In the media industry right now, a lot of people are publishing opinions on the cloud. But they tend to focus on the features of the cloud, not the benefits.
We are all very aware of the features offered by outsourcing storage and processing. It is scalable, so you can turn things on and off, giving you the agility to try new things. But what are the things you might want to turn on and off? What, in short, are the benefits.
Take the case of a post house. You have a building, a fixed amount of space for which you pay rent. In that you build some facilities – edit suites, grading rooms, audio mixing and so on – and equip it with the necessary hardware and network connectivity. That is the limit of what you can offer, short of taking on more space, paying more rent, and buying more hardware.
If you are in a market, like London or New York, which expects city-centre facilities, it may not even be possible to expand. It will certainly be very expensive.
Today, if a regular and important client comes in with a large and interesting project, they may well say they want to edit from their location. Or the set. Or from the editor’s home. Blocking out an edit suite for the project, knowing that the room will be empty and the editor working over Teradici – looks like a poor use of your expensive real estate and resources. The client will certainly want to negotiate a discounted rate, but all you are saving is the runner’s time making cappuccinos. Rent, business rates, power and all the other overheads will still be there.
You could, of course, say that they can be in the building or they can be on the other side of the world: the rate for the edit suite is always the same. The client would then most likely shop around and either find someone else to do it for them, or potentially put something together on Amazon Web Services (AWS) themselves. Either way, you’ve lost this project, and perhaps the client, forever.
Or maybe you are a broadcaster, and your commercial team win the rights to a high profile sporting event. Suddenly you are asked to add a huge amount of editorial capacity, for a short time. Taking the conventional approach of building the extra edit suites – buying hardware and converting office space to creative rooms, even renting OB trucks – is not commercially viable if it is all going to be redundant the day after the event finishes.
Perhaps you want to experiment with augmented reality in one of your studios, because someone wants to try it on a pilot production which may turn out to be a one-off or may become a series. To support it, you need to add a lot of processing and storage for design and rendering, in order to create the virtual elements and give the show the wow factor.
These are the sort of opportunities for which the cloud can deliver real benefits. This is why we talk about scalability in the cloud, about being agile enough to add facilities and functionality quickly when you need it, without heavy capital investment which may never be amortised.
But the cloud is a great leveller. If we agree that you can do all these things in the cloud, then any disruptor could come in and win these sort of contracts from a blank sheet of paper.
The reason that the cloud opens up these opportunities for established businesses is that you already have proven strengths. The cloud just gives you the added capacity. To take advantage of it, you must move your existing business to be cloud-ready.
Importantly, you are not abandoning anything you already have today. Your capital investments, your business reputation, your physical location and working environments: they all stay exactly as they are, carrying on winning you business.
Now is the time to start building some experience in the cloud, no matter how small, so that you have the wheels greased, you have the systems in place so you are ready to go when the call comes. People across your business need to become comfortable with the cloud, allowing you to confidently guide clients who want to take advantage of your remote capabilities, or your pop-up extended functionality.
The reason that we call our cloud storage and asset management platform FLEX is that it is built, from the ground up, to be completely flexible for both on the ground and in the cloud. That includes the ability to scale up and down, in compute as well as storage, without any changes to the user interface or working environment.
Making a small investment to start your experiments with FLEX in the cloud will help you realise just how simple it is to operate, how to add capacity as you need it, where it shines, and what changes you made need to adapt your workflows.
Armed with that knowledge and understanding, you now have a big advantage in the marketplace, because you’re ready to ramp up capabilities on demand. Your cloud experience becomes a demonstrable asset when pitching. You can punch well above your weight, simply because you can turn on the capacity you need at any time.
That is the real benefit of the cloud: it allows you to step up to any business opportunity and deliver creative quality, whatever the requirement and wherever the location.