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The State of Enterprise Video 2017

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Viz One is primarily geared toward the primary Vizrt broadcast graphics engines and includes a transcoder—called, simply, Coder—that offers broadcasters and enterprise live streaming customers a way to output device-adapted graphics streams. “[E]nsuring users relevant and beautiful graphics from their smartphone to their televisions[,] Coder is also compatible with most video-sharing platforms supporting RTMP ingest such as YouTube and Dailymotion,” the company claims on its website.

Coder includes several Vizrt tools and products, which cover different tasks—from tape ingest and video editing to branding and multiplatform delivery. The solution integrates with leading systems for nonlinear editing, scheduling, newsroom, playout, traffic, automation, analytics, and content delivery networks. Several mechanisms, such as APIs and event-based architecture, ensure smooth integration with your existing third-party systems.

Automation

Another key area that’s making strides is automation. This can be as simple as a watch folder for a transcoding engine, which automatically transcodes any content dragged into a specified folder that the transcoder “watches” for changes, or as complex as a live streaming master control system.

For instance, the MPEG-DASH example used earlier highlights the potential to add different types of encryption to VOD assets. This can be automated via the use of business logic tied to a content management system (CMS) in three specific steps.

“Once the CMS makes the file available to a transcoder, the transcoder outputs segmented files that can be encrypted,” the CPIX version 2.0 documentation states. “The encryption engine either generates the Content Keys or requests them from a DRM system.”

In turn, the DRM system provides a Protection System Specific Header (PSSH) box that is part of the base media file format (ISO BMFF) along with content protection elements to be added to the manifest file, known as the MPD, essentially a roadmap for the various resolution or data rates for adaptive bitrate (ABR) segmented files that will be played on an end-user’s device, with resolutions and data rates automatically chosen based on network congestion.

“When the encrypted DASH content is ready, the MPD is generated,” and the required DRM signaling is added in the manifest file before DASH content is uploaded by the CMS to a content delivery network (CDN).

The Viz One enterprise version, with an integrated MAM, for instance, can publish directly to a playlist or online platforms with the click of a button or predefined rule, which automates the largely monotonous or repetitive parts of the encoding, transcoding, and uploading steps.

Cloud or Hybrid?

The landscape looks quite different now than a year ago, at least when it comes to deciding between on-premise versus cloud-based solutions.

Initial capital outlay has been the attention grabber when it comes to cloud-based solutions. After all, if one is searching for a replacement for Silverlight or Active X or even Flash Player, there’s a fairly strong reason to consider cloud-based EVPs and their lower initial capital outlay. There’s a large capital expense (capex) cost in buying an on-premise EVP solution, even if the ongoing operational expenses (opex) would be lower.

Understandably, some enterprises still choose to keep their entire solution on-premise as a security measure. Consider an enterprise MAM or even an enterprise CDN (eCDN) to allow caching of content at various regional and satellite offices, including the option to prepopulate content to each location before making it available for use in digital signage, training, or even human resources testing scenarios.

One of the major differences in cloud-based solutions across the span of 2016 has been pricing of online storage. There are so many competitors in this market segment—from Box to Dropbox to Egnyte to Google Drive—that price per terabyte of online storage continues to be pushed down. In addition, online storage providers are tightly integrating to key applications, starting with apps like the Microsoft Office suite, but moving toward awareness of media files, thanks to the inherent metadata embedded in most VOD assets.

Truly understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) requires both an initial design and cost model for the on-premise EVP, and then a shopping list of features that are must-haves when requesting proposed pricing for various cloud-based EVPs and storage solutions.

A company I recently joined is engaged in this exercise in early 2017 for an enterprise customer, and it’s fascinating to see just how different pricing models are (e.g., role-based, file-based, overall-storage-based, and almost every variation of these three combined). Once we had the design in hand, the RFP process has gone much smoother than it would have if just a bullet list of features was handed to each potential vendor.

For those considering a hybrid solution, pay attention to what functions can be performed locally versus which ones must be performed in the cloud. Transcoding, for instance, may not be available at each enterprise location, or may have a significant charge associated with it, as hybrid vendors attempt to create recurring revenue opportunities by limiting on-premise functionality.

Mobility

The growth in 4K capable mobile devices, both for capture and playback of content, saw a marked upward turn in 2016. At the beginning of the year, very few smartphones have full HD screens, and fewer still have 4K-capable screens.

Today most tablets have full 1920x1080 or Ultra HD (3840x2160) resolutions. Even phones that don’t have a 4K screen are capable of capturing 4K content, so end users naturally expect they should be able to view their streamed content at these same highresolution settings.

Since most enterprise workforces are mobile, it’s important to know what your executives and key influencers carry with them on the road. If they’re sporting a newer 1080p or 4K screen, and they watch premium content (e.g., Netflix) at home at those resolutions, then your EVP needs to be able to deliver these same resolutions to the executive team.

That may mean a strong look at High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC or H.265) to offer at least 1080p at high dynamic range (HDR) and even low-end 4K data rates. Even if there’s not a way to deliver this to mobile devices in your enterprise, learning how to properly output content with the AVC (H.264) video codec will go a long way toward increasing the quality of your mobile end-user experience.

Conclusion

The seven areas we covered in this “State of Enterprise Video 2017” article are ones that saw significant change in the last year and will most impact the year to come. 

As we’ve challenged our readers before, be willing to get your hands on a workable solution before spending either capex or opex on a solution. This can be accomplished in a few ways. One way is to ask a potential vendor to mock up a working pilot project in order to win your business. Another is to ask vendors to point you toward customers who already use their solution, even if their existing customers have a solution that leverages other third-part SaaS or hybrid options.

Finally, consider coming to Streaming Media East in May in New York City, where we have hands-on demos set up to offer attendees a chance to try out several different solutions across various end-user devices. This is an easy way to allow you and members of your IT team to see several solutions in a very short period of time.

This article appears in the March 2017 issue of Streaming Media magazine

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