The panel discussed the various challenges broadcasters face in deploying cloud-based solutions and the possible solutions.
BroadcastPro ME’s two-day Tech Summit concluded yesterday with several takeaways for broadcasters, content providers and backend technology98 suppliers. The virtual event held over June 14-15 covered topics on cloud adoption, migration to IP-based systems, coping with the rush on streaming services and how to maximise the potential of data to offer a better user experience. Besides panel discussions, the first day featured presentations from OSN and Pebble while day 2 included an interesting presentation on cloud playout and streaming from ‘qibb by Techtriq’.
Peter Riz, CTO and Zahra Zayat, Senior VP – OTT Digital and Telco spoke about the relaunch of the new OSN streaming app and presented a case study about the app’s development and journey so far.
Pebble’s Director of Sales and Marketing Alison Pavitt and CTO Miroslav Jeras held a conversation about IP and the numerous challenges associated with it. They discussed how Pebble Control can simplify the move to IP for broadcasters. This was followed by a panel discussion on cloud and how to leverage it for an efficient broadcast setup. Moderated by Nicolas Hans – Partner, Middle East – Broadcast Solutions, the panel featured Chris Fellows, Senior Manager, Solutions Engineering, Zixi; Faraz Arshad – VP of Technology & Infrastructure, StarzPlay; Manish Kapoor – VP of IT and Broadcast MENA, Zee Entertainment ME; and Jared Timmins – Senior Vice President of Solutions at TVU Networks. The panel was unanimous about the advantages cloud broadcast offers and how cloud adoption gained traction during the pandemic when broadcasters had to work remotely and with restricted resources. They also discussed the various challenges broadcasters face in deploying cloud-based solutions and the possible solutions. Some case studies were discussed as well, and cloud was established as an imperative to achieve scalability, efficiency, and flexibility in modern day broadcast setups.
Day 2 of the Tech Summit began with a presentation by Hans Baumgaertner, Senior Solutions Architect Cloud at qibb by Techtriq. He spoke about cloud playout and streaming and how it helps in meeting content distribution requirements. He explained how broadcasters could choose a SaaS or a customised cloud system based on their requirement and leverage its advantages such as speed, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.
The first panel discussion of the afternoon was about OTT and covered various aspects of content streaming. Moderator Suhail Ahmed, CEO of One Diversified FZ LLC began the discussion by asking the panellists about how important data was to them. Panellist Bachir Boumediene, Director Streaming & IPTV – Telecom Partnerships MENA at OSN said that data was the key to the success of any OTT service. Salloum El Dahdaah, CEO at White Peaks Solutions added that while data was very important, and technology and features helped prop up a service, content would still take precedence over these factors. Subscribers choose an OTT service based on content first, he said.
Personalisation and discovery as well as social media integration are some of the other features that give edge to OTT services. Adding gaming to content was discussed and the panellists also touched upon co-watching and social interactions while watching content. The importance of ratings and how they influenced choice of viewers was discussed. With regards to CDNs and payment gateways, greater synergy between telcos and broadcasters emerged as a possible solution. Barry Mehdizadeh, CTO at Mawarid Media & Communications Group explained how bottlenecks in connectivity would be solved with edge servers and private CDNs for the MENA region.
The final panel of the day discussed the move to IP, cloud and remote production. Moderator Hasan Sayed Hasan started the discussion with the panellists’ work from home strategies during the pandemic and how broadcasters managed to keep production going, remotely. The panellists spoke about their experiences with disruptive technologies in broadcast and how relevant and practical these technologies were in the MENA region. Raad Haddadin, Head of engineering and IT at Roya TV said that IP would become a reality eventually, but he was not in a rush to implement it just yet. Peter Van Dam, Founder, Audio Video Consulting LLC spoke about his experience with hybrid cloud solutions and how remote production is feasible now, but also noted that OB vans would continue to stay relevant for the next few years.
The panel agreed that selected services could be uploaded to the cloud but broadcasters would still prefer the traditional way for their core business. Deepraj Sandhar of Ross Video stated it may be a good idea for broadcasters to prioritise their services to go to the cloud, for instance playout may run perfectly well from the cloud. Jean Claude Rahme, Head of OB Engineers, Abu Dhabi Media Company – LIVE HD production and facilities, pointed out that the region was ready to adopt IP and leverage the flexibility and scalability it offers. He also elaborated on some of the projects LIVE HD was undertaking to test and prepare for the move to IP.
The panel concluded with a discussion about the benefits of cloud or hybrid cloud over on-premises solutions.