Op-Ed: Integrating Storage into Remote Sports Workflows

With social distancing, lockdowns, and health and safety requirements, the pandemic forced organizations to rethink workflows, with many adopting remote working practices. Prior to Covid, 17% of US employees were working remotely, this climbed to 44% during the pandemic.

Although many organizations are operating using remote workflows, there is a disconnect between how they access their content, and how they edit it. Sports content creators, especially, need to ensure they are bridging gaps in the content supply chain to maximize efficiency.

Access from Anywhere
With the rise in numbers of people working from home and further moves towards cloudification, the demand for flexibility and accessibility is increasing.

In some cases, an upgrade of storage and media management infrastructure is long overdue, and this has been highlighted by the pandemic. Legacy systems must be upgraded but the move to the cloud can be daunting. It is also crucial that organizations bridge nearline and archive storage so that they are not operating in silos. Without the proper infrastructure in place, it can become increasingly challenging to manage restricted legacy space.

Maximizing the Sports Archive
For companies to thrive, they need to be adaptable with their existing assets. Extending the lifespan of previous projects, by creating new content with old media enables organizations to maximize the efficiency of their content. By having capacity to locate and manage archive content, bringing it back online as quickly as possible will be crucial in improving workflow and production.

Content consumption is changing, and consumer appetite for different formats is growing. As well as live sports content, producers are developing anything from bitesize social media clips to full-length video documentaries to satisfy the viewers evolving needs. The ability to quickly access archive sports footage, means broadcasters can effortlessly create new content without the additional expense of capturing new footage.

Seamless Security
While content needs to be readily available, it must also be secure and integrate with existing workflows. Organizations can have greater flexibility when accessing and managing content through a hybrid approach, as it makes it easier for customers to build a workflow that suits their business needs. Incorporating a unified storage platform enables users to access and move content between on-prem, private and public clouds. Anyone with authority needing to access company archives can do so, irrespective of their location.

Although public cloud has its benefits – it is accessible and multi-tenanted – there are risks to consider:

  • It can be unpredictable – in both cost and performance.
  • It’s not totally secure.
  • You may lose the access to your own content through metadata constraints.

Cloud solutions should be media focused, with built-in security and analytics. They should offer the highest levels of digital content governance, ensure content is protected, authentic and available on demand, as well as offer the ability to integrate with multiple media-based workflows.

Adapting to New Workflows
With filming restricted during the pandemic, many content providers needed to utilize footage from past projects. One example of this was Intersport’s transition to remote workflows. After digitizing all its master tapes, the team found it easy to access RAW content as and when needed, without being restricted by location. The ability to quickly find archive footage has been invaluable to the company and has resulted in significantly improved workflows and streamlined production.

During the Covid-19 crisis, RAW footage was received from freelancers all over the US, then stored and distributed to editors working remotely. As workloads continue to grow and footage is shot in larger and larger formats, a company like Intersport which has operated for decades, needs the ability to park media and projects but still have easy access to them.

Intersport’s Media Manager, Sara Plano, explains, “Metadata is particularly important for our workflow. Intersport has over a petabyte of media, which is at least 30,000 clips. Finding those clips going back as far as 1985 would be impossible without the key metadata. Having a searchable content library of this size is so significant. For one event we had to go back to footage that was 3 years old and have producers which were not in-house at the time work through it. I was able to use Vision to create proxies and provide log-ins. The producers were then able to review the content and make notes – saving a huge amount of time.”

There must be a combination of flexibility and ease for successful implementation of storage into remote workflows. With more media companies relying on the cloud for collaborative workflows, hybrid cloud solutions which manage media both on-prem and in the cloud, offer increased efficiency in remote working environments without compromising on security.

With ‘work from home’ set to continue as a standard practice, the requirement to self-serve access to content has become imperative. Producers need to be able to search for content, view it online and edit it as necessary, despite their location. Having the ability to share content securely and seamlessly with wider teams, enables organizations to remain in control of their workflows without having to worry about the location of staff. Helping media companies to maximize freelance support and manage their teams in more flexible ways. With the right hybrid cloud set-up in place, the media industry can ensure it is ready to adapt to future workflows.

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