Recently I had the great opportunity to host and moderate Cisco’s most recent Media Roundtable in Barcelona, Spain in conjunction with Cisco Live EMEAR with over 30 attendees. During this event we had representation from some of the leading European Media organizations and partners including the likes of the BBC, Sony, France Television, SIC, Telefonica, Videlio, TF1, Dorna, Arqiva, Radio France, and Talpa TV along with our team at Cisco in attendance. At this session we started to uncover how IP is transforming the Media Supply Chain in ways that are affecting their business in three areas: Business Transformation, Technology Transformation and Operational Transformation or collectively what we at Cisco call “Digital Transformation”. Let me dig into some of that discussion and some insights I gathered.
To set some context to the discussion we focused on the initial entry into the Media Supply Chain by focusing on the SDI to IP Transition or what many think of as the area of the Media Supply Chain focused on the live or near live acquisition of content. This is an area that has had lots of visibility over the past two years with the introduction of new industry standards and trade groups, new technology solutions, new facilities being built, and new ways of thinking all while the needs of the staff to operate and execute this are changing dramatically.
The key theme expressed during the discussion was that these media organizations are thinking about flexibility and use cases for manipulating the content that they now will have at their hands in far greater ways than ever before in the Media & Entertainment industry. Some shared feedback that they were hyper focused on how IP would allow for new channels or digital channels for distribution and the revenue models to support that similar to how Canal + explains it in this video. There was also interest and opinions in the role of the industry standards bodies in terms of how they are incorporating formats and whether those apply or not to their real life situations. Some interesting debates on that specific topic for sure! Some discussed how IP could offer flexibility to their environments and impact staffing, facilities and such. Regardless it was clear that the move to IP creates some opportunities and goals that many are still trying to uncover.
Much of the discussion was around how to monitor and operate an IP Fabric environment. Monitoring, flows, security and automation all bubbled up during the discussion but as we progressed the discussion we drilled into how this technology transformation was forcing the need for full interoperability between the Media and Broadcast Ecosystem Partners and folks like Cisco who provide the network and security aspects of these systems and innovation needed. This “open interop” and “expanded partner ecosystem” has proven to be a hallmark of our strategy within Cisco’s Media and Entertainment strategy and this roundtable reinforced that direction. The key now is to see how the industry keeps up and evolves to meet the demands of the content providers.
This was an unexpected area of discussion, in which many of the customers and partners shared with us the challenges they have around workforce needs, training, and skilled labor needed by their own staff as well as the staffs of the ecosystem partners and systems integrators. It was clear that more awareness to training programs such as Cisco’s IP Fabric for Media basic and advanced training are needed and desired by the market. We also shared that Cisco is working hard to “industrialize” the media ecosystem by creating programs and incentives to create consistent delivery partners of these systems through the IP Fabric for Media Partner Authorization Program. Here partners have a way to distinguish themselves as a trusted advisor to deliver these systems by investing in labs, training and ecosystem interoperability and thus Cisco’s ability to recommend them to the market. Partners like Diversified Systems and WWT have already received their badge for this distinction but it was clear that we need to get more partners around the world to leverage this type of program to ensure successful project delivery.
In all, it was clear that transitioning to IP is top of mind for Media organizations due to the abundance of benefits it can bring however this transition also brings many concerns therefore there is a need to work together with the right partners and systems integrators to make the transition more seamless and effective. To find out more about what Cisco’s Media & Entertainment strategy and the Cisco Media Blueprint click here.