Brace for a thriving, lets-go vibe at this week’s National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, as the leaders in television, media and entertainment solidify their respective entries into the cloud-based, Internet Protocol-heavy, viewer-focused scene.
Why is someone from Cisco making that observation? Because over the last year, we’ve worked really, really hard to build industrial trust in our Media Blueprint. That means working across the broadcast and media ecosystem, from associations, to systems integrators, hardware suppliers, and solution providers, or as we call them independent software vendor (ISV).
I’m glad to report that the work is paying off — very nicely, and thanks to many of you. I’ll get to that. First, though, I want to make sure we’re all aligned on what it means to our collective broadcast, media and content-side customers.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but think about your car. When you bought it, you didn’t really care who built the windshield, or the transmission, or any of the many constituent parts that combine to make an automobile. You bought it for the brand, or the features, or the curb appeal.
In a sense, our Media Blueprint represents “the parts” that are helping the media marketplace make that mission-critical shift to IP and video cloud. After all, IP is where we “Cisco” live, and where we’ve always lived, since the very beginning of “the Internet.” Building video clouds is also something we know, very well, because we’ve built and supported lots of them (understatement!) over the years. (In the broadcast/media industry, most key players are first-timers, when it comes to moving to IP and cloud. We are not — and that’s in large part why we’re here.)
We don’t want to “build the car,” so to speak. We want to provide the parts, the experience, and, ultimately, the confidence that so many in this established and venerable ecosystem really need — maybe because they hail from the “traditional world” of broadcast video, and need the IP/cloud bits; maybe because they’re used to relying on channel partners.
Speaking of channels — which I’m defining here as “who we transact business through,” not “give me the clicker please” — please forgive me if I sound like I’m boasting. Truth is truth, and our channels are huge and wide. Fun fact: We transact nearly 95% of our business through roughly 70,000 channel partners. In addition to our traditional channel we also have a rich solution perfect for our industry ecosystem to create those cars I spoke of as part of our Solution Partner Program which counts over 1,500 participants today. Channels don’t make for an entire ecosystem, obviously, but they’re one of the assets we bring to the table — in a way few others can.
Again – the point here isn’t to brag. Far from it! We came here last year with a new plan, a Media Blueprint. We swung for the fences to socialize it with partners throughout the media ecosystem. I mean, we are working on so many integrations and customer deployments and commercial relationships — it’s almost a blur. Like who? Like Grass Valley, Presidio, EVS, Lawo, Imagine, Evertz, WWT, Intel … and that’s a partial list.
Because of those (fabulous!) partners, we know one thing for sure, when it comes to what our collective customers want, at this year’s NAB and beyond: They want their broadcast operations to continue along, unchanged; no swapping out consoles or workflows. They’re attaching to us and our esteemed partners because they’re confident that we’ve moved forward, as a group, to support the transition to IP and cloud in a way that’s interoperable and proven.
Here’s a proof point, with more to come: Vivendi Subsidiary CANAL+ announced here that they are working with us to transform their new “Content Factory” to an IP foundation and accelerate live production from their studios. It’s an all-IP infrastructure transformation, in partnership with Grass Valley (production systems) and Videlio (systems integration) for the SDI-to-IP migration. (Love it!)
Further proof: Last month, at our San Jose facilities, we hosted an interoperability event (proclaimed a success by its participants!) involving third party systems, and our Cisco IP Fabric for Media. It was all about enabling our partners (and to-be partners) to work with the open, standards-based API for our Data Center Network Manager — in essence, our SDN controller.
Attendees included networking companies, broadcast vendors, and end-point vendors from across the industry. The group tested 24 test cases with three switch vendors, two broadcast controllers, three end-point vendors, and a registration/discovery service. It was useful, helpful, and actionable — my favorites.
What does all of this mean to you, as you’re walking the NAB Show floor this week? Plain and simple: It’s time to stop answering “I don’t know,” when asked what supplier strategy you’re considering for The Big Shift to IP. First of all, there’s no longer a need to tie up to one provider. You asked us (all!) to be less monolithic, and we listened. Secondly, the partners you seek are those deeply experienced in IP, and have a proven track record in working with your existing technology suppliers. I’ll let you connect the dots from there….come by and see us! We are in SU8502CM.