This is the paradigm shift. This is virtualization. You can rebuild your existing machine room to be a processor farm, or you can co-locate the broadcast functionality with your business's data centre, or you can rent processing resources from a specialist datacenter, which might be a private cloud or it could be an industry giant like AWS.
I mentioned the paradigm shift for broadcasters, but it is also a paradigm shift for vendors, too. Our customers tell us "we don't want to buy your hardware, and we don't want to buy your software either. We want to rent your software, only when we need it, over a virtualized network."
That's right. The smart vendor should not be looking to take large sums out of your capital budget: they should be looking to rent you functionality, by the complexity and by the hour. If you need an hour a day of 4k graphics rendering, why should you have to go out and buy a big expensive box that most of the time is sitting there doing nothing except taking up rack space and air conditioning?
That ability to rent functionality as and when you need it is another part of the paradigm shift. Want to test the market with a new channel offering, or maybe an Ultra HD service? The capital cost of setting it up makes trials difficult and unfeasible. But if you just need to rent the branding and playout while the trial service is running, then it becomes a very attractive market-testing idea.
You could set up a pop-up channel for just a day or two, around a big sports or entertainment event. You could even run an occasional channel that test-marketed new content, offered to specific demographics to see if a pilot is worth taking into production. All you are doing is paying for the software while you need it, and the processing and storage in your data centre or in the cloud.
I have two pieces of advice to help you through the paradigm shift. First, our experience is that the biggest problems come not from the technology but from the organisation's ability to change. You have to create completely new workflows, and you have to take your people with you. The benefits are huge, but the challenges are not insignificant.
And linked to that is the need to work with a technology partner you can trust. Successful innovation in our industry relies on creativity, shared purpose, linked intelligence and trust. With 30 years dedicated to the broadcast industry, demonstrating and earning that trust is a central part of what we do. Through it, our customers know that if we say we can do something there is real substance there. Never smoke and mirrors, even if we are talking the cloud!