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Imagine Communications Corp., is a global leader of video infrastructure, advertising management and workflow solutions serving the media networks, broadcast stations, on-line and communication service providers, and enterprise markets spanning 185 countries.

Imagine Communications survey reveals acceleration of next-gen technology adoption

Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, released the findings of its third-annual media & entertainment industry survey. The comprehensive document, Focus Forward: 2017 Media & Entertainment Industry Report, explores the tightening and dynamic relationship between technology innovation and the ability of media companies to generate additional revenue and improve competitive positioning through new business models. Key findings include a growing familiarity with microservices and Cloud-Native applications, increased comfortability with next-generation technologies and a resulting acceleration of plans to transition operations to IP-based environments, including the cloud.

“The hundreds of media professionals who participated in the survey provide an invaluable insider’s assessment of the future direction of the media industry, from both a technology and commercial viewpoint,’ says Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt. “No other creative medium is more dependent on technology for its overall success than television and video production. This year’s survey explores the bonds of that relationship from the perspective of the men and women who are directly involved in creating, distributing and monetising video information and entertainment.”

A new development in this year’s survey, validated by the wide-scale acceptance of next-gen architectures at the 2017 NAB Show and multiple real-world deployments, is that much of the uncertainty surrounding the future technology landscape has dissipated. Most media companies now recognise the migration of operations from purpose-built hardware to software-driven environments based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms as a competitive and economic imperative. It’s now widely accepted that only IT-based infrastructures are capable of delivering the agility and versatility needed to speed the velocity of new service introductions and future-proof facilities against disruptive and frequent technology refreshes.

When asked how their attitudes toward transitioning their operations, including live production, to an IP-based environment had changed over the past year, more than half of all respondents to the 2017 survey indicated an increased confidence in the suitability of IP-based environments to host even-the-most-demanding operations. In addition, 34% of all respondents say they are now planning to accelerate their transition to IP from where they were a year ago. The report speculates that a growing number of successful real-world, next-gen deployments; the availability of testing facilities, including the recently launched Imagine Communications Labs (IC Labs); and progress toward widespread inter-operability resulting from the actions of the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) trade association all played roles in boosting the comfort level associated with a transition to standard computing equipment.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • More than a third of broadcast engineers say that their peers lack sufficient skills and knowledge of the IP realm
  • Cloud-Native capabilities are viewed as important for distributed deployments by 72% of survey takers
  • Less than 50% of media professionals think VR/AR will have a significant impact on the media industry
  • Media professionals may be overlooking the reach and revenue potential of social media
  • A significant majority of respondents see cord cutting as an unstoppable force

Presented in two sections: Technology and Business – the report is designed to provide a first-hand account of the direction media industry professionals are moving on the technology front and how they believe the ongoing injection of innovation into their workflows will influence the commercial direction of the media industry. Findings and analysis are illustrated through more than 25 informative charts and graphics.

A strategic planning guide for the second half of 2017 and beyond, the report can be downloaded here.

Imagine Communications opens its microservices technology platform to the Media and Entertainment industry

Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, is introducing its Open Zenium programme.

Through Open Zenium, Imagine Communications is raising the bar for collaboration, transparency and innovation by sharing source code to the Zenium™ microservices library, the company’s pure microservices technology for building smarter and more efficient media operations, with a community of its customers and partners. Open Zenium provides media companies with the ability to customise, modify, design and deploy next-generation workflows and services with unparalleled efficiency, scalability and performance, as well as gain access to a vibrant software community backed by teams of developers, architects and DevOps engineers. The chief objective of the programme is to deliver the knowledge, tools and technology that will fortify operations with the flexibility, efficiency and scale to meet the unique and evolving needs of consumers and enable rapid response to changing market dynamics.

The Open Zenium initiative marks a milestone in the media and entertainment industry. For the first time, a major technology supplier is providing access to not only the intellectual property underpinning its innovative and market-leading solutions with a community of its customers and partners, it is also building a community based on transparency, innovation and success. Imagine is providing access to the design patterns and best practices it has developed over the years, as well as the technology that powers its industry-leading solutions, including its Versio™, Selenio™ One, and EPIC™ MV platforms. The pure-play microservices Zenium platform provides media companies with an agile and versatile technology foundation that provides unparalleled access to current and future technology, along with industry-leading efficiency and scale.

“By making Zenium source code available to a community of its partners and customers and providing access to the knowledge we have developed with it, Imagine Communications is taking another bold step forward for the industry, setting the bar for transparency, access, knowledge-sharing and shared success,” said Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt. “We are sending a strong message that we are ready to explore a more strategic and collaborative relationship with customers and are willing to back up our commitment by exposing the company’s most valued intellectual property in an environment designed to propel all parties toward mutual success in a market that is becoming more competitive every day.”

Vogt added, “While other technology companies have recently jumped on the microservices bandwagon, Imagine Communications has been building solutions based on microservices for several years and is now taking the next step of sharing the building blocks of our groundbreaking innovation with a community of our customers and partners.”

An early and vocal leader in the transition of broadband to IP, Imagine Communications is in a unique position to accelerate the transformation of the media industry by providing access to this groundbreaking technology with a community of its customers and partners. The Open Zenium initiative is designed to put the larger broadcast community on the same innovation trajectory as Imagine, helping media companies of all sizes to unleash their full creativity and revenue-generating potential by eliminating technological limitations.

Opening up Zenium is intended to provide access to a level of transparency, innovation and risk management previously unheard of in the media and entertainment industry. Open Zenium is designed to redefine the way media companies interact with their technology partners and infuse their operations with innovation.

“This is collaboration on a scale that’s never been seen in the media and entertainment industry,” said Brick Eksten, chief product officer, Imagine Communications. “The time is now to leverage the amazing work being done in the broader compute industry and to bring together best-of-breed virtualisation with proven broadcast technologies. We’re opening up Zenium to enable a community of our customers to exploit the capabilities of the technology platform of the future and to inject their businesses with the agility and flexibility that will allow them to thrive in a rapidly and constantly evolving competitive environment.”

The adoption of a microservices-based architecture does not require media companies to make wholesale changes to their networks. Instead, the component-based, highly granular composition of Zenium enables media companies to make the transformation from monolithic to Cloud-Native applications in a gradual fashion. By making Zenium’s source code available to a community of technology partners and customers, Imagine is accelerating the transition to a technology foundation that is built to withstand the blistering pace of change in the media and entertainment industry.

Visit Imagine Communications at Mediatech 2017 on the Concilium Technologies stand (E17). 

Imagine Communications delivers cloud-native disaster recovery to ZEE

Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, has delivered a compact, cloud-native disaster recovery (DR) solution to leading global content company ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL).

The business continuity solution utilises the built-in redundancy capabilities of virtualised and geo-dispersed environments to provide ZEEL with improved protection of its playout operations for considerably less than the cost to build and maintain duplicate facilities.

ZEEL has rolled out a state-of-the-art cloud-based business continuity solution in its DR facility in Mumbai using Imagine Communications’ Versio playout solution and the company’s D-Series automation solution. The backup site supports 15 ZEE channels running on Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) servers across a virtual platform that mirrors the main site. Any changes made to the main system are immediately reflected on the DR system.

“Imagine Communications’ cloud-native business continuity solution helps to ensure that our live channels never go off the air, no matter the unforeseen circumstances we may face during the day-to-day running of our facility,’ said Amitabh Kumar, head of broadcasting for Zee Network, the parent company of ZEEL. “The virtualised nature of the solution has already allowed ZEEL to realise savings on rack space and power consumption. In addition, the installation’s remote management capabilities help us to reduce resources at the DR site, keeping our opex low.’

A cloud-native approach to DR provides private or public cloud-based restoration of broadcast and video playout operations. More affordable, reliable and easier to manage than traditional business continuity solutions, cloud-native disaster recovery is growing in popularity, with Imagine Communications supporting customers on multiple continents through its Versio solution.  Versio is at the heart of ZEEL’s remote facility in Mumbai. Versio, among the industry’s most comprehensive playout solutions, is 100% software running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) IT platforms. The cloud-native solution is portable to all deployment environments, including premise-based appliance approaches.

In Mumbai, Versio works in tandem with the D-Series playout automation system, a highly scalable solution that provides device control for linear playout channels and manages the movement of file-based media to multiple delivery platforms. The D-Series Remote Schedule Synchronization (DRSS) feature enables both the primary and backup ZEEL sites to run in sync.

“ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited enjoys a long history with Imagine Communications and is one of the most innovative media companies in the region, and among the first to transition operations to a fully software-centric model utilizing COTS equipment,’ said Brick Eksten, chief product officer at Imagine Communications. “It is no surprise that ZEEL is one of the first media companies operating in the Indian subcontinent to recognize the cost and efficiency benefits of cloud-native solutions and to identify business continuity operations as a starting point for the adoption of a next-generation architecture.’ Some media companies are adopting cloud-native disaster recovery operations as a first step in the transition of mission-critical operations to virtualised environments, with plans to use the virtualised facilities for launching new channels or hosting existing ones after gaining the proper level of comfort in the performance and
reliability of the cloud.

Additional information about these solutions and Imagine Communications can be found on their website.

Imagine Communications at Mediatech 2017

Imagine Communications will be on the Concilium Technologies stand (E17) at Mediatech Africa 2017. Advanced solutions on display will include:

  • Selenio One XC
    Selenio™ One XC is a software-based addition to the next-generation Selenio™ One compression platform, which offers media companies a single solution for performing a range of encoding, transcoding and related processing operations. Powered by Zenium™, Imagine’s pure microservices-based technology, the Selenio One platform can be deployed in different physical implementations to enable media companies to optimise for density, quality and cost, with all Selenio One elements controlled by a common user interface for operational efficiency.Selenio One XC, introduced this year, is optimised for both primary and secondary distribution, enabling content owners and video service providers to improve operational efficiencies by delivering more channels over existing distribution infrastructures. The software-only, cloud-native nature of Selenio One XC, with its ability to run on Linux-based virtual machines, also enables media companies to support both premises- and cloud-based deployment models.

    Initially targeted at providing video service providers with high-video-quality, highly efficient linear transcoding capabilities, Selenio One XC supports any-to-any H.264/MPEG-2 IP-based transcoding, as well as an optional multiplexer to provide bandwidth-conserving statistical multiplexing of expensive or bandwidth-constrained distribution channels.

  • EPIC MV
    EPIC™ MV is a software-based, UHD-ready multiviewer that provides broadcasters with a single canvas for all signal types and a seamless transition path to an all-IP future. Powered by Zenium™, Imagine Communications’ open and extensible pure microservices technology, EPIC MV is scalable to thousands of PIPs and hundreds of displays, providing a high-quality, low-TCO monitoring solution for today’s hybrid environments — and a simple, evolutionary path to any future monitoring requirement.The EPIC MV is a complete multiviewer solution that offers the full features of a class-leading multi-image display system. Featuring exceptional video quality, rich graphics, tally, UMD, timers, clocks and interfaces to a variety of third-party systems, EPIC MV delivers all the capabilities expected for monitoring and monetising content in high-value production environments.

    Designed to simplify monitoring environments as broadcasters migrate to IP, EPIC MV is a true hybrid solution that natively supports low-bandwidth compressed streaming formats, including MPEG‑2 and H.264/AVC essence. Option boards provide high-capacity SDI over IP, ST 20226-6/7 reception. A high-capacity baseband 3G/HD/SD/ASI option brings even greater breadth to the portfolio of input formats supported.
    The open and extensible nature of the EPIC MV better positions media companies to integrate the latest technologies into their operations and quickly pivot to address new business and deployment models, including the cloud, as market conditions dictate. EPIC MV has been deployed in multiple live production environments, including all-IP configurations, in multiple continents.

  • Versio
    Versio™ is a powerful modular playout solution used worldwide by media companies from small, single-channel to very large, multichannel environments and master control operations. It encompasses the best of the world’s automation, branding, graphics, file server, storage and master control capabilities in an entirely software-based environment. Versio was recently fortified with next-gen automation and redundancy enhancements that improve operational efficiency and expand the solution’s ability to fully exploit geo-dispersed and virtualised playout environmentsA 100 per cent software-based and fully IP-enabled solution, Versio provides a disruption-free transition to agile channel launch capabilities by enabling the widest variety of playout applications across flexible deployment models. Versio is deployable on customer premises, providing traditional, on-site channel-in-a-box deployments with baseband/SDI connectivity. It is also Cloud-Native, making it suitable for private datacenters or public cloud deployments, supporting all media types including baseband, SMPTE 2022 and compressed. The hybrid SDI/IP nature of Versio enables media companies to transition operations to IP at their own pace.

    Versio, which powers the playout and master control operations of some of the world’s most iconic brands, simplifies the creation and management of channels and enables media companies to extend their brands and content with more freedom, visibility and control than ever before. With Versio at the heart of channel-enablement, broadcasters and media companies are able to accelerate new services and improved operations that include specialty and popup channels, hyper-localised content and advertising, business continuity and disaster recovery and virtualised and streamlined master control.

Imagine Communications to host thought leadership sessions at NAB

Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, will once again host a series of knowledge-sharing and interactive discussions at NAB featuring prominent executives and subject matter experts from across the media and entertainment and IT industries. The 2017 NAB Show edition of the ImagineLIVE Power Sessions will be conducted at Imagine’s newly relocated and redesigned booth (SL1516) in the Lower South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and is free to all attendees.

ImagineLIVE NAB 2017 will feature lunchtime and mid-afternoon sessions throughout the exhibition that are designed to shine a light on the latest technologies, innovations and business models that broadcasters and other media companies around the world are actively adopting to accelerate the modernisation of their businesses. Several of the sessions will focus on how Imagine Communications is leveraging its early embrace of next-generation architectures and technologies, including microservices, cloud-native applications and unified distribution, to help media companies fully exploit the benefits of IT-based virtualised environments using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms. Other topics include monetising OTT services, cloud playout and how the company is working with leading broadcasters to explore the potential of the new ATSC 3.0 specification to support advanced services and unique business models, including the delivery of hyperlocalised programming and advertising.

Companies and organisations joining Imagine Communications executives and subject matter experts in the ImagineLIVE Power Sessions include Arista Networks, Disney/ABC Television Group, Fox Networks, EVS, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, ONE Media, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Siemens Convergence Creators, SKY MEDIA, tpc, Telstra, TV Globo and Viacom.

“After spending the past couple of years investigating and debating the feasibility of shifting operations to a more agile and versatile technology foundation, media companies understand that it is now time to take action — to put in place the building blocks of state-of-the-art facilities that will serve the needs of their businesses for the foreseeable future,’ said Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt, who will be hosting a special Power Session panel Tuesday afternoon on The Future of Television featuring Disney/ABC Television Group, Fox Networks, Microsoft, ONE Media and Viacom. “This year’s ImagineLIVE Power Sessions have been carefully selected to showcase how our customers are already well engaged in their efforts to introduce advanced business models and monetisation practices that are capable of keeping pace with an industry that is changing more quickly and profoundly than at any other time in its history.’

ImagineLIVE Power Session schedule and speakers:

Monday, 24 April, 12h30-13h15
Broadcasters and ATSC 3.0 – New Revenue from New Localism (JW Linkenauger, Director Advertising Support Operations, Sinclair Broadcast Group; Delbert Parks, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Sinclair Broadcast Group; Sarah Foss, Chief Product Officer, AMS, Imagine Communications; and Steve Reynolds, Chief Technology Officer, Imagine Communications)

Monday, 24 April, 15h30-16h15
IP Cloud Playout – Come on in, the Water is Fine (Andrew Bender, Account Chief Technologist, Global Accounts, HPE; Dario Scacciati, Senior Director Global Business Development, Media & Entertainment, Microsoft; Mark A. Sanders, General Manager – Enterprise Video (Engineering), Telstra; Mauricio Felix, Senior Project Manager, TV Globo; and Steve Smith, Cloud Chief Technology Officer, Imagine Communications)

Tuesday, 25 April, 12h30-13h15
The Future of Television: Hosted by Imagine’s CEO (Brad Wall, Senior Vice President, Network Operations, Disney/ABC Television Group; Richard Friedel, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Fox Networks Engineering & Operations and President of Video Services Forum; Bob DeHaven, General Manager, Worldwide Communications & Media, Microsoft; Kevin Gage, Executive Vice President of Strategic Development and Chief Technology Officer, ONE Media; and David Kline, Executive Vice President and Chief Information & Technology Officer, Viacom; and Charlie Vogt, Chief Executive Officer, Imagine Communications)

Tuesday, 25 April, 15h30-16h15
IP for Live – Notes from the Field (Christopher J. Mascatello, Executive Vice President, Technology Solutions, ANC; Ed Chapman, Vice President Business Development & Alliances, Arista Networks; James Stellpflug, Vice President of Product Marketing — Global, EVS; Andreas Lattmann, Chief Technology Officer, tpc Switzerland AG; and Steve Reynolds, Chief Technology Officer, Imagine Communications)

Wednesday, 26 April, 12h30-13h15
Omniplatform Optimization & Audience: The New Currency of Campaign Management (Jeff Eales, Director of Systems & Development, SKY MEDIA; and Sarah Foss, Chief Product Officer, AMS, Imagine Communications)

Wednesday, 26 April, 15h30-16h15
OTT Distribution – How to Scope, Scale and Succeed (Frank Deo, Chief Technology Officer, American Theater Channel; Rahsmi Misra, Head of Worldwide Media and Entertainment, HPE; Markus Placho, Head of Media Business Unit, Siemens Convergence Creators; Yuval Fisher, Chief Technology Officer, MVPD, Imagine Communications; and Glodina Lostanlen, Chief Marketing Officer, Imagine Communications)

Imagine Communications showcases pure-IP processing solution at the 2017 NAB Show

Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, is introducing the Selenio™ Network Processor (SNP), an all-IP-capable processing solution optimised for handling uncompressed UHD signals based on the SMPTE 2110 specification for transporting media over IP networks. Designed to usher in a new era in live production, the SNP enables production companies to optimise both studio and mobile facilities to take full advantage of the performance, agility and efficiency benefits of IT-based infrastructures, while at the same time upgrading operations to support UHD picture quality. Imagine will be showcasing some of the capabilities of the SNP at the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas, beginning 24 April.

The availability of standards-based IP-to-IP processing capabilities, an industry first, provides media companies with the opportunity to streamline their production facilities, helping to reduce costs and complexity associated with supporting SDI and hybrid SDI-IP workflows, including cabling, power consumption and the need to move signals between IP and SDI domains.

“This is a milestone achievement for Imagine Communications and the media and entertainment industry,’ said Mark Senecal, VP of product management, Imagine Communications. “SNP provides our customers with the technology that’s needed to transition their production facilities to a hybrid SDI-IP model or to pure-IP operations, while at the same time positioning their businesses to seamlessly integrate new technology and introduce new capabilities as market dynamics dictate. That’s the power that IP brings to live production and our customers are taking notice.’

Earlier this year, Swiss broadcast service provider tpc (technology and production centre Switzerland) revealed the construction of a mobile production vehicle that will utilize Imagine’s new processing technology and is expected to be the first in the industry to support uncompressed HD and UHD signals over IP based on the SMPTE ST 2110 standard. SMPTE 2110, now being finalised, is the culmination of the IP standards roadmap endorsed by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS). The tpc mobile production facility is designed to support HD and UHD formats, and is capable of interfacing with a variety of SDI and IP inputs. SNP and SMPTE 2110 allow the company to process uncompressed high-quality UHD and HD video signals to meet all customer preferences without requiring a mezzanine compression scheme or relying on nonstandard, proprietary interconnection hardware.

An IP-to-IP signal processing platform, the SNP provides the gamut of capabilities required in today’s evolving mobile production industry, including HD-UHD up-and-down conversion and colour space adjustments, as well as managing the High Dynamic Range (HDR) adaptations and conversions required for integrating UHD and HD signals. Imagine Communications’ SNP also provides important synchronisation and timing functions, overseeing the integration of new signals into the production environment and helping to assure the optimal timing of SMPTE 2110 signals for interoperability with all other compliant equipment.

The Imagine SNP is optimised for UHD production through support for redundant 100-Gigabit Ethernet network connections, each capable of delivering eight uncompressed UHD signals in each direction. Support for these high-capacity network connections, which are now commonplace in IT-based environments, eliminates the requirement to compress UHD signals and improves overall efficiency, as well as contributes to space and power-consumption savings and preserving picture quality and system latency. The standards-based SNP easily integrates with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) IP routing and switching equipment, providing media companies with the flexibility to work with a variety of technology suppliers for signal routing and management.

The high-density SNP utilises four integral processing blocks, each of which can be assigned a separate application and can be reprogrammed on the fly. The versatility of the SNP helps enable production companies to respond to the requirements of the current job, and then quickly reconfigure to tackle future assignments. The multipurpose nature and quick-configuration capabilities of the SNP can significantly reduce equipment requirements. The SNP system derives its exceptional processing capabilities from the latest generation of FPGA technology, coupled with Imagine Communications’ Zenium™ pure microservices-based software platform, allowing unprecedented density of signal processing functionality within a compact 1-RU package.

The SNP is a critical addition to Imagine Communications’ end-to-end next-generation solution portfolio. It can be paired with other UHD- and IP-ready solutions, including the EPIC™ MV mutiviewer, a next-generation monitoring and control system, and Versio™ modular playout, to form the heart of a state-of-the-art operations environment that is designed to easily integrate new capabilities and evolve in lockstep with market requirements.

In addition to featuring the SNP at its booth (SL1516), Imagine Communications will be participating in the 2017 NAB IP Showcase, a cooperation of multiple standards organizations and AIMS that is dedicated to demonstrating the interoperability of the SMPTE 2110 specification and highlighting the creative and business-building benefits of IP technology.

Imagine Communications names Anas Hantash as MENA sales director

Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, has appointed Anas Hantash as its new director of sales for the MENA region, effective immediately. Hantash takes over from Paul Wallis, who led the region since 2014.

Hantash brings more than 12 years of extensive technical, sales and business development experience to the role, having previously held the position of deputy director for the Middle East and Africa at Imagine Communications, where he was a key player behind several major broadcast projects in the region. Before joining Imagine Communications as a senior solutions sales architect in 2009, Hantash held senior broadcast engineering and operations roles in Arab Media Group (AMG) and National Broadcast Centre (NBC) Group.

“The MENA region is a crucial market for Imagine Communications, one where we are continuously involved in major projects,’ said Mathias Eckert, vice president for EMEA at Imagine Communications. “As he hands over the reins to Anas, I’d like to thank Paul for the tremendous work he has accomplished in positioning Imagine Communications as a technology leader during a time of seismic change, which saw traditional proprietary broadcast models move towards IP, software-defined, virtualized worlds.’

“A well-respected figure in the local broadcast community, Anas has extensive experience across all aspects of the integrated broadcast workflow,’ continued Eckert. “I look forward to supporting him in his endeavor to help inject traditional operations with the flexibility needed to meet the rapidly evolving consumption requirements fueled by changing consumer appetite for content on the go and on any device. Anas is ideally placed to clearly articulate to our clients in the region the benefits of moving operations to software-defined architectures and virtualized environments, and to ease their transition towards a hybrid SDI-IP or an all-IP world as and when they are ready to make the transition.’

To keep pace with the demands of the Middle East broadcast market, Imagine Communications is reshaping its regional office and will be hiring talented sales, pre-sales and solutions architects during 2017.

“A top priority in the region will be to strengthen ties with customers and partners by sharing knowledge and expertise about next-generation technologies with focused seminars, proof of concepts, demos and other activities to more effectively inform our customers about the benefit of more streamlined and efficient broadcast workflows,’ said Hantash. “I look forward to the opportunity to help media companies in this creative and dynamic region begin to build their media facilities of the future, today.’

Hantash holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and electronic engineering from Amman Private University.

Imagine Communications at NAB Show 2017

Imagine Communications, at NAB Show 2017, will showcase its latest product and solution innovations aimed at helping broadcasters and other media companies advance to or accelerate the adoption phase of the modernisation of their production, playout and distribution facilities. Imagine Communications has selected the media and entertainment industry’s largest tradeshow and exhibition, beginning 24 April in Las Vegas, as the venue for unveiling how its market-proven innovations are being utilised by media companies around the world to provide a step-by-step evolution of their current infrastructures and operations to the modernised facilities of the future.

One of the biggest challenges facing today’s broadcasters and other media companies is the seamless and disruption-free adoption of the next-generation architectures that will be required to meet the consumption demands of the not-too-distant future.

“The once-murky image of the media facility of the future has come into sharp focus over the past year, providing both content creators and distributors with a clearly defined destination at the end of their next-generation journeys,’ said Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt. “Media companies of all sizes and from all regions are now in a position to map out plans for the step-by-step transition of their current facilities and business models. By demonstrating Innovation at Work at NAB 2017, Imagine Communications is showcasing its commitment to helping our customers manage the “How to’ stage of the migration of their operations through breakthroughs in microservices design, Cloud-Native applications and our modular approach to solving their most demanding business challenges.’

At NAB Show 2017, Imagine will shine a spotlight on key module-based platforms, such as Selenio™ One, xG™, Versio™ and Zenium™, that are designed to enable media companies to construct and evolve their workflows at their own pace and in lockstep with market demands, seamlessly integrating the latest technologies and capabilities as they become available. The company will also demonstrate the comprehensiveness of its end-to-end portfolio, which spans ad management, linear and nonlinear, broadcast and OTT — including ATSC 3.0 — and enables unprecedented integration capabilities across workflows and all media and business operations.

ImagineLIVE Power Sessions
The relocated and redesigned Imagine Communications booth will be the venue for ImagineLIVE Power Sessions, featuring prominent executives and subject matter experts from Imagine Communications and its partners and customers from across the IT and media and entertainment industries. Twice daily, attendees will have first-hand access to information and insight on the trends and events that are influencing the decisions of media industry professionals today and into the future.

Topics range from groundbreaking implementations of next-gen technologies to new product introductions, including:

• The impact of the adoption of Cloud-Native and microservices-based applications on the future of the media & entertainment industry
• Breakthrough technology from Imagine Communications offering early support for the processing of uncompressed UHD signals over IP in conformance with SMPTE ST 2110
• How the capabilities being introduced in cloud-centric content origination and via the advanced delivery technologies of ATSC 3.0 will bring significant enhancements to future business models and technical implementations
• Monetisation and cost-saving benefits associated with Imagine’s Unified Distribution architecture, which calls for a full embrace of OTT transport and moving all services to a single network based on fragmented video technology
• Innovative ways in which some of the most prominent media companies in the world are utilising virtualized environments to revitalised their operations and generate new revenue
• How the move to a platform-based modular model for both operations and business systems introduces new cost efficiencies, provides greater agility and facilitates seamless integration across the end-to-end workflow

A detailed description and schedule of all ImagineLIVE Power Sessions will be made available several weeks before NAB.

Featured Solutions at NAB Show 2017
Visitors to the Imagine Communications booth will also have access to dozens of demonstrations that highlight the capabilities of the company’s current market-leading live production, playout, multiscreen delivery and ad management solution portfolios:

Live Production
Hybrid SDI-IP routing and multiviewer solutions empower media companies to transform sports, in-venue and other live production operations by leveraging standard IT equipment without squandering investments in traditional broadcast technology or sacrificing performance. Imagine Communications’ production and contribution portfolio provides ultra-low latency encoding and decoding and the delivery of standards-based uncompressed media over IP for HD and UHD, as well as third-party lightweight compression technologies. Imagine’s live production portfolio also supports the most recent UHD processing technologies, including up/down conversion, high dynamic range (HDR) image quality and precision timing. Imagine Communications will also participate in the NAB 2017 IP Showcase, a cooperation of multiple standards organizations and the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) dedicated to demonstrating the interoperability of the SMPTE 2110 specification (currently being drafted) and highlighting the creative and business-building benefits of IP technology.

Playout
Imagine Communications’ Nexio™ and Versio™ playout and graphic workflow solutions support compressed or uncompressed IP-based playout, advanced multichannel and UHD playback and branding. Also featured will be a new user interface, new automation features and the company’s native IP and hybrid playout and master control solutions, which seamlessly unify playout, automation and graphics supporting fully virtualized deployments for cloud environments. Showcasing its storage capabilities, Imagine will demonstrate the capabilities of Versio IOX, which provides sharable and scalable storage — SAN and NAS — throughout the content lifecycle while offering the highest levels of digital asset protection.

Multiscreen Delivery
Imagine’s multiscreen delivery portfolio is among the most comprehensive available and supports high-density and high video quality transcoding and delivery for OTT linear and on-demand services, all supported by advanced dynamic ad insertion (DAI) capabilities. An end-to-end cloud DVR solution, including recorders and packagers, is supported by advanced storage optimisation capabilities that enable video service providers to cost-effectively meet various legal and copyright requirements, including private copy laws. The company’s next-generation DAI and unified distribution portfolios enable content distributors to consolidate and simplify their infrastructures to reduce costs and explore new monetisation opportunities.

Advertising Management
Imagine’s end-to-end, multiplatform ad management portfolio features open, modular systems that help manage, connect, deliver and optimise ad revenue. Highlighted capabilities include sales, scheduling and analytics for linear and nonlinear monetisation. The company will also demonstrate groundbreaking integration of playout and scheduling achieved through the unification of its Versio™ and xG Schedule™ solutions, as well as hyperlocalised monetisation models that leverage the capabilities of ATSC 3.0.

Highlighting the deployment flexibility and versatility of the company’s recent innovations, Imagine Communications will also be showcasing many of its solutions as cloud services available through Microsoft Azure. Similarly, the company will be highlighting the power of Zenium, its microservices-based platform for building smarter applications and services for virtualized environments.

The adoption of a true microservices-based design architecture, which enables the creation of Cloud-Native applications that fully exploit the benefits of virtualized environments, is a critical component of any next-generation strategy, and media companies are increasingly recognising the importance of partnering with technology partners with a history of embracing microservices-design principles. In a forthcoming survey of more than 400 media professionals, nearly 75 per cent of respondents identified Cloud-Native application and an underlying microservices-based architecture as an important component of the media facility of the future.

For more information visit For more information visit Imagine Communications website.

Imagine Communications to outfit first-of-its-kind production vehicle

Imagine Communications has entered an agreement with Swiss broadcast service provider tpc, technology and production centre Switzerland ag, to provide the distribution core, processing and multiviewer technology for a next-generation mobile production vehicle that is expected to be the first in the industry to support uncompressed HD and UHD signals over IP based on the SMPTE ST 2110 standard for the transport of video and audio over IP networks.

The new vehicle will provide tpc, a leading producer of major international events for the Swiss and global markets, with a standards-based mobile production unit capable of simultaneously supporting HD and UHD production requirements at the highest video quality and seamlessly evolving to retain its state-of-the-art status for the next decade or more. The truck is being designed and built by SonoVTS, a leading European systems integrator based in Germany.

“Recognizing the rapidly evolving nature of the video production landscape and the need to construct a mobile vehicle with the ability to meet both today’s and tomorrow’s demand for cost efficiency and high production quality, we conducted a lengthy selection process to find a solution that would deliver next-generation capabilities today and seamlessly adapt new capabilities, such as HDR, as required in the future,’ said tpc CTO Andreas Lattmann. “tpc’s and Imagine Communications’ commitment to SMPTE 2110 enables us to meet these high expectations and deliver a solution that will reside on the cutting edge of mobile production for years to come.’

At the heart of the installation is breakthrough technology from Imagine Communications that will be the first to support the processing of uncompressed UHD signals over IP in conformance with SMPTE ST 2110, the industry-consensus standard for the transmission of video, audio and meta data over IP networks. SMPTE 2110, which is being finalized, is the current destination of the IP standards roadmap endorsed by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS). The entire solution is designed to support a variety of SDI and IP inputs, as well as HD and UHD formats, enabling tpc to process uncompressed high-quality video signals to meet all customer preferences without requiring a mezzanine compression scheme or relying on nonstandard, proprietary hardware.

The new tpc vehicle will also rely heavily on next-generation monitoring and control technology from Imagine Communications. The highly scalable and UHD-ready EPIC™ MV multiviewer helps tpc to effectively monitor the signals of a large number of dedicated screens, with inputs and monitor outputs all in IP.

“Imagine Communications enjoys a long and successful track record of fulfilling the technology requirements of tpc and is proud of playing a role in the company’s rich history of bringing the Swiss and global markets some of the most compelling content in the world,’ said Brick Eksten, Chief Product Officer, Imagine Communications. “We are extremely excited to be providing the innovation behind this breakthrough achievement and meeting tpc’s challenge to build a mobile production facility that will be relevant today and a decade in the future by delivering the agility and flexibility to withstand the blistering pace of technology advancement.’

Imagine Communications’ IP3 router selected by BBC Studioworks for new facility

Imagine Communications is providing its Platinum™ IP3 technology for the core routing infrastructure for the new technology platform at BBC Studioworks’ Television Centre studios. The recently redeveloped Television Centre, the BBC’s long-term home, will include three large studios and post production facilities integrated into a mixed-use site. The new studios are part of a greenfield development, providing BBC Studioworks with the opportunity to supply the technology behind a state-of-the-art modern production facility essentially from scratch.

BBC Studioworks (formerly BBC Studios & Post Production) is working with systems integrator Dega Broadcast Systems on the new infrastructure. They have worked closely to select equipment and technologies that are capable of supporting both today’s and future production requirements. Recognising that television facilities will increasingly require complex signal management and support for multiple formats, BBC Studioworks selected the Platinum IP3 router from Imagine Communications as a flexible and agile hub for managing SDI video and AES audio signals in the complex.

In addition to its core signal distribution functionality, the Platinum IP3 supports audio multiplexing and de-multiplexing, flexible and integrated multiviewer, and discrete AES or MADI signals. It is designed to work in a hybrid SDI-IP environment, with transparent operations across the two signal formats, and seamless and synchronous switching between SDI and IP domains. It also supports a rich control layer through the Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator, a software control system for hybrid SDI-IP facilities that enables the IP3 to be integrated into a service-oriented architecture.

“From our technology reviews, we felt that the Platinum IP3 gave us important benefits in system design,’ said Elom Bell, who is leading the technology procurement for BBC Studioworks. “The hybrid routing functionality eliminates the need for a separate audio matrix, and the I/O processing capabilities simplify the system architecture and increase flexibility.

“The router’s integrated multiviewer also simplifies overall system architecture, and the Magellan controller integrates with the Sony Live Studio management layer we have selected,’ Bell added. “Studio TC1 will be capable of producing 4K content from day one, and we see high dynamic range (HDR) production as an early opportunity. The Platinum IP3 is ready for that, and for IP connectivity, which we are also working on.’

The Platinum IP3 can be fortified with IP input and output modules based on the AIMS (Alliance for IP Media Solutions) roadmap to seamlessly connect to IP networks. Its control layer can be software updated to support IP networks based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Ethernet switches to provide a seamless and unified control and management experience.

The design of the new BBC Studioworks facility calls for two Platinum IP3 28RU router frames. One will be dedicated to Studio TC1. The other will handle signaling for Studio TC2 and Studio TC3. Both support a mixture of copper and fiber connectivity and have interface modules to link to the facility-wide MADI audio infrastructure. Platinum SX Pro multiviewer modules are included in each frame, supporting multiple displays with all the flexibility required for a fast-moving, live studio environment. In addition to supporting a broad spectrum of industry standards, the Platinum IP3 is suitable for multivendor environments and offers compatibility with a large selection of third-party IP network switch manufacturers.

“We are delighted to be involved in such a prestigious project,’ said Mathias Eckert, vice president of EMEA at Imagine Communications. “The Platinum IP3 was designed to be a single-point solution for powerful signal routing, distribution and monitoring for the video requirements of today and tomorrow. What BBC Studioworks is doing is exactly what we envisaged: choosing a powerful solution today, confident that as production and technology requirements develop it will continue to provide a solid foundation without the need for complex re-engineering.’

The new systems are currently being implemented on site at Television Centre in West London and at the workshops of Dega Broadcast. The studios and post production facilities will open its door on 1 September 2017.

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