TV TECH: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trends at the 2021 NAB Show?
KEVIN JOYCE: I think the events of the past 18 months will continue to drive technology toward remote operations and live production in the cloud. Which also leads us to streaming and OTT. We were well on our way there, but COVID-19 accelerated the journey.
Another big trend is anything to do with esports. It’s amazing how this has taken off, and manufacturers and service providers must be sure their technology can be adapted/utilized in this sector.
TVT: What will be your most important product news?
JOYCE: We are consistently adding features and functionalities to our monitoring and visualization platform, plus we’re always adding support for the emerging technologies and formats that are driving the industry further into the cloud for live and remote production, and post production as well.
At the NAB Show we will be showing the platform enhanced with support for several additional protocols. First, we’re excited to announce support for AWS Cloud Digital Interface (AWS CDI), a highly reliable, extremely low-latency network technology for transporting high-bitrate uncompressed video, such as ST 2110 or JPEG XS, inside the AWS Cloud. This is especially important to our clients that need to create an ecosystem or a workflow to implement production or post-production environments on the cloud.
We will also be demonstrating support for SRT (Secure Reliable Transport), a secure, reliable, low-latency open source means of delivering content over unpredictable, unreliable networks like the public internet.
And we will be showing the platform with support for NDI 5 (Network Device Interface) for the first time. NDI 5 is the latest version of the widely implemented royalty-free, software-defined IP standard that enables any device in any location to connect. Content can be transmitted over a computer network in a high-quality, low-latency, frame accurate manner, regardless of where it originates—in a physical studio, in the cloud or in a remote production facility.
In addition to all the support enhancements the shining gem of the show will be our new monitoring control system, an outgrowth of our Zer0 Friction philosophy that is focused on providing customers with the most agile, practical and valuable business model possible. This new future-proof tool serves a dual purpose. First it allows users to easily manage multiple instances or physical servers as one logical system—clustering a large number of servers that are running a large number of channels—all at the same time. The second is its openness, which leads to an unprecedented learning experience and opens opportunities for vast improvements. Our system gives users the ability to leverage best in breed tools in the market to collect and analyze information, learn from it and evolve based on that knowledge. The new TAG Monitoring Control System collects the data from the different probing points of the workflow and connects it to external database, statistics and graphic UI tools such as Elasticsearch and Kibana. With this knowledge in their pocket, there is no limit to what our users can learn about their workflow. It’s something they need to confidently move into the future armed with access to the highest level and most useful information possible.
TVT: How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?
JOYCE: Our platform is unique in the industry. Founded in 2008, TAG is the first monitoring and multiviewer solution to be 100% SW, 100% IP operating on 100% COTS and in the cloud.
Another industry first, though, and one that sets us miles apart from anything else available on the market is our Zer0 Friction business strategy, and in turn the new monitoring control system I just described. Zer0 Friction is the next generation approach to deploy, operate and acquire broadcast technology and take it to the next level. TAG’s unique ability to handle both compressed and uncompressed formats and support all major industry standards such as SMPTE 2110, 2022-6/7, JPEG 2000, MPEG TS, DASH, HLS, CMAF and even JPEG XS allows it to be applied to all four major broadcast applications: Live production, Playout/Master Control, Distribution and OTT. Clients reap the benefits of being able to manage the software across applications and locations for stunning operational agility and maximum asset utilization.
With Zer0 Friction customers aren’t restricted in how they use TAG’s multi-functional applications, where they use them across their ecosystem, or when they use them. Broadcasters can use a multiviewer for live production in London and then apply the same license to probe for errors in an OTT facility in New York. As the industry transitions to cloud based IP workflows, clients will find they are unrestricted operationally and financially to deliver the best possible content to consumers. The approach is an industry first and is leading the way to how broadcast applications will be deployed in the future.
In addition to all that, we want to be sure our clients are comfortable and confident, so we offer a zero-commitment trial of the TAG system to ensure 100% satisfaction before they buy.
TVT: How has the Covid pandemic affected your company's business over the past year and half and how will it impact how you exhibit at this year's show?
JOYCE: We didn’t see it coming, but we were ready for it. Since we are a 100% software only company, TAG’s technology is deployed quickly with customers up and running in minutes. We, and they in turn, weren’t impacted by equipment shortages and delivery delays. They didn’t need a member of the TAG team onsite, in fact, they didn’t even need to be onsite. The system could be operated remotely, support is handled remotely, and all software upgrades are delivered remotely on a continuous basis.
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