IBM today unveiled enhancements to its Media Hub Solution Framework that will enable broadcasters and media companies to increase production efficiencies while reducing costs.
Media Hub is an open standards-based solution for managing media companies' work processes and is based on the IBM Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Business Process Management platforms.
These enhancements include new, standards-based methods for connecting applications and web-services -- such as digital asset management, encoding and publishing -- to Media Hub, and the publication of technical guidelines to assist software developers looking to build these connectors. Additionally, IBM will be demonstrating the ability to seamlessly connect cloud computing resources and services to Media Hub at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in Las Vegas, NV.
Broadcast companies, movie studios and online media networks use software tools and applications from various providers to create, manage and distribute news, entertainment and information. In today's ever changing, fast-paced marketplace, these software tools need to be integrated in the most flexible and dynamic ways possible to enable the work to flow efficiently.
By allowing media companies to automate and streamline core business processes, the Media Hub framework enables them to quickly adjust to changes in business priorities, the marketplace and resource availabilities.
For example, working with IBM, the BBC is capturing the benefits of end-to-end digital workflow using systems-based SOA approaches.
"The Walt Disney Company has embarked on a series of transformation
initiatives," said Jeff Mirich, senior vice president and chief
information officer of The Walt Disney Studios. "We have already begun
to implement workflows like digital dailies using these sorts of new
To date, more than 25 leading media software developers have embraced Media Hub and dozens of back office application providers are already part of IBM's media and entertainment business partner ecosystem.
Open Standards-Based Connectors for Media Services
As part of the ongoing enhancements, IBM has developed the Abstract Service Definition (ASD) for media services. The ASD outlines how to efficiently create web-service connections that standardize media service connectivity. This brings consistency to the software development process by providing a high-level, common description of media services. IBM has defined 11 initial classes of services using the ASD construct for common media functions such as encoding, transcoding, watermarking, archive, playout and scheduling.
"Moving from a tightly coupled and rigid workflow environment -- which drains productivity and budgets -- to common standards will be beneficial for the entire industry," said Steve Canepa, general manager, IBM Media & Entertainment industry. "Having a 'smarter' software architecture that allows media firms to pick the best applications and solutions for their needs and connect them into their workflows is a tremendous step forward."
IBM is also publishing technical guidelines for software developers to write ASDs:
The guidelines will enable software developers to use the ASD classes as templates to build standards-based connectors for IBM's Media Hub Solution Framework and other open systems-based platforms.
Among the software developers already offering support of the ASD for media services are:
Inlet Technologies is building transcode and quality control ASD connectors. The transcode connector, built on Inlet's Fathom(R) and Armada(TM) products, will offer support for a vast array of input and output codecs as well as low-level compressionist settings to maximize quality. The quality control connector, based on Inlet's Semaphore(TM) software, will offer business-rule driven automated quality control integration, and allow for both format compliance and audio/video integrity to be checked in a common set of customizable rules.
ScheduALL : Drawing upon its expertise in enabling streamlined scheduling of resources and media assets, ScheduAll is working with IBM to enable the smooth integration of scheduling systems with other key systems in large enterprises that move and manipulate the digital content and data used in the broadcast and media production industries. The challenge today is about more than scheduling rooms, people and equipment; it's about making sure that the right media is in the right place at the right time to support efficient operations.
Metaglue is supporting this industry initiative with its experience in MXF, metadata and Service Oriented Architectures. Metaglue is providing test implementations and assistance in drafting technical standards and the firm's MXF source library is being employed to provide an efficient and flexible development environment.