06 Apr 2018 BVE Insights
  • | YES

Is Blockchain the next disruptor?

by: BVE Editorial

To say that broadcast workflows have seen more technological disruption in the last 5 years than they have seen in the last 20 is not a statement anyone involved in broadcast infastructure would disagree with.

Most of the heads of technology that we speak with at BVE are also aware that things are not slowing down, they are speeding up. The pace of technology innovation and change is coming thick and fast and the question that troubles, or excites depending on your perspective, is what’s next.

With developments around AI and machine learning, virtualised infrastructures, Microservices, our research was pretty clear  as we headed into BVE – change could come from anywhere, but one of the most enigmatic area’s was around Blockchain. Could it be a game changer? and how far away is it from being a reliable technology solution?  The answer according to Michelle Munson, is a simple yes, and it’s here now.

 blockchain sketchnote

Having worked as a software engineer and an innovator of new software for Internet data problems throughout her career, Michelle Munson founded Aspera in 2004 with her business partner Serban Simu after getting a taste for the internets capabilities for content and developing FASP transport technology that turned Aspera into a technology powerhouse that was acquired by IBM in 2016. We caught up with Michelle at BVE to find out a little more about her and Serbans new venture Eluvio.

At BVE you talked about revolutionizing digital content storage and interchange with Blockchain ledgers and Machine Learning…. What does this mean?

In 2017 I went deep into the capabilities of machine learning, decentralized design and block chain ledgers and we are now working to harness these to take on additional challenges for digital content on the Internet.

We want to introduce a new approach to the “Internet” as we know it, centered on digital content and combining commerce, scalability, and content protection. We often talk about the challenges of the present Internet architecture for digital content as it has evolved with file servers, databases and edge cache CDNs, such as uneven viewing quality and latency, high costs, and required trust of infrastructure vendors and their vendors.

What we want to explain is this new content centric overlay that addresses these dimensions in a single software stack. The design is decentralized, trustless, and built on a blockchain ledger with programmable contracts to provide robust content security and native commerce capabilities, machine learning for efficient content location and routing, and distributed storage of content and metadata. This change of approach encompases applications such as content versioning, workflow, and monetization including compliance checks, advertising across partner channels, and just-in-time delivery of content from master formats saving storage and latency.

We are trying to solve some very hard problems. To do this we need a ground-up rethinking of how we have built our workflows on the Internet for the past twenty years.

How has the response to Eluvio been so far?

We really are focused on creating core technologies for this vision of a content-centric internet. We are trying to get at, and solve, some very hard problems. To do this the solutions require, in many cases, a ground-up rethinking of how we have built our workflows on the Internet for the past twenty years. The concepts we are building seem to be resonating with the community because, I think, the industry is at an inflection point for two reasons:

1) the scale of demand for digital content is outstripping the ability to serve it with consistent quality and sustainable revenue models.

2) The renaissance in software technology around decentralized design, machine learning, block chain and cloud based computing have combined to make radical new solutions possible.

I am always pleased to hear people's thoughts on our direction, and learning more about the latest applications in the areas of metadata management, live distribution and security that could exploit our core capabilities.


Michelle Munson

Michelle Munson is the co-founder and CEO of Eluvio, a new Berkeley-based start-up creating new software technologies for a content-centric Internet.

She previously founded East Bay software company Aspera in 2004 and led the company as CEO until May 2017, including through acquisition by IBM in 2014.  She and co-founder Serban Simu created the Aspera FASP™ transport technology, an Emmy-award winning technology used throughout the digital media supply chain for high-speed low cost secure digital content transport, replacing satellite and traditional tape based delivery technologies. Michelle holds several patents and is a frequent speaker in the areas of content transport innovation including high speed file delivery, streaming, machine learning, and cloud infrastructure.

She was the 2016 Charles Swartz awardee and is a SMPTE Fellow. Michelle has dual B.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering and in Physics from Kansas State University and was a Goldwater Scholar for achievement in Science and Mathematics, and later a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University where she received a postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science. In 2016 she was named the IABM Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and TV NewsCheck Woman of the Year, and she was named one of the Most Influential Women in Business by the SF Business Times in 2017. She was the 2006 KSU College of Engineering Alumni Fellow (the youngest recipient ever), and is an active trustee for the National 4-H Council and 2017 4-H Luminary for her leadership with youth.

About BVE

BVE is the largest broadcast, production and media and tech exhibition in the UK attracting over 12,000 creative professionals, business leaders and tech professionals every year.