I think this will be my 15th or so NAB, and each year it’s both exciting and intriguing to see the Media & Entertainment industry shift, pivot and evolve. I love the newness that comes about: The investment patterns companies are making, and the start-ups showcasing the next great rounds of innovation. It is, in both nature and industry, the start of a new season — a new set of experiences.

For me, it’s mindful of that feeling the first time you could really ride your bike.  No more training wheels. Wind in your hair, the world at your finger-tips — as a kid, when you learned that you could just pedal away and explore.

When my daughter Tessa first learned to ride her bike, she hollered “Dad, I am free!” as she pedaled down our street, by herself, for the first time. Sure, it’s a great “dad memory,” but like so many nostalgic memories, it tells a bigger story. A story of balance.  Balance to operate the bicycle, of course, but also balancing the landscape of distance (“am I going too far away from home?”), and speed (“Tessa, you’re going too fast!”)

As I apply that thought, about balance, to NAB and our partner ecosystem, it’s a helpful parallel. We at Cisco are constantly trying to find that balance, between useful innovation and plausible industrialization. In media and entertainment terms, it’s a balance of our partner ecosystem — which can be challenging, to be sure. Ultimately, though, it’s both rewarding and impactful to collaborate with what is arguably the finest media partner ecosystem in the world, to help transform the media supply chain toward where it’s inevitably headed, to IP and cloud-based workflows. Here’s a few examples.

Innovation with Partners

Our booth this year is populated with more partners than ever, to showcase the full, end-to-end journey along the media supply chain — from content acquisition, and cameras from Sony and Grass Valley, to our IP Fabric for Media demo, with leaders including Imagine, Nevion, Lawo, and EVS, to name just a few.

To show what can happen with processing in GPU-enabled data centers, you’ll see what we’re working on with Nvidia; to shine the light on the cutting edge in transcoding and storage workflows, you’ll see what’s happening with partners like Scality.

To illustrate the breadth of innovation in virtualized production environments and hybrid orchestration applications, you’ll see the latest from Ross and Avid.

Innovation with Standards

The IP Showcase is a recurring feature at trade shows around the world, and especially IBC and NAB. Organized by standards bodies including the Audio Engineering Society (AES), the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®), and Video Services Forum (VSF), the IP Showcase has been instrumental in helping the industry to galvanize behind the standards-based approach to IP.

Happy to report that Cisco will once again be front and center at NAB, showcasing one of the largest IP Networking Interop demos for media—both in our booth and in the IP Showcase.

If nothing else is clear, in our booth and around this year’s NAB, I’m betting that we’re collectively pushing the innovation barrier faster and farther than ever before.

Industrialization Evidence

One of the biggest areas of need, when it comes to industrializing IP, is training. Specifically, IP Training.  I recently spoke at an event in Barcelona, and the #1 item broadcasters lamented was the need for skilled labor and training.

It’s something we’ve all been talking about for a while – how to match the skill sets vital to broadcast engineering with the skill sets vital in IT — but it’s becoming even more important as more and more IP-related media projects come online. Integrators and ecosystem partners alike seek advanced technology training, so as to make IP based workflows even better.

Partner programs represent a success benchmark throughout Cisco, and the media and entertainment sector is no different. In general, partners of all types seek ways to showcase their investments, capabilities and bench strength. We’re offering a basic class and an advanced class, depending on the informational and training needs of our customers and partners.

Specific to media and entertainment partners, last year we launched the IP Fabric for Media Authorization program, which generated substantial interest from our media and IT channel partners. In particular, our colleagues at WWT and Diversified Systems were the first to receive this distinction.  The IP Fabric for Media solution provided a roadmap for their personnel to learn how to design, sell and implement IP Fabric for Media Solutions.

To wrap this up – and just like riding a bike screaming down a hill as a kid with everything in front of you requiring balance – we’re doing the same here, with our partner ecosystem at Cisco.  Balancing innovation and industrialization throughout the media supply chain. Here are a couple additional resources and Pro Tips that you can put to work immediately:

Thanks for indulging me with the “dad memory,” and I look forward to seeing you in Vegas!



Bryan Bedford

Global Industry Director: Retail, Hospitality, Sports, Media and Entertainment

Global Partner Organization