Media & Entertainment Industry Trends, Technology and Research

Cloud Media Services realizing true content ubiquity – Anywhere, AnyDevice – Part I

Posted In Cloud Media Services, Featured, New Media - By Nitin Narang on Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 With 2 Comments
Why Cloud Content Service

Why Cloud Content Service

Troubled with the growing stack of DVD’s,  stuck with copying and syncing media libraries before starting  your journey, frustrated for not been able to play the purchased content on device of choice or hassled by constant fear of system /disk crash. All this and more could be a passé’ once cloud based content services become mainstream bringing assurance and convenience to access your content on device of your choice wherever you go, whenever you want!

Digital lifestyle is currently at crossroads of a makeover driven by affordable products, reduced product form factor,  appetite for convenience, broadband connectivity,  closer integration of social media and advances in Consumer electronic devices primarily connected mobile devices which are changing the face of content consumption. User expectation have grown from been able to share the DVR content around the home to wherever they go, within and outside the home. Consumers are increasing looking to control what to consume, when to consume and on which medium to consume. They demand flexibility to search, purchase and play generic or premium content available through linear, online video, DVR or video on demand on device of their choice. Similarly there is an increased focus for a better value proposition when buying digital content which enables streaming, copy and viewing options across multiple platforms and devices without worrying about permissions, formats and protection. Cloud based content services seems to be the magic bullet which Industry and stakeholders are increasing looking forward to meet the exploding consumer demand which is rapidly growing beyond the today’s infrastructures and capacity of content delivery networks
What is Cloud Technology
In essence Cloud can be classified as a Content management system (paid, Open Source or SaaS) hosted on large server farms (storage) and a Content Delivery Network (CDN) coupled with an intelligent network infrastructure with extended qualities of scalability, performance etc. to provide content (and data) across host of devices. Cloud technology presents an opportunity for amalgamation of networks, service and devices and is positioned to drive benefits from
  1. On demand service under always available/connected environment across devices – Flexibility
  2. – Extended qualities of scalability, performance, low latency and secure access
  3. – Affordability, Ease of deployment and usage – Hiding implementation details and operational complexity

Why do we need Cloud for Content Services?

We are witnessing an exponential growth in online content and mobile connected devices together resulting in growth of internet video traffic. If recent numbers are a yardstick YouTube recently surpassed 3 billion video views per day. The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts more than 12 billion connected IP endpoints worldwide by 2014 and stresses for an imminent need for networks to allow all these devices to be connected transparently, with the network providing high performance computing and delivering enhanced real time video and multimedia.  There exists large number of service providers offering remote internet storage but as devices multiply and data begins to grow (addition of applications, photos, music libraries and movies) it requires more structured ecosystem to meet challenges around capacity, storage limits and usability (think. Data upload).

Key Cloud Service Benifits

Key Cloud Service Benifits

Today, service providers and pay TV operators are struggling to hold existing customer base and increase ARPU and one key strategy remains how early they can enable entire content viewing experience across connected screens (connected set top boxes, connected television sets, Blu-ray disk players, games consoles, tablets and smart phones), manage content repurposing demands, cater to formats and resolutions as well as safeguard content value through rights management (DRM). A powerful home gateway offers a likely solution which can source content for various consumption devices in the home network, but meeting customer requirements to access content on any connected screen anywhere within or outside the home requires different network and service offerings for which cloud based OTT model holds great potential. Cloud offers to break away from siloed pattern of device and content dependency by moving content on a remote storage under an always connected/available ecosystem

Cloud offers to realize multi-screen experience and significantly expand the reach and availability of content across devices by hiding the details of where and how content is being stored and providing user’s secure and seamless experience. It enables users to store, buy, manage, access and share user generated and commercial content on the go. Cloud brings flexibility for wide variety of data and content (current focus is on music, but rapidly expanding to video, photos, e-books, applications, games, e-mails etc.), provides platform for content aggregation and interface to share content services across devices. The key consumer centric cloud based services can be logically spread across

  • Data Sync – Content syncing to enable access (and reflect changes) to data and content across multiple devices
  • Video and Music Service – Cloud based streaming (and local playback after sync) services for music libraries and video on demand
  • Content Backup – Secure and personalized digital lockers offering backup for all types of content. Facility to keep content safe in the cloud in case of emergency
  • Application – Access, control and sharing of applications across devices

Major Technology Players are moving to the cloud

Cloud Media Services

Cloud Media Services

Several Cloud based service providers like Drop box, Subsonic, Cloudme, Evernote etc. are generating huge user interest and large consumer base working under “limited” free or pay as you use commercials models. Cloud technology has also excited all major technology companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sony, Intel, Amazon, HP and others who are investing and building products to offer an entire ecosystem by clubbing service and devices together under their brand umbrella. Apple recently launched iCloud and has offering ecosystem of iTunes, Photostream, iPhone, Mac, iPad and Apple TV, Similarly Microsoft brings Live, Office 365, Zune, Windows 7 Mobile OS, Xbox etc. and Google offers music Beta, Google Docs, Picassa, Google TV and Android OS under cloud supported system. Retailers like Amazon have also launched cloud drive and Cloud player to support its music and e-books offerings.
Cloud based media services have tremendous potential to radically change the current content ecosystem by expanding consumption and increasing user base while bringing in convenience, affordability and newer monetization avenues for service providers. Similarly there are several challenges and hurdles from reliable broadband connectivity to security, content fragmentation and non-standard implementation models… which threatens to slow the growth of cloud-based media solutions.

About - Digital Media Technology Consultant. I have passion for TV technology, digital convergence and changing face of Media and Entertainment industry.

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    Excellent Info!I got goog knowledge about this posting,Really great pleasure to reading this posting.I bookmarked this. Sounds like you had a great time with great people. That’s the way to live!Thanks for the info, too.

  • Great Article Nitin. Happen to reach this blog while googling for trends in Media.

    – Srini Rao M