SMPTE®, the home of media professionals, technologists, and engineers, has collaborated with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Motion Pictures Laboratories Inc. (MovieLabs), a technology joint venture of the major Hollywood studios, to publish “Media in the Cloud: Ontology and Semantic Web Technology Navigation Guide.” The new guide, available for free on the SMPTE website, is a primer on the use of ontologies and other semantic web technologies within a modern media landscape characterized by the movement of workflows into the cloud.
“The shift of media workflows to the cloud — an ever more data-driven ecosystem — yields many benefits, including greater automation, agility, and scalability. But to realize these, organizations must successfully address challenges related to workflow interoperability, data portability, and the management of complex sets of assets,” said MovieLabs CTO Jim Helman. “Media ontologies provide the essential knowledge framework to address those challenges.”
The guide explains media ontologies in simple terms, provides a useful discussion of mapping data across different information systems, and offers practical examples of how media organizations are using semantic web technologies to bring greater efficiency to real-world workflows.
Understanding and managing the complex relationships between all elements in the content life cycle — from scripts to assets to the tasks being performed across media workflows — require richer metadata. An ontology provides a framework needed to support application and service integration, asset and content management, and search and discovery, among other functions.
“Consistent and interoperable metadata and semantics are key for connecting data sets along the value chain, managing distributed workflows, and integrating applications. They are also crucial for content management and search and discovery,” said Hans Hoffmann, head of Media Fundamentals and Production Technology at EBU Technology and Innovation. “This navigation guide is the result of a great collaboration between EBU, SMPTE, and MovieLabs, three key actors in this field, and it will greatly help the media industry in its transformation into a data-driven ecosystem.”
Recognizing a need for greater awareness around this topic, MovieLabs, the EBU, and SMPTE collaborated to provide the industry with an explanation of media-specific ontologies, the ontologies already in existence, where they are applicable, and how to deploy them. The resulting document presents media organizations with a starting point for the move to the cloud and toward microservice-based deployments that integrate semantic technologies.
“SMPTE has played a significant role in improving metadata interoperability, and we view our participation in this ontology work as an extension of that that work,” said SMPTE Executive Director David Grindle. “The navigation guide is a valuable introduction to the current media ontology landscape, the application of semantic technologies, and specific use cases that benefit from them. For many organizations, this will be critical foundational knowledge as they increasingly leverage data and the cloud to support their media workflows.”
The new guide is available for free on the SMPTE website. Further information about SMPTE is available at smpte.org.