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Masstech Expands Focus to Content Management

(Image credit: Masstech)

WHITELEY, U.K.—The past year has seen a major transformation for Masstech, a U.K.-based provider of technology solutions to the M&E market, according to George Kilpatrick, who just marked his first anniversary as CEO of the company. 

As the former head of media and entertainment, EMEA, at Amazon Web Services, Kilpatrick was brought onboard to expand Masstech’s focus from storage management to a wider scope of content management, providing vendor-agnostic storage solutions to a wide range of M&E customers. Along the way, the company was also honored for its work in hierarchical storage management (HSM) with a Technical Emmy this year. 

(Image credit: George Kilpatrick)

“It’s been an interesting year,” Kilpatrick told TV Technology. “We’ve changed our whole approach to the market, which was basically looking after archives under Avid or other MAMs to now providing a full content management suite.

“So we can do orchestration of workflows, we can search more effectively, we have a much more effective UI where customers can in effect do content management rather than just looking after an archive in someone else's MAM,” he added.

The result of this expanded focus is Kumulate, which was launched at the 2019 IBC Show. Described as a “new intelligent storage and asset lifecycle management platform,” Kumulate’s unique workflow orchestration enables customers to automate multivendor and multiformat file transformations, across unlimited storage tiers in a hybrid cloud environment. Plus, it streamlines metadata interchange between third-party systems and metadata enrichment services to enable users to attain even more value from their assets.

Kilpatrick says this move enabled the company to go from maintaining and optimizing archives and storage as a provider of middleware to managing the entire storage chain, regardless of storage platform.

“We’re agnostic, we don't actually provide storage ourselves or LTO or on prem. In fact, now, we can manage any storage whether it's in the cloud, private, AWS or Azure and we continue to look after people's content sitting on prem,” Kilpatrick said.

Current events have forced broadcasters to ramp up their remote production capabilities as most stations and networks have had to adapt to broadcasting from home over the past two months. Kilpatrick says Masstech had already been preparing for this transition.

“The most interesting thing out of this COVID-19 situation is how those conversations [about remote production] have been happening for the past several years,” Kilpatrick said. “I came from AWS and we were talking to customers about cloud, remote editing and the advantages for quite awhile.”

Kilpatrick says Masstech has been spending a lot of time over the past several months explaining to its existing customers how they can use their existing solutions in a remote environment.

“We’ve been helping them with training, free software for free licenses to connect to cloud, basically helping them to allow their editors to produce content at home, upload it, pull archive material for editing on Macs, doing the changes and then uploading them to their production suites, all across the world,” he said.

One feature of Kumulate that has been particularly helpful for remote production has been a recently introduced virtual file system, according to Kilpatrick.

“VFS is our cloud connector and that's been very useful for customers to, for example, buy some more cloud storage, that allows them to access that,” he said. “Sometimes our customers can't send engineers to their tape rooms anymore or they want to limit engineers on site, so they're basically setting up new areas of storage for them.

“Two of our biggest news customers in the U.S. wanted the ability to search for assets on their archive and literally download them to the editors' desktop in their home so they could edit there and then upload to wherever it was required,” Kilpatrick added. “So we enabled those customers to do that. Clearly there are security implications so we’ve had to do that in a very controlled way but for these guys, this is their own content from their own archives so it was pretty easy for us to design that for them.’

Several other new product introductions were planned for the now cancelled 2020 NAB Show, including a new Adobe integration for Kumulate; Gateway, a new platform for controlled ingest from multiple sources; and Gallery, a new content distribution platform that Kilpatrick says they will provide more details on in the near future.