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Cloud stars at NAB from beta to full release during this year. by Bob Pank N AB 2013 will go down in history as the event where the broadcast industry took to the Cloud in a big way. Perhaps it was the number of smaller companies and start-ups that have been successfully operating cloud services for a year or more that persuaded the big names to join in but, more likely, these moves have been in the pipeline for a while. This now tips the balance and many companies will be looking to see if their products and services could benefit from a presence in the Cloud. Marketing people will be developing Cloud strategies. The beauty of Cloud services is their huge asymmetry. Like the phone, internet and TV services, Cloud users only need a reasonably low cost instrument to access and use hugely powerful, complex and efficient services. Perhaps the clearest illustration of this is the new offering from Sony. Well, actually not the Sony we already know but Sony Media Cloud Services, which is a new subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. Ci (pronounced as ‘see’) is Sony MCS’s Software-as- a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers cloud-based media utility services to streamline global content production. This is to enable teams anywhere to collaborate to create, produce, manipulate and prepare content for production and distribution. The demonstration looked convincing and the service looks set to appeal to a range of users from broadcasters to production companies. It definitely scored as the Cloud’s greatest floor space at NAB, and I’m sure we’ll all hear much more of this as Ci goes This is by far the biggest entry into the Cloud market as a TV and movie production tool. The service includes technology from Aspera to move the data ‘at maximum speed’, and is using Amazon Web Services to ‘scale-up our media processing’. For a more information, google Sony Ci YouTube. NAB did, once again, support the Cloud Pavilion in the North Hall. However the pavilion’s Cloud carpet looked only about the same size as last year (though probably smaller than Sony’s Cloud acreage), but it was more heavily populated than 12 months ago. The companies on the carpet are not involved in making traditional equipment but do all provide Cloud-based services. This was an opportunity to catch up with Aframe who has been busy expanding and improving its services. The new Aframe 2.0 Edit Flow can move Aframe-generated rough edits and compilations directly into Avid, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere. This export of metadata should save edit-suit time and enable more efficient collaboration. There is also integration with Panasonic’s AVC codec, a newly designed user interface, and an API Library. “Creativity is hard enough to achieve for clients and for far too long, video professionals have had to put up with all kinds of workarounds forced on them by technology,” said David Peto, CEO of Aframe. “By removing the storing, sharing and delivery frustrations of video production, Aframe 2.0 makes people more productive by solving the common video problems - from the first production meeting all the way through to the final edit. For companies serious about video, Aframe’s cloud video technology powers people to deliver.” See the video at aframe.com [See an image of the Aframe GUI opposite] Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc was another big name to choose NAB 2013 to launch its cloud services. Deluxe MediaCloud is a cloud-based playout platform that aims to simplify the media landscape by increasing efficiency while decreasing costs. It is designed to provide ‘a broadcast service delivering a next-generation cloud-based playout, media asset management and delivery platform’ using non-proprietary IT technologies and state-of-the-art media tools. MediaCloud comprises three elements: Portal (an orchestration and asset management suite of broadcasting tools presented via a web browser), Playout (scalable, resilient and feature rich), and Delivery (tools to reliably and securely transport broadcast streams across virtually any network topology). Deluxe states that, this ‘brings a new way of broadcasting, with the potential to interface to media assets and create a television station anywhere in the world’. It is interesting to observe that the established technology suppliers are increasingly turning to the Cloud to expand their services. For example, Snell announced at NAB that it is now offering some of its famed processing tools at its ‘Snell On Demand’ platform where some of its image processing tools have migrated to virtualised environments. First up is the Alchemist OD, making its standards conversion available via commodity IT infrastructure. This is the first of many Snell tools to be made available on-demand in the Cloud as an alternative to employing dedicated hardware for discrete processing operations. They say that ‘Snell On Demand enables users to differentiate their service offerings for their clients and end users.’ This sounds very significant as, if other equipment suppliers follow suit, as they probably will, where does this leave the facilities industry in Soho, and other media technology 46 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 77 MAY 2013 TV-BAY077MAY13.indd 46 02/05/2013 21:18