IBC 2017: Avid Debuts New Azure Offerings; Signiant Shows Off Fortium, GrayMeta Partnerships

Among all the companies that unveiled new solutions at IBC 2017, perhaps none made as much early noise as media tech provider Avid.

In “its largest-ever set of launches at an IBC show,” Avid introduced its new MediaCentral production suite, next-gen 4K/IP video servers, an expanded graphics line-up, and new solutions and services created for the cloud.

“At IBC2017, Avid is delivering on the promise of the cloud, laid out just five months ago at Avid Connect 2017, to help our customers and the industry at large better manage the disruptive forces that have been bearing down on them for far too long, and achieve new heights in creativity, efficiency and flexibility,” said Avid chairman and CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr. “Coming full circle with all of our introductions this week at IBC, this is precisely what we had envisioned after thousands of industry professionals crystallized their priorities through the inaugural Avid Customer Association vote to guide our strategic priorities.

“Thanks to their collective voice, Avid is innovating faster than ever to help them solve their most pressing needs, and they should only expect to see us accelerate the pace.”

Among the announcements:

• Avid debuted its next-gen media production suite, MediaCentral, which promises to enable all manner of workflows for news, sports, and post-production, connecting users in a completely integrated workflow environment with one unified view into all associated media. The MediaCentral production suite is customizable and modular; features a new cloud-based user experience; workflow modules and apps for editorial, news, graphics, and asset management; and an array of media services and partner connectors.

• Avid showed off new cloud offerings and certified solutions for Microsoft Azure with the goal of giving media professionals better workflow efficiency and flexibility. Those new solutions included MediaCentral Archive and MediaCentral Newsroom for Azure, MediaCentral Cloud UX, MediaCentral Panel for Media Composer, Media Composer Cloud VM, Media Composer Cloud Remote, and Sibelius Cloud Publishing

“At NAB 2017, we unveiled our vision for bringing Avid into the cloud along with a comprehensive partnership with Microsoft as our preferred cloud provider,” said Dana Ruzicka, VP and chief product officer for Avid. “Since then, the reaction from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive. This really is the beginning of the cloud era for our industry. We’re excited to help our clients successfully navigate their own journey to the cloud, with the first of many new cloud offerings from Avid launching today at IBC.

“Whether customers choose to deploy in the data center or the public cloud, Avid’s unique platform approach delivers unparalleled workflow efficiency and flexibility across the entire spectrum of media production.”

• The unveiling of the new Avid FastServe family of video servers —integrated into the Avid MediaCentral platform — to tackle UHD/4K workflows. The video servers feature a unified modular architecture that supports UHD to manage the ingest, turnaround, and playout of content in broadcast, news and sports. The servers support higher channel counts per video, resulting in lower costs-per-channel.

“Due to the increasing rate of content creation for sports, news, and live event production, professionals need to encode, edit, and distribute more content to more outlets in higher resolutions,” Ruzicka said. “The new FastServe video servers have increased the number of channels per server and are tightly integrated to Avid NEXIS storage, MediaCentral, and Media Composer for end-to-end 4K aggregation, production, and delivery at a lower cost.”

In other news at IBC from members of the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA):


Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions provider Signiant announced a slew of partnerships at IBC 2017, drawing some of the biggest names in the media and entertainment space to its interface for on-premises and cloud storage, which allows for the easy sharing of large media assets across globally distributed locations.

• Thanks to a new partnership with digital content protection solutions provider Fortium, Signiant has new security option for Media Shuttle, the person-centric variant of the company’s SaaS platform, augmenting Shuttle’s built-in security model. The new Fortium tech provides increased access control and allows files to remain encrypted while they move through finishing workflows, and out into the supply chain.

“Media Shuttle was brought to market as a simple tool for sending and sharing files, but today it is much more. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on it as the primary interface to the storage that holds their high-value media assets.” said Margaret Craig, CEO of Signiant. “We’re working closely with customers to accommodate their desire for the Signiant SaaS framework to support a broad range of workflows, and we are excited to partner with Fortium for situations where extreme content security is paramount.”

Mathew Gilliat-Smith, CEO at Fortium, added: “Recent high-profile security breaches have increased demand for our solutions. Customers naturally want our software to work well with their other mission-critical applications, so alignment with Media Shuttle is in high demand. As a recognized leader in developing next-generation solutions, Signiant is the ideal partner for advancing the state of media technology and bringing it to companies large and small.”

• A new partnership with cloud media processing firm Hybrik has the latter bringing the former “a unique new model to the cloud transcoding space that aligns particularly well with Signiant’s pioneering efforts to make cloud technology accessible to the industry,” the companies announced in a statement.

“Our customers are increasingly configuring Media Shuttle portals to serve as landing pads for various cloud services,” Craig said. “The starting point for any cloud workflow is to get the assets into cloud storage, and our technology is the fastest and easiest means of accomplishing that. Once there, the Media Shuttle interface provides a familiar mechanism for managing the files and keeping them ready for eventual distribution. Customers are designing advanced workflows with Shuttle portals as the cloud storage anchor point, and we’re working closely with companies like Hybrik to make these deployments as seamless as possible.”

David Trescot, CEO at Hybrik, added: “Hybrik’s disruptive cloud transcoding offering is getting great traction within the industry. As our market position grows, our workflows inevitably intersect with the enormous global footprint of Media Shuttle. With Media Shuttle portals serving as the primary cloud storage virtualization mechanism for many customers, Signiant is providing much more than accelerated transport as media enterprises of all sizes become cloud-ready. We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate as the market evolves. ”

• Signiant is also using IBC to show off how its partnership with GrayMeta makes for a unique combination of cloud intelligence tools with metadata extraction and asset management, and that “Signiant and GrayMeta have both aligned their solutions with the desire of modern media enterprises to employ the most cost-effective tool for every task,” a statement from the companies read.

“Media Shuttle has been an invaluable tool for us,” said Josh Wiggins, CCO for GrayMeta. “Whenever we’re introducing customers to our solution, we ask them to send some sample content to AWS or Azure through our Shuttle portal. It’s always a flawless experience, so we understand why the industry now regards Shuttle as the default solution. As the GrayMeta offering gains traction, touch points with the Signiant platform are inevitable. We look forward to working together to make those workflows as seamless as possible for our mutual customers.”

BeBop Technology

Cloud workflow solutions BeBop Technology used IBC 2017 to debut BeBop Rocket, a content transfer tool designed specifically for the cloud and optimized for speed and security, while also touting cost-effectiveness.

“BeBop is the media and entertainment industry’s most secure cloud-based post-production platform, and a critical missing link in the marketplace has been an affordable way to quickly and safely upload content to the Cloud,” said Bruce K. Long, CEO and co-founder of BeBop Technology. “BeBop Rocket is an elegant, purely cloud-focused solution which we can offer for a fraction of the price of on premises tools like Aspera or Signiant.”

Already being deployed with several customers, BeBop Rocket is patent-pending and promises secure, real-time content transportation and ingestion. The tool promises the ability to transfer any file size for one price, using any format or codec, from any location, with full encryption and automatic backups of original camera footage, to facilitate archiving and disaster recovery.

Content is viewable anywhere in the world on the secure BeBop platform, and files cannot be downloaded except by authorized people. A premium feature of BeBop Rocket, dubbed BeBop Fusion, enables hot folders that automatically mirror on premises content assets in the cloud.


Forensic watermarking technology and solutions provider NexGuard announced a partnership with virtualized media production firm Nevion, a collaboration that will implement NexGuard’s Network ID product in Nevion’s media nodes.

NexGuard’s Network ID solution inserts a unique, invisible forensic watermark in primary distribution feeds for linear TV. Nevion’s media nodes are used by broadcasters and service providers both for production and distribution applications.

“Tracing illicit content activity is a necessary and critical first step in fighting today’s greatest piracy challenges, such as the illegal re-distribution of live sports,” said Harrie Tholen, managing director of NexGuard. “NexGuard is honored to be working with Nevion to provide a solution that is pre-integrated with today’s TV & Media industry workflows. Network ID offers a clear indication of the sources of piracy, so that rights holders can focus their anti-piracy efforts where it matters.”

Andy Rayner, chief technologist for Nevion, added: “Nevion equipment is trusted by leading broadcasters and service providers across the globe to transport broadcast signals reliably and securely in real-time over considerable distances. Almost every significant live sport event relies on Nevion equipment for example. It makes total sense for us to work closely with NexGuard to implement their Network ID solution into our media equipment to provide our customers with even greater security for their valuable content.”


Cisco announced several new partnerships, including a collaboration with Snell Advanced Media (SAM) to integrate Cisco’s IP Fabric for Media offering into existing IP networking solutions.

The partnership calls for the companies to offer integrated IP networking solution, with SAM folding in Cisco solutions as part of its IP, and reselling the Cisco solutions to include Cisco Nexus 9000 series switches and Data Centre Network Manager (DCNM) software-defined networking solutions.

“Pairing SAM’s IP portfolio with Cisco’s offers us the ability to drive greater IP industry adoption,” said Bryan Bedford, global business development, strategy and channel lead, for sports, media and retail, at Cisco. “Our collaboration continues to help joint customers further the transitions from legacy architectures to IP and cloud, offering the speed and agility they need to launch new services.”

Robert Szabó-Rowe, EVP and GM of live production and infrastructure for SAM, added: “Cisco is the number one switch supplier in the market and as part of our commitment to IP and our customers, today’s announcement is an important step in our IP strategy. By working with Cisco, we offer customers more choice and we also simplify the process for them, providing a single supplier approach, reducing risk as well as making deploying IP easier.”

Cisco also announced a partnership with NBCUniversal, with the entertainment giant using Cisco Media Blueprint to move “broadcast and video network architecture to IP and cloud-based on a set of IP-based infrastructure and software solutions, that accelerate the creation, delivery and monetization of immersive experiences, as well as Cisco Advanced Services,” the companies said in a statement.

The transition from serial digital interface (SDI) technology to IP with Cisco IP Fabric for Media; managing video distribution over terrestrial IP with the Cisco Virtual Digital Content Manager (DCM); and the use of the Cisco D9800 Network Transport Receiver platform are among the partner initiatives NBCUniversal and Cisco have undertaken.

“IP truly is the video distribution mechanism of the future, to efficiently deliver video in all formats to all screens with a quality experience,” said Keith Jackson, CTO and SVP of engineering, operations and technology for NBCUniversal. “Our work with Cisco to build the Media Factory has defined our path to an IP transition for simpler and better networking and media delivery practices through automation and virtualization.”

Dave Ward, CTO of engineering and chief architect for Cisco, added: “Cisco and NBCUniversal continue to drive innovation by developing an open, media-optimized infrastructure with an IP foundation. Our close collaboration over the years involves confidently navigating key technology transitions including NFV, SDN, IP, UHD, HEVC, and more. We have crossed many milestones to deliver seamless orchestration of video workflows, paving the way for application- and software-led practices we are all excited about.”

Dell EMC

Dell EMC used IBC to announce both new partner support and to showcase products for media and entertainment, with Adobe, Autodesk and Dalet sharing how they’ve used solutions like Dell EMC Isilon scale-out NAS and Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) for multi-screen delivery, uncompressed 4K editing, real-time editing and 3D VR creation.

In the past five years, media and entertainment customers have added more than 1.5 exabytes of Dell EMC unstructured data storage to support their workflows (or the equivalent of 70 million hours of Blu-ray Disc video).

“Dell EMC has deep roots in media and entertainment, and that expertise is borne out in our continued innovation: for example, Isilon All-Flash storage offers unmatched levels of performance, scale and density to customers,” said Thomas Burns, CTO of media and entertainment for Dell EMC. “Our mission is to simplify IT infrastructure for our customers, while offering screaming-fast performance and support for critical and emerging workloads.”