BEING SMART ABOUT IP As you make the move to IP – and you will – a careful inventory of what you already have is essential
P-based workflows offer greater flexibility for running your facility – even in terms of how much IP you want to bring on board. This isn’t an either/or proposition. The best approach is to look at what you have, then make the choices that are going to help you get where you want to go. “When the question comes up about how to incorporate IP technology, I have to ask first: What do we mean by IP?” says Miroslav Jeras, CTO of Pebble. “There can be IP signal distribution within a facility with SMPTE 2110 inputs and outputs that replaces an SDI infrastructure. But there are people who also want to use public cloud – I would call that a different variety of IP.” The pandemic’s interference with business as usual has resulted in the slowing down of big, on-premises IP infrastructure installations – and a rapid acceleration of IP through the cloud. Even on-premises upgrades adapted to working remotely, notes Jeras, with increased demand for
web-based control and monitoring solutions, like Pebble Remote: “Eventually, everything will be IP- based. The question you need to ask is, do you need to make the spend on those new technologies right now?” Getting rid of old infrastructure is a bit like moving away from fossil fuels to power your vehicles – you know you’re going to do it eventually, but will it be this year? To extend the analogy further, do you lease or use public transport before making the next purchase? With a big IP replacement movement, there could be significant costs if building a new infrastructure on-premises, and there’s the need to retrain engineers still working in the SDI world to consider. If you aren’t locked into already-existing infrastructure, it might make sense to look to a future that employs more cloud-based options. Intelligent decisions about IP are going to be formed more on an inventory of what you already have, than on any new toys you want. The Asharq News channel – a partnership between Bloomberg and Saudi publishing giant SRMG – went live in 2020, in a brand-new facility able to incorporate an IP mentality from the ground up. Other broadcasters are still straddling both the old and new, with machine rooms filled with routers on one side, and racks of SDI equipment on the other. As those broadcasters expand, IP
will be the key to allowing greater technological capabilities. Where and when is key. Broadcast playout happens 24/7, and while there are good arguments for using cloud in certain scenarios, continuously paying for playout in the cloud might break the bank. There are savings to be made using on-premises infrastructure, if that’s something you’re going to be using all the time. When bringing IP into your media business, don’t just make a wish list of desirable technology. Look at what you have, then decide how IP can bring you to the next level of flexibility, reach and revenue.
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