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into Mediaflex, for completely automatic, seamless workflows, using UMS. Sounds like all the technology bases are covered. Yes, they are, but we need to think in a new way if content owners are going to maximise the value of their assets. Broadcasting traditionally has been driven by technology, but I believe today we need to focus on business processes, using the technology as an enabler. So while at TMD we have a good reputation with big global broadcasters like Discovery Communications and RTÉ, we also have been responsible for major audiovisual archives, like the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. The NFSA has a huge amount of material online, but an even vaster collection which is not yet, from historical film awaiting restoration to assets which cannot be digitised, like the dress from Muriel’s Wedding. Seems like you need a pretty flexible data model. How do you know what you need? Yes, the first point is that there is a need for a powerful data schema, which captures all the information you need. There have been attempts at standardising this, like the BBC SMEF (standard metadata exchange framework) and the Dublin Core. A good asset management system – like the TMD Mediaflex – will support these. They will also support much more. The NFSA, for instance, added hundreds of fields to their metadata schema to incorporate what they needed. I repeat, the core system has to be flexible, allowing you to build the system you want, not tell you what to do. How do you connect to external systems? ASK OUR EXPERTS 44 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE This is a critical part of a modern, useful asset management system: it might be at the centre of the workflows but it has to talk to systems around it. One way we do this is with what we called the Unified Media Services toolkit. UMS is an API, based on web services, which allows external devices to connect to a single workflow bus in a service oriented architecture. That adaptor might be based on their own proprietary architecture or it might be an open, FIMS-style adaptor. Either way, it makes for a simple, seamless interface. Should the third-party device get an update, it is only the adaptor that needs to be changed to allow it to continue working, so no expensive re-integration. To give an example, we have in the Mediaflex modular architecture an option called Repurposing which, as its name suggests, allows content in the system to be delivered in other formats to other systems. As part of it you can add StreamCoder, which is a transcoding engine for the web, IPTV, VoD and mobile delivery, and which can perform multiple transcodes simultaneously. Alongside that, you might have another repurposing system, like the Telestream Vantage or the Snell Alchemist. These can be connected POST YOUR QUESTION ONLINE: Search ‘tvbay’ Tel. +44 (0)1635 237 237 Email. So just as important as connecting to other video processing systems is connecting to business management software. Yes, we can develop new workflows and deliver content to new customers on alternative platforms. But how much does it cost to do it? Is it creating bottlenecks in our processing chain, and are they threatening existing workflows? If we need to invest in additional equipment to meet new markets, will this produce a return on investment? In short, we need to drive content flows from business requirements, and we need to know how much each workflow costs. At TMD we talk about “beyond media asset management”, and that is how we should be thinking today: we have to take a business approach to using and delivering our content. What are the top tips for choosing an asset management system? In no particular order, I would suggest that you have to be certain you are covered on at least five points: • it must have a flexible data model, which can incorporate and translate all the metadata you need, now and in the future • there should be easy connectivity to other devices, using a service-oriented model to minimise the need for re-engineering as other parts of the infrastructure are upgraded or replaced • you need strong integration with business systems so your activities are driven by commercial imperatives, and the content processing generates management reports not just technical error lists • workflows need to be added quickly and reliably, without the need for heavy engineering, using a graphical design tool underpinned by the intelligence to fill in the technical requirements • new delivery platforms have to be supported, including things like Silverlight and Smooth Streaming, HTML-5 and HLS, with metadata management to ensure the right information goes to the right place every time. A good place to ask these questions would be the TMD stand at IBC, 2.C58!