Sports Asset Management Forum: Cloud-Based Tech Breaks Down Barriers for Greater Accessibility

Discussing the cloud can oftentimes feel like discussing a cloud: amorphous, intangible, nearly impossible to pin down. Adding cloud-based technologies and workflows to the discussion doesn’t always make understanding the cloud any easier. At SVG’s Sports Asset Management Forum in New York City, providers of cloud-based systems shed a little light on what the cloud has to offer and how their companies are successfully leveraging it to create and share content.

“Content creation is about working together, and, traditionally, we had to be in the same location to work together. The cloud can blow that away,” said Steve Owen, marketing director, Quantel. “The cloud opens up so many different workflows, efficiencies, and opportunities to collaborate, as long as we keep in our heads what we’re trying to do.”


From left to right, Avid’s Ian Krabacher and Adobe’s Dennis Radeke

Quantel’s cloud-based QTube software enables anyone involved in content creation to interact with the content from any location, supporting the full spectrum of production tasks.

Adobe recently announced the availability of Adobe Anywhere for video, leveraging the cloud to centralize media, foster collaboration, and transfer files in an on-premises solution that does not require a network or hardware upgrade.

“Our take on the cloud is the idea of collaboration and [is] very customer-focused and customer-reactive,” said Dennis Radeke, senior business development manager, Adobe. “It’s a collaboration between Adobe users, between different Adobe clients, but also with other vendors in the tool chain. None of the organizations that you represent out there today are just using one product, one tool. … Making the network work together is really the key driver in moving the business forward.”

Levels Beyond CEO Art Raymond echoed the need to streamline workflows. The company’s Reach Engine — which includes the cloud-based video operating system Stage — facilitates content creation, management, packaging, and distribution workflows.

“It’s about scaling operations with tremendous capabilities that you can expand and contract on the fly,” said Raymond. “In our space, the primary element we put up into the cloud is our content. Our content is our product, it’s our inventory, it becomes our factory, it’s the basis of all of our industries.”


Sony’s Dan Hitomi (left) speaks as Levels Beyond’s Art Raymond looks on.

Sony, which launched its Media Cloud Services subsidiary in April, is fully embracing the cloud. The cloud platform — called Ci — enables content creators to edit, share, and archive HD content in a globally accessible virtual workspace.

“I think that it represents a new opportunity for Sony to move onto the next evolution of video,” said Dan Hitomi, senior director of product, Sony Media Cloud Services. “I don’t see this as something that we need to avoid; it’s something that we should embrace.

“When we hear about cloud being a technology, I look at it more as a utility,” he continued. “When we look at services like Amazon, Amazon is a global utility service. They’re well on their way to being the next gas company or the next water company, and I think we should treat data just like that.”

In addition to the collaborative environment fostered by the cloud, the panelists discussed several other uses for the platform, including its ability to accommodate increasingly complex content (like 4K) and easily enable the reuse of content.

“A sports event for a particular team is comparable to that of a TV show; the reuse of assets [creates] a conversation,” said Ian Krabacher, senior principal product developer, Avid Technology. “As a hockey fan, I constantly want to feed on new content so, between the games for my particular team, I’m always looking for more and more content.”


Quantel’s Steve Owen

Avid played a vital role in one of the most successful displays of content reuse: the 2012 London Olympics. NBC leveraged Avid’s Interplay media-asset management (MAM) and Forbidden Technologies’ cloud-based editing platform to power its New York-based Highlights Factory, churning out 5,535 hours of content to multiple platforms.

Although the Olympics occur once every two years, many companies must share content among divisions, offices, and companies that may be down the hall or around the globe. The greatest potential of the cloud, the panelists reiterated throughout the 45-minute session, is access.

“[The cloud] should allow us to exchange data and … to be able to pull what we need and not have to repeat the workflow over and over again,” said Hitomi. Oftentimes, he added, workflows are dependent on geographic constraints and do not operate cohesively. “Things [are] siloed off,” he noted. “If those silos are gone, what changes? I think that’s the [advantage of the] cloud: it’s going to fundamentally change the way that we look at how we design workflow.”

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