ADAM Systems' ADAM-1000

The ADAM-1000 desktop system is able to generate and distribute final image, audio and video products quickly and cost effectively.

Broadcasters increasingly find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Facing stiff competition, they have a growing need to differentiate and improve their offerings. At the same time, they are confronting mounting fiscal pressures and government edicts to adopt HDTV. To cope with this predicament, broadcasters need faster, cheaper and more effective ways of creating, repurposing and handling valuable digital rich media content, also called digital assets.

A new-generation digital asset management solution, based on a scalable desktop platform, has been created to address this challenge. Called the ADAM-1000, it can be inserted economically into broadcast operations to accelerate, automate and control the receipt, cataloging, management, tracking, creation, processing, duplication and distribution of digital content.

Advances made in the computing, storage and digital asset transformation realm have been leveraged into an affordable, desktop-sized media processing and management engine that is built upon the core software functionality found in high-end digital asset management solutions. This system offers broadcast operations personnel the ability to generate and distribute final image, audio and video products quickly and cost effectively. Streamlined file cataloging, central control of access rights and collaborative processing across multiple departments improve workflow and minimize costs by reducing the number of promotional shorts, print ads, digital masters and supporting collateral that have to be duplicated and distributed.

Figure 1. The ADAM-1000 is able to generate and distribute final image, audio and video products quickly and cost effectively. Click here to see an enlarged diagram.

The management system co-hosts Unix and Windows operating systems, and can manage more than 10,000TB of digital assets in any combination of online, near-line and offline storage. It can support legacy video technology found in many broadcast facilities using interfaces such as SDI, Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, SCSI, USB and ATM. Its application Web client interface is certified to work with Internet Explorer and Netscape on Windows and Mac. Further qualified storage components include equipment from Ampex, StorageTek, IBM and Sony, among others.

The system can ingest and distribute MPEG-1, MPEG-2, QuickTime, RealMedia, Windows Media, JPEG, TIFF and more. Composite NTSC and PAL also are supported. The ADAM-1000 also can be tailored to suit specific workflow and user interface needs and is adaptable to changes in formats and standards. Multiple users can access the system via a Web-based browser, in real time and regardless of location. Editors, producers and other creative personnel have the ability to access a central database of application software and pre-approved digital assets. This gives instant access to all authorized personnel looking for that perfect image or clip, eliminates re-shoots and duplicates, and dramatically shortens the feedback cycle from the creative and legal side — resulting in a quick ROI.

The system also is designed with customizable browser-based graphical user interfaces and a modular architecture. This allows each facility, network or affiliate to have a custom-designed interface that is instantly recognizable to its staff — shortening the learning curve. The extensive design uses a mix of data formats, with the option to add new formats at any time. Database fields are Unicode-based, allowing users to choose character sets from several different languages. The ADAM team can tailor each solution to the precise client needs for ingest rate, storage capacity, retrieval speed and simultaneous networked users, as well as to accommodate software tools that need to be integrated at the client end.

Another concern of the broadcast industry is providing secure partitioned storage of its virtual repositories. The asset management system incorporates comprehensive multi-level security schemes, which include control and monitoring of user privileges, workstation access, system administration, and product distribution. In addition, the administrative controls include security logs that track and permanently record each and every transaction, file retrieval or distribution. Distribution can be controlled by rules limiting export of files according to predetermined classification categories.

Broadcasters are focusing on preserving their brand-related assets — whether they be promotional spots, collateral, vintage clips or old films. The system allows the user to indefinitely preserve digitized assets, even if they are seldom or no longer used. In the digital domain, the assets may be retrieved for on-air playout, replicated or repurposed to help generate additional revenue streams. This not only creates a centralized repository of content that can be repurposed and re-used indefinitely, but also assures a quicker time to market — a needed edge in today’s competitive world.

As the broadcast industry moves toward automated, shared processing and storage solutions for digitized media, there will be a need for cheaper, faster and better digital asset management architectures that provide multi-level security, advanced processing, and efficient access to file types by remote and local users. Digital asset processing and management technology will become a crucial element in posting content for initial release or distribution, repurposing that content to exploit its intrinsic value, and finally, preserving it for future generations. The goal of any digital asset management solution is to intelligently retrieve and distribute the right digital media file in the right format to the right place at the right time — paving the way to cost savings associated with streamlined workflows and opening up new avenues of revenue generation. The ADAM-1000 is a step in the right direction.

Miriam Buzi is a senior vice president of ADAM Systems Group of Advanced Software Resources.

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