Flexibility with security is the key to successful media evolution

Flexibility with security is the key to successful media evolution

By Ben Jones, Senior Segment Manager, MediaKind September 23, 2022 | 2 min read
Content Provider, Contribution Encoder, Low Latency, Media Delivery

Many of live broadcasting’s critical requirements haven’t changed at all. Reliability and resiliency against disruption are a given, as is the need to continually improve quality while supporting more platforms. However, recently, flexibility – and increasingly security – are now edging onto the list of absolute must-haves. The latest iteration of MediaKind’s edge devices delivers several new features that exemplify why flexibility is critical for the modern streaming environment. It also highlights why security needs to seamlessly extend across the entire end-to-end media delivery workflow as a core component, not just an afterthought.

Building agility into streaming workflows

Streaming workflows are not all built the same – and for good reason. The historical infrastructure of the content provider, target distribution platforms, and even geographic necessity will have a major impact on media workflow design. Cost is a key factor, but issues like available connectivity, remote production, and duration of the production all have roles to play. A pop-up event or short tournament will have a distinct set of requirements compared to a recurring seasonal event like a sporting league.

This means that content producers must become more agile. And the underlying contribution and distribution technologies must be able to adapt as the circumstances require. This ethos is one of the reasons for the sharp and rapidly growing adoption of the cloud. Yet flexibility is only feasible if the technological parts of the media workflow can seamlessly integrate. This is why adding Zixi protocol support alongside our existing Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) option is a significant addition to our MK CE1 and MK RX1 appliances.

Welcome Zixi

Although proprietary, the Zixi protocol has become an industry standard alongside its sibling SRT. Its ability to support multicast, bonding, and bitrate adaption are all capabilities that are incredibly useful for creating robust media workflows. When you add DTLS and AES encryption, Zixi offers a set of options to deliver secure, low latency, and reliable media operations.

Adding this support gives our customers more options around how they want to build a workflow. And the ability to quickly change direction. Another example is the recent addition to our MK CE1 media contribution encoder that now sports an enhanced user interface and automation for SMPTE ST 2110 connectivity with Networked Media Open Specifications (NMOS) discovery and control.  The rationale is the same as our addition of Zixi support – making it easier for our customers to adapt without having to rip and replace critical hardware.

Security by design

Security mustn’t be overlooked in an era where more organizations are utilizing the public internet and moving content through third parties with limited control. MediaKind’s MK RX1 receiver and media gateway solution now includes enhanced security with 128-bit rotating keys while maintaining the technology’s traditional key values. This is further enhanced by over-the-air control and lifecycle management. This ability to automatically change encryption keys adds an extra layer of protection – and fits with the ongoing narrative of end-to-end security by design.

In the quest for flexibility and seamless integration, security can become a burden if it’s not thoughtfully built into every element along the chain.

The addition of Zixi is part of an ongoing strategy to continually enhance the MK Edge portfolio to support emerging technologies across both proprietary and open-source alternatives.  We recognize that media companies want to design workflows that suit their needs – and not be forced into a fixed technological path based on what suits the supplier community.

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