Should we all be moving into the cloud?

Chris Newbould says he remains to be entirely convinced of its benefits

The cloud seems to be becoming ever more pervasive in all areas of the media recently. Personally, I remain to be entirely convinced of its benefits. I’m something of a luddite about these things, and I like to know where my documents are.

Granted, when my laptop decides to lose them, or simply not start at all, I still can’t do anything about it, but at least this way I can blame my own shortcomings for my plight. Or, more likely, blame my hardware’s shortcomings, but I still know where to point the fickle finger of blame. How do you point at the cloud?

Nonetheless, the cloud is here, and according to a new report from Nativ, the media management and workflow expert,  the film and TV industries are lagging way behind many others on making the most of what it has to offer.

The report outlines the shortcomings and challenges of current workflow practices and is setting out Nativ’s vision for helping the market work smarter, cheaper and faster.

In the new world of multi-platform TV and film, harnessing content and cost-effectively managing its production and delivery offers huge opportunities for content owners and brands. Whether it is branded content or feature length films, it has never been more important, or indeed more possible, to reach new and existing consumers any place, any time.

Despite this, says the report, many media companies have a difficult time exploiting that opportunity. As demand for high quality content increases so too do the file sizes and the complexity of managing and delivering it to a myriad of platforms.

New technological advances like file-based workflow and the cloud are revolutionising the way production, post-production and distribution companies create, manage, repurpose and deliver content. Although these advances by no means solve every problem, new platforms are maturing and stepping up to meet the challenge, but still many media companies are not taking advantage of the opportunities these new technologies bring.

The report highlights a number of factors that make file-based workflows more important than ever, including:

Economics – There is less money around, so companies need to avoid overspend on media management and workflow. This can only be brought about by replacing expensive hardware and manual labour with automation software running on commodity infrastructure.

Change – The video ecosystem is going through rapid change. Not only are viewing habits changing but standards and formats are changing. From file formats and metadata to delivery mechanisms and video platforms - being able to adapt workflows quickly and easily is the key to survival.

Concluding the report, Naiv’s CEO Jon Folland says: “Implementing file-based workflow automation should be a no brainer, but the ‘cost-barrier’ for entry and the risk of implementation is often extremely high,”

“Fortunately new technologies are removing some of these barriers and opening up opportunities for SaaS-based models in TV and film. Media management and workflow products, which have been designed from the ground up to live in the cloud have been developed to overcome these challenges.”.

Of course, he would say that - he represents a company that makes cloud products. So are you ready to abandon your in-house infrastructure and put your faith in the cloud? I may be a cynic, but I can’t help thinking a lot of people probably aren’t. Then again, I use Gmail, so I may be a hypocrite too.

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Posted by: Ted Coombs

Cloud-based computing has moved from being a questionable and nascent technology to the way things are done, the same way email became a de-facto way to communicate, or now social media has become an important way to advertise. Companies are now making use of these technologies in areas like work-flow management in projects that use freelancers from multiple countries. We successfully employ cloud computing as part of our workersoncall marketplace and suggest that other companies begin planning for this technology to remain a pervasive part of their business.

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