Transitioning from appliance to software-based technology

Transitioning from appliance to software-based technology

By Narayanan Rajan, VP Global Channel Partner Sales, MediaKind May 11, 2021 | 3 min read
4K, 8K, Broadcast, Broadcasters

As Matt McConnell surmised on these pages five months ago, I think we were all glad to put 2020 into the closet for good. Our focus now is to concentrate fully on the micro and macro challenges that lie ahead for our customers and partners at both a regional and global level. There are several pressing items in the CTO in-tray at this time, but three remain particularly pertinent as we look to a future beyond the pandemic. I’d like to shed a little light on them.

Broadcasters require flexible on-ramp to IP

Transitioning to IP and the cloud was top of the broadcaster’s must-do lists in 2019, and the events of 2020 have only reinforced this trend. Most broadcasters have already embarked on transforming at least part of their video production workflow to IP-based technology, with data from a new Haivision report indicating that the pandemic has accelerated the transition for around three quarters (71%) of them.

The report also reveals that budget squeezes are hampering some plans to migrate, even while the business benefits of doing so are understood. These benefits are predicated on the ability for media organizations to migrate at their pace to software-defined deployments, taking account of legacy infrastructure. This means offering them technology that is flexible to their business needs by being ready to deploy on the underlying infrastructure of their choice: virtualized machines, dedicated hardware, or native cloud – or, crucially, a combination.

MediaKind offers broadcasters a flexible on-ramp from dedicated appliance to software-based toolsets. This migration provides numerous financial benefits, including internal operational efficiencies, faster time-to-market feature upgrades, and pay-per-use operating models.

Pressure to deliver UHD will grow

I think it’s fair to say we’ve all been streaming video in overload these past months. Entertainment services offered a much-needed escape from the challenges of the pandemic, and news services provided essential updates on key global developments. That demand for content created a desire to upgrade the viewing experience, translating into a sharp rise in sales of TVs. In Q3 of 2020, 62.9 million displays were sold worldwide – making it the highest-ever third quarter result for TV set unit sales, according to research firm Omdia. The bulk of these displays (58.6%) were capable of 4K UHD.

But the more saturated the market becomes with 4K, the more likely it is that 8K UHD TVs will rise with the tide. Strategy Analytics forecasts sales north of 1 million 8K TVs this year, with this number expected to quadruple by 2022. By 2025, it predicts North American households alone will own 25 million 8K TVs and that by 2030 8K sets will be as mainstream as 4K TVs are today. According to the analyst firm, demand for larger screens will likely drive TV panel manufacturers to switch entire production lines over to 8K as soon as it makes financial sense.

It’s incredible that we are talking of 4K – let alone 8K – when many of the world’s broadcasters are overwhelmingly producing and delivering content for SD channels. Nonetheless, CTOs have to strategize many years ahead. Software-defined technology solutions running on COTS hardware over IP is the only way this evolution makes financial sense. Transporting, manipulating, processing, storing, and playing out video from the cloud, even for live content, is beginning to take off. We have to be ready to support the broadcaster’s engineering, IT, and financial teams to make this crucial next move.

Enterprise video is a target market

Perhaps the most enduring impact of COVID-19 on our lives will be the permanent shake-up of the working environment. With the need for effective communication, more and more organizations were already transforming their operations by leveraging digital and mobile work-anywhere trends. Now, the use of video to connect, educate, train, sell and build teams in the corporate world has never been higher. The latest Video in Business Benchmark report from Vidyard charts a 135% increase in the number of videos created at work or for business last year.

While much of this is user-generated (60% per the survey), the most common types of business-created videos are product demos, explainers, and webinars. The growth of enterprise video has been notable too, which shares many of the same characteristics and technology needs as broadcast. CEOs want broadcast quality, often live and at scale, to reach thousands of employees. In the past year, this has entailed remote distributed production.

The market for enterprise video was valued at $16.20 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $48.37 billion by 2026 – that’s a staggering 20% annual growth. Even if most of this remains at the user-generated video conference end of the market, there is a huge opportunity for MediaKind and our partners to take our solutions to these customers.

MediaKind’s Channel Partner Program provides impactful go-to-market tools, support, and marketing development funds, as well as access to the insights of one of the most extensive R&D and Innovation teams in this space. If you’d like to learn more about how MediaKind can help you take your market forward with best-of-breed media solutions, get in touch!

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