It’s April, and that means it’s time to pack back out to Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters convention, scheduled for the last week of the month. And because we’ve lots to talk about, and you probably have limited time, I’m motivated to keep this one tight.

I’ll start with the most important part: Last year at NAB, we unveiled our Media Blueprint. This year, customers are attaching to it. Strongly. They’re attaching to it because it helps them transition their production, post, and distribution workflows to the cloud and Internet Protocol (IP) — without having to jack up existing workflows.

Our plan all along, with the Media Blueprint, was to approach the market as a partner, to our customers, to the ecosystem, even to traditional competitors. Glad to report – it’s working! We’ll share more details closer to the show, but read on for the background, what we’re demoing at the show, and where to find us when we’re not in our booth. Which, by the way, is SU8502CM.

Quick refresher: The Media Blueprint contains the stuff specifically needed by broadcasters and content providers as they (you!) make that daunting-but-doable, triple-whammy transition to 1) cloud-based, 2) viewer-driven, and 3) over-the-top-styled … video. Television. Media. Whatever we’re calling it these days!

Evidence that the triple-whammy transition is ON is fairly clear, even just looking back at what’s transpired from the 2016 NAB. For starters, and on the cloud/IP front, our latest Global Cloud Index indicates that 64% of cloud data center traffic will be video and storage by 2020.

But that’s just us. Marketplace indicators came in line strongly, too, toward a shift to cloud: Netflix shuttered its last data centers, moving the entirety of its infrastructure to cloud. And, a growing roster of networks (NBCU, and Disney) are both moving to cloud and IP infrastructure, for broadcasting and distribution.

On the viewer-driven front, networks continued to innovate in ways that get them directly to viewers … take the BBC’s release of Planet Earth … on Snapchat, or NFL games streaming on… Amazon. That lines up with the 8.4 billion connected video devices that’ll be in our world by 2021, (and here I’m quoting our latest Mobile Visual Networking Index.)

Short version: If it has a screen, it’s a TV.

Unquestionably, the stars are aligning. Our part of it will be to show how content creators, broadcasters, and the whole NAB aficionado scene can move live media production to IP, while preserving quality, reliability and existing workflows. We’ll show you how our customers today are running live production on our IP Fabric, which means, yes, they stepped away from their traditional production infrastructure.

We’ll show how content distribution can migrate from satellite to a less expensive, far more powerful all-IP infrastructure. We’ll show how they can do so much more stuff so much faster, just by virtualizing and using a cloud-based media production environment. All while building in multi-layered approaches to security against cyber-threats and piracy.

We’ll be showing all of these lofty-sounding goals with demos of our products in action — and by that I mean in action, as in, not slideware or lists of nifty ideas. I’ll draw your attention to three in particular:

  • If you only have time for one “thing to see” in our booth, make it our next-gen data center, which, will showcase the efficiency and speed of virtualizing things like news and live sports production, or spinning up a 4K production pipeline, on cloud infrastructure. You can do this!
  • If bandwidth frugality with super-granular content quality metrics are on your to-see list, you’ll want to take a look at our latest smart-streaming approach, which preserves bandwidth and video quality with intelligent controls and aforementioned metrics. (In other words, our super-cool Virtual DCM.)
  • For the security-minded, we’ll be showing real-time detection and elimination of online piracy, informed by data science and machine learning. We call it Streaming Piracy Prevention. It’s all about addressing OTT service credential theft/sharing.

You also don’t want to miss the opportunity to experience #FaceOff at our booth at NAB. In partnership with Syfy, we’ll be live-broadcasting the Face Off makeup artists as they bring new, creative movie characters to life. Come by to see cast members from this season’s All-Star competition showcase their skills — over our IP infrastructure, of course.

And, of course, my Cisco colleagues will be participating in a bunch of sessions — probably too many to list in a blog I promised to be tight. If I could draw your attention to just one of them, it’d definitely be David Ward, our CTO, on a super session titled “The Naked Truth About Media Production In an IT Stack” — and not just because he’ll be there with MIT legend Andrew Lippman, as well as Jim Blakle, GM of Intel’s Visual Cloud Division. Mark that one down (described in the conference materials as a “Super Session”) for Tuesday, April 25 from noon to 1.

The rest of the time, we’ll be over at the Connected Media IP Theater; you can find that schedule here.

And that’s it for my supposedly-brief walk through of what Cisco’s doing at this year’s NAB Show! Hey. There’s a lot going on, and that’s good. Hope to see you there! We are in SU8502CM.


George Tupy

Market Manager

Service Provider, Video Solutions