Can Content Creators & Facilities Keep Pace with New Large File Media Workflows?

HUDSON, MA (April 12, 2017) –This year more than any other, NAB is a showcase of the latest technology and business developments in high-resolution content creation. Whether it's UHD, HDR or VR production, throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center’s halls, NAB’s exhibitors will respond to seismic changes within the broadcast and electronic media industries with a renewed emphasis on super high data rate production workflows.

But is this change within NAB keeping pace with real world market drivers? Are these new technologies economically viable and accessible to the majority of the content creation community? One exhibitor which is firmly rooted in the real world economics of content creation within constrained budgets – Facilis Technology (Booth# SL7920)- sounds a cautionary tone in the run up to NAB 2017’s opening.

“Every advance being developed, from standards bodies down to web content creators is increasing the infrastructure requirements for everyone in the business of processing images,” states James McKenna, VP at Facilis Technology.

Is it realistic to propose to a large audience of small and medium sized broadcasters, production companies and facilities that they should pay for changes in infrastructure required to support these new standards? “If you plot the rate at which image formats are growing in size and then look at the cost of supporting these augmented workflows, only the companies with large financial resources can afford to be ‘all in’ with traditional infrastructure,” McKenna states.

Many equipment vendors expect their customers to indulge in revolution - the wholesale removal and replacement of their production infrastructures including data storage and networking. In the real world this wholesale replacement strategy is not realistic – facilities need an incremental migration strategy; one which enables them to build on their existing capital investments and progress towards this new world of UHD, HDR and VR.

“The right approach to facility big data challenges is evolutionary, incremental and rooted in real world business models. At the start, a facility should shop within a set requirement and purchase accordingly within their budget. When it comes time to boost that infrastructure, those bits should be repurposed to enhance the data flow,” says McKenna. “Even smaller and less capable components can achieve a higher level when combined with aggregative products that combine and unify the infrastructure. The Facilis Hub server is such a product.”

Through the use of drive set aggregation and offload of some server processes, this newly announced technology places Facilis systems into a new category of performance. Customers will benefit from enhanced system redundancy and data resiliency, all while receiving near-linear scalability of bandwidth when expanding the network.

Speed isn’t everything, so Facilis is also developing tools that increase the efficiency of administrative tasks, and improve the end-user experience. Newly-designed server and workstation monitoring and management interfaces through a web-based console and a more integrated user database will be among the many improvements.

“Gains in technical capability should never be regarded as an end in itself, but rather the means to an end,” concluded James McKenna. “At Facilis, our goal is to make UHD, HDR and VR production achievable by the widest range and scales of production and post-production facilities. This should be every tech vendor’s goal, but sadly we feel that many have failed to understand this compelling need.”