the seminar 'Intelligent cloud media workflows for delivering better viewer experiences', How significant do you think the cloud now is to major broadcasters?
I am delighted to have the opportunity to highlight how video pioneers such as the BBC, Discovery Communications, Amazon Prime Video, and Channel 4 have adopted AWS Cloud to deliver innovative services and experiences to viewers. For over 20 years, I have been a part of major industry transformations – from analogue to digital, standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD), the introduction of IPTV, and ultimately to over-the-top (OTT) TV, streaming, and mobile video. Yet despite the magnitude of these changes, I see the most significant technological and operational transformation ahead for us all: cloud. With cloud, viewers have access to ever more content and distribution platforms, driving competition for attention for video providers and forcing the industry to become increasingly dynamic to maintain scale and relevance. Realising the full benefits of cloud adoption is essential to video providers' ongoing success.
Why are an increasing number of media giants, such as the BBC and Discovery Communications, turning to the cloud?
With competitive pressures increasing weekly, and viewers demanding fresh experiences to capture their attention, video providers must innovate, experiment and continually build their own differentiation. Cloud enables cost effective experimentation without major risk, allows features to be deployed in minutes, and gives time back to teams to create, rather than manage infrastructure. The scale of AWS cloud combined with the deep video expertise of AWS Elemental enabled us to recently launch five new AWS Media Services that allow video providers to process, personalize, monetize and deliver streamed video with real simplicity. Complimentary services such as Amazon Rekognition Video for powerful video machine learning, ThinkBox Deadline 10 for rendering, Amazon CloudFront for CDN delivery, and the amount of complimentary technology partners building on AWS is, in my view, making the Cloud an ideal platform on which to build the future of video workflows.
There is no doubt that the capabilities of AWS can transform a broadcaster's ability to deliver relevant programming or capitalise on new commercial opportunities, but are there challenges associated with cloud-computing platforms? Are organisations still unsure of its full potential?
Most organisations with whom we speak and industry surveys soliciting my input validate that cloud is the future for video workflows. The greatest opportunity is for those who are fearless and adopt an all-in approach to AWS Cloud and move away from managing infrastructure and to mobilizing an organization towards innovation and differentiation. A significant part of the cloud migration requires learning new skills, architecting video workflows in new ways, and becoming comfortable with not being able to visit the tech room and see the lights blinking on a machine. Part of my role is to continually explain the benefits, new ways of working, and show the many examples of pioneering customers that have forged ahead, and the advantages they are realising with the cloud.
Do you feel 2018 is going to be the year of cloud transformation?
In 2017 we saw significant adoption of AWS cloud services globally; video customers such as Turner, Hulu, and Major League Baseball (MLB) announced workloads built on AWS. Video technology partners SpotX, and castLabs announced integrations with the newly launched AWS Media Services.
I see cloud strategy and adoption as a major focus on our customers' agendas for this year.
I see cloud strategy and adoption as a major focus on our customers' agendas for this year. In fact, most of our customers already are engaged with virtualized IT and video workloads. Our software-based video infrastructure solutions and serverless, cloud-native AWS Media Services, which have been deployed with more than 1,000 customers, mean we can support all cloud migration scenarios across hybrid and all-in.
Many of AWS video partners, and customers address the production, media management, publishing, and content exchange workflows, as well as video delivery with many rights holders, and content owners exploring direct-to-viewer engagement models through OTT video. The opportunities for cloud strategies and technology adoption are only going to increase.