DPP Leaders Briefing
The recent DPP Leaders Briefing featured presentations by some big names from big media organizations, but for Emotion Systems’ MC Patel, the underlying sentiment was that, now more than ever, it’s the little things that count.
The Emotion Systems team recently spent two days in London at the DPP Leaders’ Briefing where we also hosted a table in the Start Up Zone. At the event, our team members alternated between attending the presentations, having meetings to discuss our file-based audio products and networking with other attendees. And while many big topics were discussed over the two days, what became evident through all these interactions, was that the new media and entertainment landscape is increasingly affected by the following ‘little things.’
Little thing 1: The trend towards microservices
The old-fashioned approach to building playout or delivery centers was to develop processing pipelines using highly customized software. Any changes or additions to this pipeline were almost impossible without extensive, time-consuming redevelopment and risked breaking the entire system. But it was the only way to do things in a time dominated by glass-to-glass solution providers, seven-year refresh cycles and nascent integration methodologies.
What was clear in many of the presentations at the Leaders Briefing is that media organizations now require more flexibility from their technology and agility from the manufacturers. They don’t want to be tied into immutable technology and long contracts; they need the ability to make changes frequently. This flexibility isn't something that media organizations just crave, without technologies that can adapt at pace with the evolving media supply chain, they face being left behind in an increasingly competitive market. But this new need can’t be satisfied by old approaches. It necessitates a change in our approach to technological architecture.
The modern solution to this problem is to integrate management platforms with microservices that deliver very specific functions to a high standard. These microservices are API driven and can be easily modified and enhanced to suit new requirements without effecting the rest of the workflow - and without the cost of bespoke development. Microservices are a key part of providing the agility that media organizations need to respond to rapidly evolving audience demands.
Little thing 2: Increased complexity means that little mistakes can have big consequences
There was a lot of talk at the event about the move to global content distribution, across a variety of platforms, in a range of different formats. This means that there’s now more opportunity for error than ever before. And, because we now have one source for many deliverables, if a mistake isn’t rectified early in the process, then it’s likely to be amplified as the content moves through the supply chain.
Quality control has also become more complex. Not only are there multiple processes and parties involved in every workflow, but they’re taking place across on-prem, in the cloud and hybrid technology - how do you check surround sound or ATMOS files when you’re working remotely and don’t have access to the appropriate technical infrastructure? The assumption is that suppliers will abide with the delivery specifications but, rather than blindly trusting that this is the case, media organizations need reliable, and automatable, QC processes that are designed for these situations.
Little thing 3: Size is irrelevant in an ecosystem
The move away from end-to-end solutions and the increasing complexity of the content supply chain is seeing the M&E technology landscape change from one that was dominated by a small number of ‘big’ suppliers to a more balanced ecosystem that includes microservices and management platforms. This represents a significant shift in the M&E industry as there is no hierarchy in an ecosystem. In the new M&E landscape, the ‘big’ players and microservice providers are dependent on each other and it’s in everyone’s interests to look after the broader industry ecosystem. In a nutshell, the little guy is just as important as the big guy!
This could potentially have far-reaching implications in the way the industry operates. For example, in the past media organizations expected the ‘big glass-to-glass suppliers’ to invest enormous amounts of time and resource into tenders and speculative development projects. The rationale was that landing a big project would ultimately cover these costs. But, whilst microservices are now becoming a critical part of these solutions, the developers of these services don’t have the capacity or financial resources to absorb speculative costs. Emotion Systems is a perfect case in point – we provide highly specialized (and increasingly critical) services that very few companies can provide, but which have a big impact on the overall content supply chain. Our off the shelf solution meets most of our customers’ needs but the development of new features requires a modest amount of client funding.
Little thing 4: smaller events provide targeted opportunities
While we wouldn’t’t necessarily classify the DPP Leaders Briefing as a small event, it’s nowhere near the scale of gatherings like IBC and the NAB Show. In the wake of IBC’s recent cancellation for the second year running, it’s worth considering how focused events like the Leaders Briefing can balance what suppliers and users want and (in our opinion) provide value to both participants and attendees. We’ll certainly be supporting more events like these over the coming year.
If you were not able to attend the DPP Leaders Briefing or meet with us at the event, get in touch now to schedule a call with our team.