GLOOKAST’s CTO shares industry views

Q&A with Felipe Santos

12 Sep 2017

1. The Media Industry is currently very focused on “cloud”, be it cloud-based applications, architectures, infrastructures, solutions, etc. What is your take on that focus and where do you see it going over the coming years?

The cloud is revolutionizing the media industry, there is no question about it! The biggest advantage the cloud brings is flexibility to adapt to changes in demands and requirements, particularly in the dynamic workflows found in media enterprises. We live in the era of “doing more with less” – budgets are shrinking, and yet content is growing exponentially. The math quite simply does not add up if corporations continue to use traditional methods to meet these demands. The shift to the cloud is inevitable, as it allows media companies to very rapidly scale production systems, as well as support a geographically dispersed work force that covers events and productions all over the world. Ultimately, such a flexible infrastructure makes media organizations more efficient in tackling the challenges of our industry.

The move to the cloud is causing challenges for some manufacturers and solution providers, as products for today’s media industry need to be designed with the cloud in mind. That means distributed, highly-available, and secure services that can be easily installed in any combination of modes (irrespective of geographic dispersion) – in data centers, on the cloud, on premise – thus allowing customers the greatest flexibility possible with respect to pacing out their most optimal transition to the cloud. At Glookast, all of our products are built on micro services that seamlessly interact with one another to enable the most flexible and efficient workflows possible.

2. How is the move to cloud affecting business models?

With the rise of cloud-based architectures, it is not surprising that we are witnessing many companies turning to a more services oriented model. The media industry is also looking for much more flexibility when it comes to choosing the right tools, favouring a build-it-themselves approach whereby different solutions are tightly integrated and bundled together for a bespoke offering.

Solution providers need more than ever to offer a service-orientated platform, deployable on a load-balanced, failover, distributed platform, which enables customers to take on the toughest challenges and minimize production time. By also making services available on an array of other popular platforms, customers can get the right tools on any platform they choose to adopt in their transition to cloud. All Glookast products are based on our service-oriented platform for media ingest, management, and processing, with every component of our tightly integrated technology stack exposing a service-oriented interface.

3. What are you witnessing as the biggest challenges and opportunities, given today’s market dynamics?

The media industry is undoubtedly going through a major revolution. Content production is booming with new entrants, varying from individuals broadcasting online to multinational corporations that traditionally focused on other aspects of the media industry, now producing more content delivered through many different platforms and devices. Managers in our industry constantly face pressure to produce more, higher-quality content in shorter periods of time, and with fewer resources than before. We are all pressured to do more with less.

However, at the same time these challenges are also an opportunity for media companies, giving them the ability to provide a wide range of content to consumers in a myriad of different ways. The challenge of fierce competition is also the opportunity for almost anyone to have a place in this industry. And because many consumers are signing up to several services, there is plenty more room than ever before, even for extremely niche content offerings.

However, all of this also means that there is a myriad of different media-centric workflows, depending on the content provider, the platforms, the type of content etc. For solution providers, this means there is increasing pressure to deliver flexible and efficient products that support the wide variety of workflows, whilst ensuring much needed security and reliability at all times so that precious content is not adversely affected. It is no longer enough to merely support flexible and dynamic models; today’s media solutions need flexible, service-oriented architectures that allow products to share a common technology base and ultimately be deployed anywhere in a load-balanced, high-availability fashion without compromising speed and reliability.

At NAB Las Vegas 2016, Glookast premiered the technology behind LiveOps, a convergence platform designed to allow multiple users to not only simultaneously allocate and manage 4K, UHD, HDR, and IP systems using a web-based interface, but also enable our customers to manage resource allocation between traditional scheduled feeds and live recordings, depending on current needs of the media enterprise, resulting in a more efficient use of resources. Furthermore, Glookast recently made the first shipment of media|producer, our distributed, high-availability, service-based ingest platform that enables efficient ingest of all major file-based formats, and allows dynamic ingest of media and metadata in diverse applications on premise, over the cloud, as well as in the field with or without direct connectivity to the rest of the production infrastructure.

Ultimately, as solution providers, we have an important role to play in helping to shape the future of the industry and enable content providers to concentrate on effectively producing the best content with the tools of their choosing.

4. How do you see market’s shift to IP based infrastructures?

IP has been a massive topic of discussion in the industry over recent months and years. Many industry pundits claim it is still years away from reality, however that is definitely no longer the case. IP is already widely used for distribution and it will be taking center-stage in live productions over the coming months and years. Essentially the technology already exists for full IP workflows and the main barrier is industry-wide adoption. As more and more examples emerge of IP done well, we will see more and more providers follow suit in order to maximize the cost and bandwidth efficiencies afforded by IP. I, for one, look forward to witnessing the next big shift in this industry.

Glookast is fully committed to supporting IP-based workflows. At NAB we showcased our Gloobox Capturer baseband ingest system ingesting SMPTE-2022-6 feeds into a production system with our known and proven multiple resolution, edit-while-ingest, multi-format, and multi-destination approach to ingesting. We are currently shipping solutions for IP-based ingest with IP-based ingest monitoring and control, keeping all features that have made the Gloobox product line so successful all over the world.

5. What are some of the new and exciting product / feature launches that we’ll be seeing from Glookast at IBC 2017, as well as in the near future post-IBC?

Glookast will showcase a brand-new web-based distributed ingest interface for media|producer that can be deployed on premise, in the field, on the cloud, or on any combination of environments. LiveOps, as a deployable service, will be launched with a new metadata management layer and more flexibility to control SDI and IP, SDR and HDR sources and dynamically allocate ingest resources between feeds and live ingest operations. Glooport media services have now gained a fresh web-based interface to manage and monitor background partial restore, parking, transcoding, and outgest jobs. Gloobox Capturer now includes a more flexible template management system for multi-format based workflows with mixed 4K/UHD/HD formats to multiple destinations. I am not at liberty to divulge future announcements post-IBC, however, I can offer some hints pertaining to distribution, replication, centralized management, and continuous recording coming up on the horizon. Stay tuned for future announcements in the coming months for the latest news from Glookast.

6. Finally, taking a look at Glookast’s slogan, what is meant by “solving the workflow puzzle”?

“Solving the workflow puzzle” is our guiding principle at Glookast. In fact, the name Glookast is essentially a play on words based on the idea that we are the “glue” for broadcast workflows. Our products enable the interoperability of multi-vendor solutions used in broadcast production workflows worldwide. We aspire to give our customers the ultimate freedom of choosing best-of-breed products from a variety of vendors and build a seamless, efficient, and reliable workflow for mission critical operations. We think of any given media workflow as a very dynamic process; therefore, we continue “solving the workflow puzzle” through constant interaction with our clients, thus allowing our engineering team to interact directly with end users, and ultimately enabling our company to formulate the best possible solutions that address the ever-changing pain points at media enterprises today.

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