CLASS - FIMS: A plug-and-play solution


Bruce Devlin TV-Bay Magazine
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by Bruce Devlin
Issue 106 - October 2015

No two broadcasters are alike. Meaning, that just about every broadcaster in the world uses its own, customized workflow comprised of any number of proprietary tools and solutions, specially designed to work together. With so many systems with proprietary interfaces in existence, IT-based media projects require a great deal of integrations. As the industry evolves and new technology becomes available, this makes solutions very complex and costly to deploy and maintain.

Enter: FIMS, the Framework for Interoperable Services.

This framework simplifies integrations through better and stronger standards meaning, no need for custom integrations. However, to achieve this, we must develop applications with a standard interface. In addition to standard interfaces, FIMS employs a data model a common representation for media assets which incorporates standard metadata (such as EBUCore) that have been developed separately.

The idea behind the set of standard interfaces and data model is to develop a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). By exposing media applications as services and allowing for a flexible, plug-and-play architecture, we can leverage standard IT technologies and enable customers to build best-of-breed workflows. As a result, we create an ecosystem of standard interfaces that simplify the design, build and deployment of systems, as well as the maintenance of said systems over time. Thus, integrating new tools through a FIMS interface does not require a complete architectural change.

For vendors, this means more elaborate integrations can be built at a much lower cost. And because we reduce the number of custom interfaces, the cost to upgrade any given system is also reduced. Whats more, vendors can offer customers more benefit through improved core applications, as ideally the time and money saved by not developing custom integrations can be reallocated towards developing media specific applications.

From the media and broadcast company perspective, FIMS enables much better tracking and task management, as well as the ability to evolve seamlessly over time. With technology evolving all the time, being able to readily integrate new solutions gives broadcasters a huge advantage.

So why arent all systems FIMS-compliant? FIMS is an ongoing effort and as such, is not without its challenges. We work in an industry that is undergoing constant change, making this effort a moving target. Companies have to agree to build on the standards, along with the limits they impose. And, a FIMS-compliant system does have its tradeoffs. With the standardization and simplicity of design, cost-savings, etc., comes slightly looser integration and performance. But we see the long-term benefits far outweighing these short-term issues.

In any case, for FIMS to fulfill its destiny as a plug-and-play solution, its crucial that every actor in the ecosystem plays the game. By cultivating an ecosystem of applications that can all play nice together, broadcasters will be able to build best-of-breed solutions that can be evolved over years to come while saving them money. Now in its sixth year, FIMS continues to gain awareness slowly but surely. But when it comes to making this solution a widespread reality, its in the hands of the broadcast and media companies to make the demand.


Tags: iss106 | dalet academy | fims | interfaces | systems | framework for interoperable services | Bruce Devlin
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin

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