TV TECHNOLOGY: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2018 NAB Show?
CLAY MCCREERY: The growth in OTT live streaming and SVOD demand in the last year has been spectacular, grabbing many industry headlines. From Netflix’s continued subscriber growth, to Disney’s acquisition of MLBAM, to Apple’s and Amazon’s commitment to creating original content, the signs are that the OTT trend is on an exponential upward curve. While “multiplatform delivery” has been at the top of the IABM’s industry investment priority list for the last few years, we believe it has only been the beginning of this phase in the media and entertainment industry’s evolution. We have witnessed the rise of CDNs, online video players (OVPs), cloud services, and more automation of workflows to support the rise in demand for live and VOD content.
To support this business trend, the technology trend we believe will grab headlines at the 2018 NAB Show is massively scalable platforms that support the changing business model of the media industry. Cloud solutions have offered this for those happy to move their content to another location to store, transform and deliver. We see a hybrid approach combining on-prem and public cloud that is more cost-effective. Elastic video infrastructure, primarily in a hybrid private/public ecosystem, is how we see the industry evolving, and we think is the hot tech topic for the 2018 NAB Show.
TVT: What will be your most important product news?
MCCREERY: Concurrent has been investing for the last 20 years in next-generation solutions for storing, transforming, protecting and delivering content. Today we provide solutions to our customers that annually deliver billions of streams of video to more than 50 million consumers. From video-tuned object storage, to software transcoding, to containerized edge caching, Concurrent has its eye firmly on helping media businesses scale their content preparation and delivery processes. Whether our customers want to use public cloud services, keep everything on-prem, or have a hybrid model, we are there to support them with software-defined solutions.
Our most important product news at the show is focused on scaling content preparation processes so that content providers can manage the growth in SVOD and prepare for their own OTT services. Concurrent has launched a software-defined, highly scalable storage and transcoding solution that provides content providers with the best mix of flexibility, control and value for money. With the ability to scale-out storage and transcoding capacity easily, and to use and pay for transcoding capacity on-demand either on-prem or in the cloud, we are pleased to showcase this solution at the show.
TVT: How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?
MCCREERY: First, most of our peers in the industry offer either storage or transcoding. We offer both products and can guarantee the interoperability. This guarantee is, we believe, very important for media customers looking for robust, scalable solutions.
Second, for the storage element, we provide object storage, based on the extremely powerful open-source Ceph solution, using COTS hardware. By tuning Ceph for video use-cases we have created an easy-to-use storage solution, Aquari, that provides archive, nearline and online storage in a single platform. This simplifies storage infrastructure and makes it more resilient, with key features like erasure coding, proactive data quality assurance and support for object and file protocols.
Third, for the transcoding element, we have created a new software-transcoder, Zephyr, that supports live and file workflows in all major formats and codecs. Using a blade architecture to scale out capacity provides ultimate flexibility. The most important part is that it is a software-product, deployable on COTS hardware, across a mix of public cloud, private cloud or on-prem COTS hardware. Now our customers can choose where to deploy for best financial return.
Finally, Concurrent is also a CDN Solutions vendor. We know how to package and deliver content over any type of network. We are tuning the Aquari and Zephyr solutions to the video use cases that really help customers distribute their valuable content, to any device, anywhere.
TVT: What is it about the NAB Show that brings you back every year?
MCCREERY: The NAB Show is the best event during the year to meet with hundreds of people in a short space of time. We are able to promote our message to the whole industry, build closer relationships with our sales and technology partners and meet new customers. The NAB Show is a big investment for each company that attends, and at Concurrent we believe it is a great opportunity for us to showcase what we do.