New CEO Drives MediaKind As A “Solutions-Centric” Startup

With a mature cloud-based product strategy and a new CEO, MediaKind is looking to help customers reduce latency and maintain quality for their enterprise-level video processing and delivery infrastructures. This IT-centric product road map, developed over the past 18 months, includes support for ST 2110 workflows and access to microservices that enables channels to be launched quickly and efficiently… and taken down equally fast.

At a virtual press conference, new CEO Matt McConnell said he’s looking at his new role at MediaKind, which began in July, with a startup mentality. Prior to this he served as SVP & General Manager of Comcast Technology Solutions. He reports directly to the board of directors, including former CEO Angel Ruiz, who is now Chairman of the Board at MediaKind.

“My background working at several startups [as well as at large corporations like AOL, Level-3 and Comcast] is applicable to what we’re trying to do here,” said McConnell. “My view is that we have an incredible opportunity as a standalone company to drive innovation and investment in new technologies. Indeed, much more of a startup. We have the rich history [Ericsson] and technology assets, now I want to apply that to a startup mentality.”

New CEO Matt McConnell has held several startup and corporate positions, but the agility of a startup is what he’s focused on with MediaKind.

New CEO Matt McConnell has held several startup and corporate positions, but the agility of a startup is what he’s focused on with MediaKind.

He said moving from a managed infrastructure company to one that will leverage the public Internet for content delivery is complex, but they are determined to get it right. Under his leadership MediaKind is now pursuing a “solutions centric approach” that can be custom configured for several different segments of the media industry: including contribution, ad insertion and direct distribution to consumers.

“It’s about being dynamic and flexible to move quickly with the cloud,” said Alan Broome, CTO. “We can focus where we can innovate with having to deal with lower level infrastructure components.”

This approach, Broome said, features a cloud-centric, open source Kubernetes orchestration layer (microservices) that provides the MediaKind platform with the agility required by content providers to easily scale individual services (transcoding, security, and multiplatform distribution) up or down.

“We want to allow all of the components that make up a system to be able to move at their own rate of change and allow customers to scale, upgrade and innovate so that the overall solution moves quickly,” he said. “We’ve reduced the surface area of change and made improvements to the system safe and easy. We’re trying to simplify the transition for our customers.”

The new CE1 cloud-native encoder supports HEVC, MPEG-4, AVC compression, as well as HD and UHD video streams.

The new CE1 cloud-native encoder supports HEVC, MPEG-4, AVC compression, as well as HD and UHD video streams.

MediaKind’s microservices strategy is targeted at large deployments like that at the regional sports network New England Sports Network (NESN). MediaKind is working with The Switch to support the provision of next-generation IP infrastructure and content delivery services for NESN. The Switch, a provider of production services and live video delivery, has selected MediaKind’s Cygnus Distribution product suite to upgrade and replace NESN’s existing satellite distribution platform with an IP-based terrestrial distribution solution.

The workflow supports NESN’s transition to IP-based media delivery, bringing significant cost savings and flexibility. The agreement combines the latest video processing and content protection technology from MediaKind with The Switch’s hybrid fiber network. This allows NESN to deliver live sports content to broadcasters across any network, in 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) high dynamic range (HDR) quality.

The Switch has deployed several MediaKind solutions: including MK Stream Processing, a software-based stream processing application that ensures high availability and delivery efficiency on all broadcast and multiscreen platforms. The MediaKind System Multiplexer supports NESN’s mission-critical stream processing applications in terrestrial central headends, allowing for greater flexibility and upgrade ease for future system expansions, while also saving precious space in operational centers. The deployment of MK RX1 decoder enables the efficient delivery of NESN’s content at low-latency. The workflow is controlled and encrypted by MediaKind Cygnus Director and supported by the SRT open source transport specification.

“Broadcasters and content providers are all looking for solutions that can operate at scale, especially when we think about video distribution over IP,” said Raul Aldrey, Chief Product Officer at MediaKind. “Having a full end-to-end integration of this ecosystem is paramount. Controlling all of the moving parts is something that they are actively looking for from someone like MediaKind that can provide a technology stack that guarantees the quality of their video streams. In many cases customers are deploying a combination of private and public cloud deployments, as well as other services running on premise.”

At the virtual press event, Aldrey introduced a new software-based cloud native contribution encoder, the CE1, that enables production of live events and supports HEVC, MPEG-4, AVC compression, as well as HD and UHD video. Targeted at public and private cloud deployments, the CE1 is based on X86 processor for reliable streaking of live events. The new encoder can be used with MediaKind’s existing RX1 decoder to create an end-to-end solution for contribution and distribution.

The CE1 supports 4:2:2 10-bit content contribution into the cloud, reducing the bitrate required to deliver media experiences. It also accommodates industry standards like Secure Reliable Transport (SRT), and BISS-CA, which help to strengthen MediaKind’s Cygnus Contribution solution with enhanced IP interoperability and security over managed and unmanaged networks.

“The environment we’re in today has created new challenges,” said McConnell. “We’re working remotely and in different ways. We just have to adjust. My strategy is built around our employee base, our customer base and the third is the business itself. Having the right people we can do anything.

“[The myriad of changes happening today] requires us to be agile, very startup oriented, and very disciplined and direct in what we do,” he said, adding that organic expansion and targeted acquisitions were part of his plan to grow the company. “MediaKind is a unique company in that it came from a corporate environment to be a standalone entity and a much more vibrant company. We plan to continue to innovate and add passionate talented people to support our customer base. We want to be a leader, not a fast follower.”

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