CLOUD PLAYOUT: to Private Cloud or to Public Cloud, that is the question.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

nxtedition instsallation at KNR
In a recent interview our resident nxtpert, Adam Leah, was asked a few questions for an IBC365 article on cloud playout.

Amid the covid-19 pandemic there’s been an increase in curiosity about the migration of playout to the cloud fulled by broadcasters seeking greater flexibility. Adam puts across the nxtedtion philosophy for playout in the 21st century.

To what extent is there now a strong demand for cloud playout, and in which areas of broadcast is adoption moving most quickly – and why?

Our clients use nxtedition as on-premise virtualised private cloud infrastructure. As regional or national broadcasters they have geographical borders and therefore the elasticity and scalability of a public cloud is not necessary for their day to day playout requirements. Instead, their requirements focus more on speed and cost.

nxtedition is also a dynamic ‘live led’ playout system, so the area of adoption nxtedition see’s the most is the recycling of content made by the client through the day, either live on-air or to live streams, apps, VOD, web or social media. Fundamentally all our clients can drop in live at any time over the scheduled playout, either gracefully after the last event or by crashing in with breaking news if they choose.

What are the primary benefits of cloud playout over other options? Also, are there broadcasters who are now moving towards the use of cloud playout as part of a hybrid approach?

Playout using cloud technologies allows for flexible responses to the changing landscape of media requirements.  In some cases, the cloud can actually slow down response times as the files need to be organised and uploaded for playout. When bandwidth is under load, then the additional pressure of uploading large files for cloud playout can become problematic. The public internet is still significantly slower than an on-premise installation and speed is crucial when being fast and first. If it takes one hour or one minute to make a breaking news clip available for playout, that can make all the difference.

This is where the hybrid approach tends to be preferable. The cloud is good at two things, elasticity and scalability. So if you need content delivered globally through CDNs or you need 1000 transcode engines to convert to all formats known to mankind – then it’s perfect. For instance, nxtedition uses the cloud for AI services to help indexing for fuzzy search and also some transcode tasks should that extra scalability be required by the client, but it comes with an extra financial cost to the client. Our clients want to be fast and first on air with breaking news or feature pieces, so nxtedition just plays directly out from their on-premise private cloud. It’s simply more bandwidth efficient, cheaper, and faster that way.

To what extent is security and protection of assets a concern regarding cloud playout, and what steps have you taken in this regard to safeguard content and playout workflows?

Security is baked in by being on-premise. Everything is done using SSL Encryption and remote working is always over a VPN. nxtedition knows where the data is, it is with the client. They control who has access to it and it falls under the security protocols of the client’s IT department.

At BlickTV in Switzerland, nxtedition not only plays out the video but also the metadata for the graphics and subtitles so they can be added dynamically in the BlickTV app.

Can you tell us a little bit about your current primary offers for cloud playout, and highlight key points of differentiation from other comparable solutions/services?

By using localised private cloud technology, nxtedition minimises latency, bandwidth load, and control cost.  This allows us to create smart channels that are populated with the content of either searches or linear playout of live material in the correct order without the content moving anywhere else. Our users can dynamically add fillers, adverts etc and produce reports on everything that has been played out. But nxtedition also reaches far deeper into the production process than a traditional playout provider. Through the automation of studio galleries, by automatically slicing off our ingest record server clips of each individual story and automatically populating the playout rundown before the show has finished. 

nxtedition can even publish the same clip to web, social and mobile apps simultaneously, without any human intervention. Mix in the metadata and allow the end users device to render subtitles and graphics then you have a 21st century form of playout that’s dynamic & monetizable. Playout is changing. It’s not just video files, promos, and fillers – it’s live streams, social posts, second screen, blog rolls, apps, and much more. Content now moves to many places and all of us have the responsibility to carry out that task. 
For this, you need a more unified solution and to us, playout is only one of the tasks nxtedition does – alongside planning, scripting, MAM, transcoding, studio automation, graphics, subtitling, archiving, publishing to social, web & apps.

The full IBC365 article can be found here

Adam Spins Up A Live Flow Playout Channel

Within a 10 min time limit, Adam shows how nxtedition can instantly generate a Flow TV channel using a combination of search and event driven automation. If that wasn’t enough he then shows how easy it is to drop into the channel live. This is all thanks to the amazing integration of the microservices and virtualised environment inside nxtedition.

nxtedition is a highly efficient and unified system allows for broadcasters, publishers and corporates to concentrate on storytelling rather than the underlying technology or swapping between multiple software in complex workflows.

We remove the requirement for separate NRCS systems, Prompter, MAM, Studio automation, graphics, editing etc. and do not rely on communication protocols like Moss. nxtedition is a total end-to-end production solution all operable remotely from anywhere on the planet via a VPN.