Cloud computing predicted to increase in popularity

With the growth of connected computing devices expected to reach 22 billion within the next decade, there will be a greater need for video professionals to move their data to cloud-based services. You can count TV broadcasters among those users.

A new GfK Business and Technology survey presented at the CTIA Wireless show in New York City, found that nearly half of all consumers are aware of the cloud. But, only 9 percent fully understand it and its inherent benefits, including cost savings and more operational flexibility.

Cloud computing is used to describe applications and services hosted and run on servers connected to the Internet that end users do not have to maintain or support. For example, Chyron offers broadcasters its AXIS graphics platform, a cloud-based service that cuts hardware and staffing costs and streamlines graphics creation. The company said graphics can be finished and sent to air within minutes.

Used by a number of broadcast groups, including Fox, Gannett Broadcasting, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Scripps, Chyron’s cloud-based services include high-resolution maps, 3D charts, financial quotes and a virtually unlimited set of tools for topical news graphics production. The staff is supplied with prebuilt templates that they can use to quickly create graphics for multiple outlets, including websites, mobile devices and print publications. Individual stations within a group can also share graphics created from a centralized location.

In another example, Vidyo has launched VidyoCast, a suite of broadcast products and services for TV networks and stations to employ cloud-based services. VidyoCast offers software and hardware to provide SD/HD video transport, remote contribution, ENG, sports production, master control backup and disaster recovery. It also integrates into existing broadcast infrastructure and workflow.

There is a wide selection of components in the VidyoCast system. The VidyoEncoder/Decoder adds network-aware adaptive optimization to enable high video quality through a given IP connection. It is available in a point-to-point configuration or in conjunction with an enterprisewide multicast control system. VidyoNetReturn receives return feeds from the station back to field operations such as a satellite truck. VidyoTransmission provides professional broadcasting encoders and decoders with SD/HD-SDI or analog interfaces for backhauls and feed distribution to/from local affiliate stations. It includes a point-to-multipoint feature for TV network and subnetwork distribution and optional encryption. VidyoContinuity provides backup for satellite and fiber-optic feeds. VidyoMCR is a cloud-based master control backup, while Zone Control provides traffic interface, schedule execution and path redundancy for MCR backup. A local, remote or data center origination feature is also included.

Cloud-based computing has also stimulated the rapid growth of mobile computing devices. As 4G data networks begin to roll out over the next year, consumers will need to access greater amounts of data across all of their connected devices, which may have limited storage capabilities.

As cloud computing spreads to consumers (Amazon, Apple and Google all offer remote data storage services), the prices will fall for all users, both consumer and professional. The latest in the news is Amazon’s Cloud Drive service, which allows customers to store digital files, such as music, on its servers for retrieval from computers and mobile devices. The service will give customers 5GB of storage for free.

“Consumers are now facing similar challenges once only faced by enterprises in needing to securely manage massive amounts of data,” said Rob Barrish, senior vice president of GfK Business & Technology. “When rolling out cloud-based services, it will be important for marketers to keep in mind that consumers want to be able to access content on all of their devices across multiple platforms.”

There’s also the issue of trust.

“Because security of the data within the cloud is the biggest concern across all age groups, marketers need to address this up front when communicating the benefits of using cloud-based apps and services,” Barrish said. “There’s also an overall need for greater education about the cloud in order to move consumers from general understanding to active utilization.”