Picture yourself as the guy at the big trade show who works for a well-known technology company, yet is representing (for them) a relatively new line of video technologies. He’s there amongst 54,999 others, who work for or with storied and legendary broadcast video giants: Grass Valley, a Belden Brand. Riedel. Imagine Communications. Sony. EVS.
If you’re a dog person, you’ll understand this analogy: It’s like being somewhere between puppy and dog, amidst an established and alpha-heavy pack. Me (pun intended): “We can get you to all-IP really, really fast! IP everywhere!” Them (in an Alec Baldwin voice): “Heh. Pack a lunch, kid. It’s gonna take you all day.” Or (Sam Elliot voice: “Uh-huh. You got the talkin’ part done.” Or (Kathleen Turner): “You’re cute, pup.”
That guy is us, collectively, at Cisco. But in the fullness of time, pack order tends to sort itself out. And yes, the title is a tacit nod to the (very cheery) Jackie Wilson tune. You work hard, you do what you say you’re going to do, and eventually, you start feeling the love; knowing that your mission is real, and it’s working, and people are signing on.
Which brings me to the point of this blog (there is one, I promise, stay with me!), which is to update the IBC-interested on Cisco’s commitment to the broadcast and production parts of the video world. (For the IBC-neutral, the conference is a lightning rod for technology leaders in media and entertainment, from production to broadcast to distribution.)
On the news side, we’ve formalized our strategic relationship with Grass Valley. (A colleague asked me: “What does ‘formalize’ mean?” I said, it means real work happened, a lot of lawyers were involved, and ink is on paper…!)
And, we’ve substantially committed to invest in the Alliance for IP Media Solutions, or AIMS — a relatively new consortium (formed in December 2016) “led by broadcast engineers, technologists, visionaries, vendors and business executives dedicated to an open-standards approach that moves broadcast and media companies quickly and profitably from legacy SDI systems to a virtualized, IP-based environment,” to quote copy directly from the website.
(Speaking of AIMS website copy, I should disclose that in February, I was appointed Deputy to the AIMS Marketing Group, with Andy Warman, my colleague over at Harmonic, as Marketing Group Chair. My own “deputy dawg,” Cooper, finds the title highly amusing.)
AIMS will be a big deal at IBC — I’d even go so far as a very big deal, if you’re into what could plausibly be called the world’s biggest plug fest. It’s an AIMS-developed gathering of 50 or so like-minded participants, coming together under one roof to show that the end-to-end, open sourced, software-defined, cloud-enabled world of IP can be reliably and securely applied to broadcast and entertainment video. Aptly, it’s all happening in an area of RAI called the “IP Interoperability Zone.” (Geek out with us, sisters and brothers! 😉
Here’s how this all came to pass, in the first place: For the last 18 months, we’ve been laser-focused on bringing the many benefits of IP-based technologies media and entertainment video. We deliberately chose a partnership approach, because even though the broadcast/production sector was a green field for us, we were nonetheless the new kids.
We came to the 2015 NAB show with a certification program for independent software vendors (ISVs) — among them Adobe Systems, Elemental Technologies, Grass Valley, Harmonic, Imagine Communications, among (many) others.
One year forward, we launched the Cisco Media Blueprint, a set of infrastructure and software solutions designed and built specifically for the Media & Entertainment industry. Oh, and we helped power the Olympics with it. Which was super cool.
Then came our participation in a multi-vendor proof-of-concept for 42 Mediatvcom and France Televisions, to vet the notion of broadcasters interconnecting their studios, end-to-end, using open source components, in IP.
We did it because our collective customers increasingly expect vendors that are open-source-savvy and highly collaborative — even if the collaboration is with a competitor. Happily, such directives are technologically easier because of the many virtues of IP, and that continues to be true.
So — If all of this isn’t evidence that Cisco does content creation, for real — in an open sourced, collaborative, customer-focused and partner-centric way, I don’t know what is. See you in the Zone!