IBC 2017: Aspera, Cisco, G-Technology, Irdeto Introduce New Solutions

IBM’s Aspera, Cisco, G-Technology and Irdeto were among members of the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) to introduce new products, services and technologies on the first day of IBC in Amsterdam Sept. 14.

As Cisco pointed out in announcing its IBC initiatives, video operators and media companies at the annual conference this week are focusing on changes in the market as more video is moving to Internet Protocol (IP) and mobile platforms. But it said: “Creating engaging experiences subscribers will pay for remains a challenge, as consumers have more choices to watch content from more sources and devices.”

Noting that video — internet video especially — “continues to consume our networks,” Cisco predicted in a news release that we will hit 3 trillion Internet video minutes a month by 2021, and said that means “more streaming of TV apps and personal live streaming on social networks.”

IBM and Telestream announced a pact that they said in a news release will provide a “game-changing solution for high-speed capture and production of live, broadcast quality video from remote locations for faster production turnaround.” Under the deal, Telestream Vantage powered by Aspera now combines Aspera’s FASPStream high-speed file transfer technology with the Telestream Lightspeed Live Capture media processing platform to enable production teams to work on live video feeds from remote locations in near real time.

In making the announcement, the companies noted that capturing and producing content for live events including sports and news “poses unique challenges, and timely, remote production has long been an unattainable goal.” Currently, media companies must rely on expensive satellite or fiber-based infrastructure, and incur added costs by co-locating production teams and equipment at the event itself, the companies noted. Alternative IP-based solutions either offer streaming with low quality and high latency, or are slow and can’t work with content that’s still being created or captured, instead requiring completed files to be transferred over the network via hot folders, they said, noting that can reduce quality and introduce unacceptable delays for time-critical material.

The combination of Telestream Lightspeed Live Capture and Vantage Open Workflows powered by Aspera provides a new approach to delivering broadcast-quality video streams from the venue to the remote production facility live, enabling workflows once believed impossible, the companies said. Creative teams can now start working on a live capture feed delivered from a remote location while the event is still taking place, without waiting for the full file to be first written to disc and then transferred, they said. Transcoding, packaging, editing and other downstream workflows can begin immediately, significantly shortening the production cycle and increasing the value of the produced content, they said.

“Demand for live content delivery is exploding, as are expectations around the quality of the viewer experience,” Aspera CTO Mike Flathers said. He added: “Live video production teams have long been waiting for a cost-effective solution that would finally enable timely production workflows. We are excited about the possibilities Vantage powered by Aspera is opening up for event organizers and producers and content owners to connect with worldwide audiences in new innovative and immersive ways.”

This year at IBC, Cisco said, it’s “helping advance the industry toward truly scalable video services delivered over IP from the cloud.” To that end, the company is demonstrating how its Infinite Video Platform helps its customers bring “premium video experiences with scale, simplicity, and security, offering all the new features their subscribers want,” it said.

To provide better consumer experiences across devices, Cisco said it’s aligned the Infinite Video Platform with Adobe Experience Cloud to give service providers and media companies globally the ability to unify their video workflows and deliver a better and more consistent video playback experience for live, linear and on-demand video across screens. Cisco, in partnership with Adobe Experience Cloud, provides service providers and media companies with a scalable monetization solution, including integrated dynamic advertising insertion capabilities and advanced operational and viewer analytics, “to help extend reach and drive revenue,” Cisco said.

Cisco also said it’s working with partners including Amino and Zenterio to provide an IPTV migration solution for operators with legacy IPTV architectures such as Mediaroom to adaptive bit rate (ABR) and over-the-top (OTT) video platforms suitable for scaling premium video services to support next-generation experiences and set-top boxes.

Cisco is also collaborating with Google to offer the Android TV platform as the primary middleware solution powering the Cisco Infinite Video Platform, supporting TV sets and set-top boxes, with access to Android apps through Google’s Play Store.

Cisco is also showcasing how innovative networking solutions including segment routing can offer significant benefits to delivering multiplay services, including video to any screen, it said. It called segment routing an “important step to help video operators simplify how the network and applications adjust to real-time data.” Benefits of segment routing for video include: the simplification of IP network configuration and management, reducing traffic engineering time and errors; scaling the delivery of diverse services with automation that can programmatically apply application-level requirements to the network; and delivering quality-assured video experiences that differentiate a company’s service and impresses its customers without having to expend additional bandwidth, it said.

Enterprise object storage system company Cloudian, meanwhile, said it expanded its partnership with Cisco. Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage software is now available as part of Cisco’s Media Blueprint, a set of IP-based infrastructure and software solutions that enables organizations to scale premium content production and distribution. The announcement is part of a wider partnership between Cisco and Cloudian in which HyperStore has achieved compatibility certification for the Cisco UCS S3260 storage server and integrated UCS Manager, Cloudian said. Cloudian’s support for Cisco’s Media Blueprint is “focused on serving the media and entertainment industry with best-in-class virtualized and cloud-based solutions,” Cloudian said.

G-Technology is spotlighting the new G-DRIVE mobile SSD R-Series device, which the company said is its fastest G-Technology portable solid state drive (SSD). With the latest-generation USB-C connectivity and transfer speeds up to 560 MB a second, digital content creators “will be able to unleash their creativity in new places and work with large creative files like videos, photos and music faster,” it said in a news release.

Working with large 4K RAW video means large file sizes and that is “undoubtedly one of the largest pain points for content editors” today, G-Technology said.

The new SSD addresses a growing trend, Brian Matiash, G-Technology G-Team ambassador, noted, saying: “Larger and more powerful cameras breed larger file sizes and that has brought about an important need for equally large and powerful storage solutions. I need to know that my drives will not only keep up with the growing demands of my photo and video workflows, but also ensure that they can endure the environmental rigors of wherever my work takes me.” The G-DRIVE mobile SSD R-Series offers an additional 2 TB of capacity beyond what Matiash’s laptop is limited to, and adds “blazing fast file read and write speeds,” providing him with “peace of mind knowing that these drives will stand up to the unpredictable and inclement conditions,” he said. That’s because the new devices were built using what G-Technology said were “hand-picked components to withstand tough conditions in the field. The drives have an International Protection Rating of 67 (IP67) for water and dust resistance and were tested to withstand up to a 3-meter drop on a carpeted concrete floor and 1,000 pounds of pressure (crush resistance).

The G-DRIVE mobile SSD R-Series will ship globally this year with up to 2 TB capacities. The drives will cost $699.95 for 2 TB, $379.95 for 1 TB and $199.95 for 500 GB.

G-Technology also announced the availability of a new software development kit (SDK) for its 12-bay G-RACK 12 NAS solution for content creators managing libraries of audio and video. Using the SDK, third-party partners now have the ability to develop customized applications for the G-NAS operating system that can run natively on the G-RACK 12 and its dual 6-core Xeon processors, offloading tasks from local machines and streamlining workflows, it said.

Irdeto announced a partnership with MStar Semiconductor and SMIT Holdings, a global supplier of Conditional Access Module (CAM) devices, to offer a CI Plus 2.0 USB CAM with Irdeto Cloaked CA to operators globally. TV manufacturer TP Vision and DVB-CI test tool and software provider Rabbit Labs are also supporting the partnership, which the companies said in a news release will allow consumers to receive pay TV services on their TVs by leveraging USB-based CAMs.

CAMs have grown popular in Europe because, based on the PC Card (PCMCIA) form factor, they are a cost-effective way to provide consumers access to pay TV without a set-top box, the companies said.

The CI Plus 2.0 standard introduces a new USB form factor for the interface between the CAM and the TV, allowing CI Plus 2.0 to be leveraged globally. Unlike the older form factor, USB CAMs are expected to be supported by the majority of TVs globally in the coming years, the companies said, noting USB ports are available on most TVs, making it a lot easier for TV makers to support CI Plus 2.0 worldwide.

“The CI Plus 2.0 standard is an important industry advancement and the deployment of our Cloaked CA technology in this USB CAM will provide operators with another channel to securely deliver premium content to consumers,” Steeve Huin, VP of strategic partnerships at Irdeto, said in the news release. He added: “This partnership is a big leap forward for the industry as it will enable operators all around the world to leverage a trusted and proven standard-based technology that was until now mostly limited to Europe. This announcement shows that the entire ecosystem is coming together, from suppliers of CAMs and semiconductors, to software providers and TV manufacturers, to drive this CI Plus standard to reality on a global scale.”

Also at IBC …
There continues to be gender disparity when it comes to leadership roles in the broadcast manufacturing and services sector, according to the findings of a recent survey conducted by advocacy group Rise that it announced at IBC.

Only 15% of the more than 100 broadcast industry respondents reported that their senior management teams featured 50% or more women, while 25% of respondents had 25-50% of females in their senior management teams and 60% had a minority and in most cases no women at all on their senior management teams, Rise said. Seventy percent of respondents said their company’s working practices could be improved for women, with the main issues including career path progression, childcare provision and flexible working. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said there were 25% or fewer women currently working at their company, according to Rise.