NAB Preview: Imagine Communications

Imagine Communications thinks we are poised to see a quantum shift in cloud technology. The traditional broadcast industry has naturally been wary of the cloud: not just the shock of the new, but also the challenges of finding the best workflows and, of course, the costs of storage, compute, and particularly egress.

“What the last couple of years have shown us, though, is that we must have the capability to do any job in the media chain remotely,” says Steve Reynolds, Imagine’s President. “Business continuity plans now have to include options just in case this happens again.”

Remote production is now absolutely commonplace. Disaster recovery in the cloud is becoming the norm. Now the logjam has been broken, we will see media businesses instinctively turning to the cloud because it can deliver the scalability they need to spool up new services, to test markets, and to build new workflows. Also, as cyberthreats continue to make headlines, cloud-based technology is being used as an immediate, practical solution for business continuity and revenue protection.

“One other important point, I think, is that as an industry, we are becoming more open,” Reynolds says. “Vendors are ready to share APIs to ensure best-of-breed solutions can be built, quickly and securely ― and our SureFire and Aviator platforms are built to that model from day one. This approach also helps us forge strong new partnerships, like the one between Panasonic and Imagine, where our Selenio Network Processor (SNP) is the perfect signal management partner for the KAIROS IP production switcher, bridging the SDI and IP worlds using an open, standards-based approach based on ST-2110 and NMOS.”

Imagine are launching a number of new products at NAB, including Imagine Aviator and SureFire which Reynolds is particularly bullish about.

“We often talk about transformational technology, but these really are a totally new way of addressing the modern media marketplace.”

SureFire is described as a cross-platform video ad server that provides the linear-like control and brand protection media companies need to directly sell premium inventory on addressable streaming platforms. It lowers overall costs by eliminating linear and digital silos, while allowing media companies to increase margins and maximize profit by eliminating intermediaries that take a percentage of ad revenue. And it does this while also delivering a better experience for the advertisers and for the viewers.

“SureFire is an innovative, revenue-driving tool on its own, but it also forms just one part of Aviator, which is without question Imagine’s most consequential technology introduction at this year’s show,” he says.

“Aviator is the first cloud-native platform that enables media companies to plan, make and monetize premium-quality linear and OTT content in a single, unified platform. This new solution takes you every step of the way from acquiring content and agreeing rights, through scheduling, and asset management to multi-platform, multi-version playout. With, of course, a unified advertising sales and ad-serving model fully integrated. It will enable media companies to significantly improve the revenue of otherwise under-monetized OTT content and generate greater profitability from their media assets across all of their viewers.

“I know you expect me to shout about our plans, but I honestly think that Aviator is going to be one of the top talking points at NAB this year.”

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