A Best-Ever Media Workflow Starts With An Open Platform

By Paul Shen, TVU Networks
July 30th, 2020

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If you have been kicking around the TV industry for a while, you’ve likely encountered the phrase “best of breed.”

It’s pretty self-explanatory: the best of breed is the top product in a technology category. In the day when a system, such as a production control room, consisted of a bevy of single-function devices like a production switcher, character generator, DVE, videotape machine –later a playout server—and audio consoles, selecting best of breed for each product category theoretically ensured a media organization had deployed the very best possible solution to meet its need.

The same could be said for most every integrated system at a media organization or TV station whether it is an RF transmission system, a contribution system or a master control and monitoring system.

Integration Workflow

While there are a few glaring flaws with the notion, including who determines what technology is best and the idea that what might be best for one application isn’t necessarily best for the next, the concept is not without merit.

Today’s modern media supply chain, however, has a much better chance of bringing this best of breed solution to life as black-box-based systems move to the cloud in the form of virtualized solutions, each of which can more easily be integrated into a media workflow.

If the underlying platform running in the cloud, such as our TVU MediaMind, has an open API, media companies and third-party tech vendors can develop their own solutions, such as a non-linear editor, effects generator, CG, video encoder, NRCS or playout solution, that can be plugged in, contributing to the overall workflow.

What’s more, because the open API gives users and vendors a means to develop their own solutions for the workflow, fulfilling the vision for best of breed can truly be achieved and maintained as needs evolve and individual solutions are updated to accommodate needed changes.

Open Platform

At the heart of this workflow is an open platform. Think of Slack, but in our instance it’s television. The similarity is in how Slack, a communications channel, enables users to plug in a variety of tools to create the workflow that best meets their needs.

In the modern media supply chain, there no longer is room for a closed, proprietary, single-source, all-encompassing solution.

If tomorrow a company offers the market a beginning-to-end workflow solution, its chances of success are pretty limited. Such a company really has no way to compete against an open platform that has plenty of room for third-parties to develop their own solutions that contribute to the overall workflow.

In fact, any company offering such a turnkey product, presumably one it would regard as best of breed, actually precludes itself from ever offering a best-of-breed solution because there will always be a third party developing for an open system that finds a better way.

The true benefit of an open platform that allows others to plug in their specific workflow solutions is that the overall workflow will thrive on the creativity of a potentially unlimited number of developers rather than relying on a single source to offer the best of everything.

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