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  • Writer's pictureSimon Harper

How media orchestration can improve your workflow and reduce costs

How media orchestration can improve your workflow and reduce costs!

In the last few years, media companies have been under pressure to produce more content, tasks and add new technologies to their Media Asset Management systems.

Normally when we talk about Media Asset Management (MAM), some people flinch in fear or roll their eyes. And we understand them. These systems came with a promise of being an “all-in-one” solution, but their delivery was not exactly what they promised: a lot of manual tasks and expensive operations were required to manage these different tasks.

The traditional Media Asset Management

Back in the day, MAM systems started out as a platform to manage media assets (ingesting, archiving, distributing). So, they were designed for specific purposes, with some features added later. As a result, many workflows today are standalone programmes with their own task features or bespoke code designed to accomplish certain tasks or initiate processes in another applications.

When they were originally designed, however, these systems did not take into consideration the complexity of today’s workflow: new technologies being added to the workflow, collaborative teams in different locations, part of the work being done on cloud and another part on premisses, customers watching content on different types of devices and more...

For many years we can see IT people pulling out their hair trying to find ways of integrating all these new tasks and technologies into one workflow. Ultimately, the lack of connectivity between the systems and incompatible formats generated a lot of manual and expensive operations.

There was a need for something to manage it all. So here is where orchestration was missing.

So, what is media orchestration?

Frequently we hear about orchestration related to classical or jazz music. Musicians explain orchestration as the coordination of different instruments to play the musical piece harmonically. The tech industry describes orchestration as “the automated arrangement, coordination, and management of complex computer systems, middleware, and services”.

Frequently, we see the term orchestration being associate with automation. In simple terms, orchestration is automating many tasks at the same time. It is automation not of a single task but an entire workflow process. Orchestrating a process, then, is automating a series of individual tasks to work together.

Most broadcast, production and post-production companies have their media workflow systems divided between the computer hardware and software. The workflow's success is dependent on a complex mix of software and devices operating at the same time. Many of these are independently programmed in the application and then managed and monitored through the user interface.

The main system that controls and monitors all these different elements is what we call orchestration. More than a component, Orchestration sits on top of the MAM and all the automation processes. Because numerous tasks are taking place at the same time, the orchestration system oversees everything that is happening. wor

An orchestration system may tell you what the encoder or transcoder is doing, where it is placing things, and whether or not QC is required. It keeps track of these procedures and ensures that the media is sent on to the next step.

A MAM orchestrator saves time and money by automating many manual tasks across the media management lifecycle — from bulk intake and transcoding to OTT fulfilment and playout — by acting as a central operational centre.

Media orchestration provides the solution for the traditional media asset systems, monitoring and controlling multiple productions and playing out tasks requiring minimal operator input. As a result, you can reduce your operational costs and improve the efficiency and quality of your media workflow.

Ortana’s Media Orchestrator

Since we created Ortana Media Group back in 2012, our team has been dealing with a common problem among traditional MAM systems: the necessity to manage an increasing number of new tasks and technologies added to the workflow.

Our main platform, Cubix, was built from the ground up to be flexible and scalable, a MAM and orchestration platform that needed to intelligently and, most critically, end to end integrate a wide range of media supply chains.

As a result, Cubix has an instant advantage over typical MAM solutions since it was built from the ground up to handle workflows across the media spectrum rather than being tailored to single linear channel requirements.

Cubix's enterprise architecture ensures that there is no single point of failure, and its capacity to expand both on-premise and in the cloud assures that it can meet even the highest media workflow demands. Specific workflows can be created for various channels, material categories, and other factors, ensuring that all content is handled by the appropriate team at the appropriate time.

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