Man, am I excited about this year’s NAB! I’m serious. Telling a technological story that involves phrases like “driving adoption of IP and cloud-based workflows within the media supply chain” isn’t the easiest thing to get excited about, as you may have guessed (or experienced yourself.) But! The experience we’re putting together inside the Cisco booth is unlike anything we’ve attempted before. So, before the show starts, I wanted to give you a sneak peek.

It’s crafted as a 7-part journey that starts with a digital caricaturist – as in, come in, sit down, and let our on-site artist create a digital portrait of you, or you and a friend. While you’re being captured, you’ll see what could happen, if it was your likeness that was being recorded on two, professional-grade cameras, contributed by our friends at Grass Valley and Sony. That’s to set up the first step in the booth journey – content acquisition, where the content is, in theory … you.

The next section of the booth journey lets you experience how Cisco is helping to transform legacy SDI infrastructure with scalable, intelligent IP infrastructure, including real-time flow analytics – essentially, content moving as uncompressed SDI and/or SMPTE 2110 sources. To illustrate how Cisco’s IP Fabric for Media solution is integrated with market-leading broadcast controllers from ecosystem partners such as Grass Valley, Lawo, Imagine and Nevion, we’ll collaboratively manage and switch those uncompressed sources to the next stop in the both journey. (Pro tip: Watch how signal integrity is maintained and monitored, throughout the workflow. Super cool.)

From there, you’ll go to the Virtualization Station. It’s where we take you over-the-top! Area 3 will showcase our data center compute platform doing its thing to compress, edit and distribute over-the-top (OTT) content. Again, and from a partner ecosystem point of view, we’ll be using industry-leading solutions from Synamedia and Avid, as well as Telestream’s stream monitoring software, to make sure digitally-compressed video gets to the next stage without harm.

Of course, no media supply chain journey today would be complete without a stop for playout and storage. Area 4, in Cisco-speak, is what we call the scalable, hybrid cloud for media workflows. It’s about how you can model any application and deploy it, on-premise and in the cloud. The emphasis is on how to use your infrastructure more efficiently, and migrate workloads to where they make the most sense to run, with secure changes in workload handled dynamically.  From a partner ecosystem point of view, we will be demonstrating Imagine’s virtualized Versio playout platform and Scality’s software-based Scale-Out storage solution on Cisco’s modular UCS storage platform.

Area 5 is where you’ll see our Media Data Center in action. It’s a prepackaged, turn-key, hardware+software solution that enables you to move live media production from dedicated hardware appliances, to a virtualized data center, orchestrated to maximize flexibility, cost efficiency and agility. In this section of the booth, we’ll show an immediate use case wherein our media and entertainment customers can use IPFM, compute and storage — with Mellanox NICs, nVidia’s GPUs and Ross VM-based virtual production software, called “XPression” — all integrated within Cisco’s Hyperflex data center solution, orchestrated using Cloud Center.

None of this matters if we cannot optimize content consumption. As media companies move content consumption to applications, their revenue growth or defense of it depends on consumers’ application experience and compelling content.  The latter is within their control.  However, applications depend on flexible infrastructure that runs flawlessly to provide the best user experience.  Buffering, slow response and error-prone applications will frustrate consumers even before they get to enjoy the content.  Area 6 showcases how our “full stack” AppD application performance monitoring tools let you see how your applications are performing – which, as a very direct result, provides a way to make changes that drive the kinds of positive customer experiences that deliver business success.

The ability to “collaborate anywhere” is key to any media supply chain process. The way we’ll show how that works is by reviewing real-time content — with collaborative messaging, meetings and white boarding, designed to get that content to the screens that will display it, super-fast. Specifically, Area 7 of the booth journey will feature two 55” WebEx boards that can be put to use to directly interact with content files, host whiteboard discussions, and both save and forward whiteboarded content. The gist of it is that you can be highly engaged with your colleagues, to tweak/adjust/fine-tune your creation, no matter how many thousands of miles away they are, and by using our high quality video telepresence conferencing solutions.

Lastly, to finish the booth journey, you’ll wind up at a Mission Control Wall, in the center of the booth. Picture nine 55” screens, in a 3×3 configuration, powered by our best-in-class CiscoVision digital signage solution. Here, you’ll see various customer testimonials, and mission-critical dashboards that monitor and help run media workflows efficiently. It’s where the entire solution with Cisco and our ecosystem partners comes together.

You’ll also have an opportunity to meet with members of the Learning@Cisco team,  and explore how to build and expand your employees’ foundational knowledge around Internet Protocol solutions, IPFM, data center, security and more. It’s all about strengthening the IP-centric digital skills that are vital to a broadcast and IT workforce which will continue to innovate and reimagine workflows of the future.

So: How cool is that? It’s going to be a fun NAB 2019 in Vegas. Come join us and share in the excitement!


Robert Covington

Systems Engineering Manager

Global Service Provider