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Jan 21, 2015
Getting back to basics

Getting back to basics

Regular readers of this blog may well have noticed a small change in the last week or so – the blog has moved. As part of the launch of the new dalet.com, we have also merged the AmberFin and Dalet blogs to a single new location.
 
This got me thinking about how the blog got started, what we wanted to do with it and how those plans have evolved. 
 
The first post in this blog is dated 4th March 2013 – a little over 18 months ago. Since then, the blog has grown massively in terms of followers, posts and even the number and breadth of knowledge of the contributors.
 
What hasn’t changed is the intention. In that first post, Bruce wrote that the “blog will not be a platform for us to repurpose press releases, datasheets and corporate brochures, and we promise we will not write endless, self-serving product posts.” 
 
A quick review of the 154 posts since Bruce made that promise and, with the exception of some shameless self-promotion back in May, I think we’ve kept our word.
 
Our motivation for launching the blog was simple: “The rate of technological change in the broadcast and film markets continues unabated yet nobody has the time or resources to train their employees. As a result there is a real need for people to educate themselves to keep up to date in their current role and to advance their career.”
 
Since the blog launched, a number of industry organizations have done a great job in formalizing their educational and training programs and making courses available to businesses and individuals, but that statement and motivation still stands true today.
 
“When we say we want to help educate technology professionals in the broadcast and film market, we mean it.”
 
As this “mini re-launch” of our blog coincides with our planning for 2015, we are looking at how we can do even more to support that goal. Here are our ideas so far:

  • More contributors. Not just more, but contributors from all areas of the industry. Starting in the new year, we will be inviting end users, our partners and other independent industry professionals to bring their expertise to the blog – expanding the breadth and depth of knowledge we are able to provide.
  • Regional views. While all media organizations face broadly the same challenges, there are undoubtedly some variations across the globe. Dalet has 18 offices worldwide offering unique insights into localized issues, solutions and opportunities – we’ll be exploring some of those viewpoints and looking at how they might benefit the global market.
  • Reader interaction. Education should be interactive, and we have a number of initiatives in the works to enable this, starting now with suggestions for blog topics. If there’s a topic you’d like us cover in this blog, contact us or tweet your idea with #DaletBlog.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be revisiting the topics of some of those early blog posts to see how and where the industry has moved on – which of those topics are now “non-issues” and which are still causing us headaches.
 
As we said in March ’13: To your workflow success! 

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Bea Alonso Lidera el Grupo Global de Marketing de Producto de Dalet
Dalet, proveedor líder de soluciones y servicios para difusores y profesionales de contenido, anunció hoy el nombramiento de Bea Alonso como directora global de marketing de producto. Con supervisión estratégica sobre un equipo especializado y relaciones con partners tecnológicos, Bea colabora con los grupos de gestión de productos, ventas y marketing corporativo de Dalet para definir y ejecutar los planes de comercialización en múltiples industrias y segmentos, creando propuestas de valor únicas para las empresas de radiodifusión, propietarios y editores de contenido, ligas y equipos deportivos, así como marcas, organizaciones corporativas, agencias e instituciones gubernamentales. “Bea introduce una nueva perspectiva y visión de las oportunidades y desafíos a los que se enfrentan las compañías de medios hoy en día. Tiene un dominio técnico de los flujos de trabajo de contenido digital, una dilatada experiencia creando relaciones tecnológicas clave y gran habilidad comercial. Bea fue clave para establecer la sólida marca Ooyala Flex Media Platform y está preparada para impulsar la demanda y el uso de nuestros productos, así como para aumentar el valor de la marca Dalet tanto en los mercados tradicionales como en los nuevos,” comenta Stephane Schlayen, Director de Operaciones, Dalet. “Con un profundo conocimiento de los nuevos modelos de cadena de suministro de contenidos, procesos modernos de distribución y cambios en los hábitos de consumo, Bea y su equipo ayudarán a Dalet a anticipar qué soluciones requieren nuestros clientes para aumentar su negocio. Su equipo es un componente esencial de nuestro proceso de ideación del producto, con conocimientos de múltiples mercados para impulsar la estrategia de producto Dalet.” Antes de unirse a Dalet, Bea pasó las últimas dos décadas con los proveedores de tecnología Avid y Grass Valley, uniéndose a Ooyala en 2016 para encabezar el negocio de logística de medios en toda la región de Asia Pacífico y, finalmente, liderando el equipo de marketing de producto de la compañía. Con gran talento para la comunicación, Bea se ha ganado el respeto de la comunidad de tecnología de video, presenta frecuentemente en conferencias del sector y participa en paneles sobre la evolución de las cadenas de suministro de contenido, el negocio de la creación y distribución de contenido, y las aplicaciones de inteligencia artificial en la industria de los medios. Como impulsora de la transformación digital, Bea fue fundamental en la evolución de los flujos de trabajo de distribución de contenido de noticias, playout, producción, postproducción y multiplataforma para múltiples empresas de medios y marcas, incluyendo Fox Sports, VuClip, Discovery, Turner y la Liga Nacional de Rugby de Australia. Involucrada profundamente en la comunidad de medios, Bea sirve como miembro de la Junta Asesora para DPP y RISE - un grupo de apoyo para mujeres en la radio y televisión. Bea también forma parte del equipo organizador de Barcelona Video Tech community y es miembro de la junta de directores de la IABM. "Estoy entusiasmada por la oportunidad de dirigir un equipo de tanto talento y trabajar con productos líderes en el mercado, para impulsar la sólida y leal base de clientes de Dalet. Nuestra misión es comprender las necesidades de nuestros clientes y las tendencias del mercado, para impulsar una estrategia de producto que brinde soluciones efectivas con una experiencia de usuario de clase mundial y un claro retorno de inversión para nuestros clientes,” afirma Bea Alonso, Directora Global de Marketing de Producto. “Nuestro diverso equipo brinda una amplia experiencia en múltiples segmentos de mercado. Esto nos permite enfocar nuestra estrategia en las necesidades más actuales para producción de contenidos, así como soluciones para la distribución multiplataforma, incluyendo la arquitectura basada en la nube y los modelos de negocio SaaS. Ahora podemos ofrecer flujos de trabajo ágiles desde grandes sistemas de producción broadcast hasta soluciones para la distribución puramente digital, así como ayudar a organizaciones deportivas, corporaciones y marcas que buscan aumentar su conexión con el consumidor a través de video.” Presentación de Bea Alonso en NAB 2020 Bea formará parte del panel “Transformando la Producción y Distribución de Contenido con IA” el miércoles 22 de abril a las 9:40 a.m. durante el Show NAB 2020, sala N239 / N241. La sesión del panel investigará cómo las actividades altamente programáticas en la industria de los medios, como la obtención, el procesamiento y la distribución de información, hacen que la aplicación de ciencias cognitivas, como el aprendizaje automático (Machine Learning) y la inteligencia artificial (IA) sea particularmente apropiada. Junto con los otras panelistas, Bea debatirá cómo la industria necesita incorporar estas tecnologías velozmente y qué impacto tendrán durante el próximo año. Los asistentes al NAB 2020 pueden reservar una demostración privada o hablar sobre cualquier necesidad en flujos de trabajo con un experto de Dalet: https://www.dalet.com/events/nab-show-2020 Acerca de Dalet Digital Media Systems Las soluciones y servicios de Dalet permiten a las organizaciones de medios crear, administrar y distribuir contenido de manera más rápida y eficaz, maximizando al máximo el valor de los activos. Basado en una fundación ágil, Dalet ofrece sofisticadas herramientas colaborativas que permiten flujos de trabajo de origen a finalización para noticias, deportes, preparación de programas, postproducción, archivos y gestión de contenido empresarial, radio, educación, gobiernos e instituciones. Las plataformas Dalet son escalables y modulares. Ofrecen aplicaciones dirigidas con capacidades clave para abordar funciones críticas de operaciones de medios pequeños a grandes, como planificación, organización de flujos de trabajo, ingesta, catalogación, edición, chat y notificaciones, transcodificación, automatización de reproducción, distribución multiplataforma y análisis. La integración del negocio Ooyala Flex Media Platform ha abierto grandes oportunidades para que los clientes de Dalet implementen estrategias exitosas que aborden mejor a sus audiencias con una distribución ágil de contenido multiplataforma en una gama más amplia de mercados, como deportes para equipos y ligas, marcas y empresas, así como compañías de medios y entretenimiento que buscan ampliar sus ofertas digitales. Las soluciones y servicios de Dalet se utilizan en todo el mundo en cientos de productores y distribuidores de contenido, incluidas las emisoras públicas (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), redes comerciales y operadores (Canal +, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), organizaciones deportivas (National Rugby League, FIVB, Bundesliga) y organizaciones gubernamentales (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet cotiza en la bolsa NYSE- EURONEXT (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® es una marca registrada de Dalet Digital Media Systems. Todos los demás productos y marcas comerciales mencionadas pertenecen a sus respectivos propietarios.
Bea Alonso Takes the Lead of Dalet’s Global Product Marketing Group
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, today announced the appointment of Bea Alonso to Director of Global Product Marketing. With strategic oversight of Dalet’s expanded product marketing team and technology partnerships, Bea collaborates with Dalet product management, sales and corporate marketing groups to define and execute all go-to-market strategy plans across industries and verticals, shaping unique value propositions for news broadcasters, content owners and publishers, sports leagues and teams, as well as brands, corporate organizations, government agencies and institutions. “Bea brings a fresh perspective and insight to the opportunities and challenges media companies face today. She has a technical mastery of digital content workflows, a proven track record of building key technology relationships and a strong business acumen. Bea was key in establishing the powerful Ooyala Flex Media Platform brand and is well suited to drive the demand and use of our products, as well as to grow the Dalet brand equity across both traditional and new markets,” comments Stephane Schlayen, Chief Operating Officer, Dalet. “With a deep understanding of new content supply chain models, modern distribution approaches, and changes in consumption habits, Bea and her team will help Dalet anticipate what solutions our customers require to grow their business. They are an essential component of our product ideation process, providing key market intelligence that drives the Dalet product strategy.” Prior to joining Dalet, Bea spent the last two decades with technology vendors Avid and Grass Valley, joining Ooyala in 2016 to spearhead the media logistics business across the Asia Pacific region and ultimately leading the company’s product marketing team. A talented communicator, Bea is a well-respected technologist and frequent conference presenter and panelist on topics around evolving content supply chains, the business of content creation and distribution, and AI applications in the media industry. A champion of digital transformation, Bea was instrumental in evolving news, playout, production, post-production and multi-platform content distribution workflows for leading media companies and brands including Fox Sports, VuClip, Discovery, Turner and the National Rugby League of Australia. Deeply involved in the media community, Bea serves as an Advisory Board member for the DPP and RISE - an advocacy group for Women in Broadcast. Bea is also part of the organizing team for the Barcelona Video Tech community and an IABM board member. “I’m excited for the opportunity to drive such a talented team with market-leading products to grow Dalet’s strong and loyal customer base. Our mission is to understand customers’ needs and market trends, then drive a product strategy that provides effective solutions with world-class user experience and a clear return on investment for our customers,” states Bea Alonso, Director of Global Product Marketing. “Our diverse team brings ample experience across verticals. This allows us to focus our go-to-market strategy on forward-looking content production and orchestrated supply chain solutions with multi-platform distribution at the core, including cloud-based architecture and SaaS business models. We can now deliver agile workflows from enterprise broadcast productions to digital-first distribution, as well as help sports organizations, enterprises and brands looking to increase their consumer engagement through video.” Bea Alonso’s Presentation at NAB 2020 Bea will be part of the Transforming Content Production and Distribution with AI panel on Wednesday, April 22 at 9:40 a.m. during the 2020 NAB Show, room N239/N241. The panel session will investigate how highly programmatic activities in the media industry such as recording, processing and distribution of information make the appliance of cognitive science, like machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) particularly suitable. Along with the other panelists, Bea will discuss how quickly the industry needs to embed these technologies and what impact they will have over the coming year. NAB 2020 attendees can book a private demonstration or workflow consultation with a Dalet expert to learn more about their latest technology at: https://www.dalet.com/events/nab-show-2020 About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organizations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximizing the value of assets. Based on an agile foundation, Dalet offers rich collaborative tools empowering end-to-end workflows for news, sports, program preparation, post-production, archives and enterprise content management, radio, education, governments and institutions. Dalet platforms are scalable and modular. They offer targeted applications with key capabilities to address critical functions of small to large media operations - such as planning, workflow orchestration, ingest, cataloging, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. The integration of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business has opened vast opportunities for Dalet customers to deploy successful strategies that better address their audiences with agile multi-platform content distribution in a wider range of markets, such as sports for teams and leagues, brands and corporate organizations, as well as Media and Entertainment companies looking to scale up their digital offerings. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), sporting organizations (National Rugby League, FIVB, Bundesliga) and government organizations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. Press Contact Alex Molina Zazil Media Group (e) alex@zazilmediagroup.com (p) +1 (617) 834-9600
Dalet Sets Sights on Multi-Market Expansion with the Appointment of Matthew Carter to Head of Sales, UK, Benelux and South Africa
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, today announced the appointment of Matthew Carter as Head of Sales UK, Benelux and South Africa. Carter, who led global sales engineering for the recently acquired Ooyala Flex Media Platform business, will spearhead Dalet sales initiatives with oversight of Dalet market strategy, customer workflow design and implementation of both Dalet Galaxy five and Ooyala Flex Media Platform in these key territories. “We’re in the midst of a media revolution. The increasing appetite for personalized, on-demand content is challenging business models everywhere. Traditional media, sports organizations, corporate brands, and agencies need to adapt to the changing market dynamics and position themselves to take advantage of the unprecedented level of opportunities available today to engage consumers. They need to evolve their media strategy,” states Stéphane Schlayen, chief operating officer, Dalet. “Matthew has the proven technical breadth and depth and business acumen required to successfully architect our customers’ ambitious digital transformations. His expertise will help businesses across market verticals modernize their media operations, deepening viewer and customer engagement as well as take advantage of entirely new revenue streams. We welcome Matthew into his new role and have the utmost confidence in his success.” An experienced industry executive, Carter has a comprehensive understanding of media workflows and operational business needs across production, post-production, corporate and broadcast. His sound guidance has helped world-renowned clients like Smoke and Mirrors reduce content delivery times to its customers by as much as 85%, and Sky Sports automate the distribution of Premier League highlights to syndication partners in near-real-time with incredible SLA accuracy. “With video content so ubiquitous across platforms and its consumption growing at an incredible pace, media companies have more opportunities than ever to leverage technology and grow their businesses. However, it all comes down to selecting the right mix of technologies and deploying the right workflow design to capitalize on the potential,” comments Carter. “The Dalet suite of solutions enables media companies to own the entire multiplatform production and delivery content supply chain. The powerful combination of Dalet Galaxy five and Ooyala Flex Media Platform delivers an unparalleled level of functionality. Combined with our consulting and change management expertise, we can help our customers innovate their operations and bring to fruition their bold business plans,” Carter concludes, “With the explosion of content creation, it is truly an exciting time to be in media and I look forward to working with our customers to revolutionize their businesses.” About Matthew Carter An accomplished technologist and business strategist, Carter has held senior leadership and technical roles with Ooyala since 2012, overseeing pre-sales, software engineering, and project delivery functions that optimized customer media supply chains. Prior to Ooyala, Carter was a consultant with Accenture working across multiple market sectors including media and entertainment where he transitioned ITV to an innovative tapeless workflow. You can contact Matthew Carter directly here. About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organisations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximising the value of assets. Based on an agile foundation, Dalet offers rich collaborative tools empowering end-to-end workflows for news, sports, program preparation, post-production, archives and enterprise content management, radio, education, governments and institutions. Dalet platforms are scalable and modular. They offer targeted applications with key capabilities to address critical functions of small to large media operations - such as planning, workflow orchestration, ingest, cataloguing, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. In July 2019, Dalet announced the acquisition of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business. An acceleration of the company’s mission, the move brings tremendous value to existing Dalet and Ooyala customers, opening vast opportunities for OTT & digital distribution. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), sporting organisations (National Rugby League, FIVB, Bundesliga) and government organisations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.
Dalet Appoints Patricio Cummins as General Manager of Dalet Asia-Pacific
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, today announced the appointment of Patricio Cummins as General Manager of Dalet Asia-Pacific (APAC). Based out of the Dalet regional headquarters located in Singapore, Cummins will be responsible for Dalet sales, project and customer success teams across the APAC territory. Cummins, who joined Dalet through the acquisition of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business, was previously vice president of sales for Ooyala Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ). “Patricio joins the Dalet team with two decades of experience in the broadcast, media and telecommunications industries and a proven track record of successfully developing new business and expanding into new markets across Asia Pacific. He is a well-prepared leader who brings expertise, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to the team,” states Stéphane Schlayen, chief operating officer, Dalet. “Both Dalet and Ooyala have prestigious references in Asia Pacific that, when merged, have an even more promising potential under the guidance of Patricio. We wish him great success in his new endeavor.” An IABM APAC Council Member, Cummins has held key positions with Ooyala since 2014, driving customer adoption and managing service deployments, first in the Latin America region, then in APJ. His tech-savvy leadership has helped broadcasters, corporate brands, telcos, leagues, and sports teams modernize their content supply chains and reduce the time-to-launch personalized multi-platform experiences. Cummins succeeds Cesar Camacho, who has stepped into a new role at Dalet as Head of Business Development for Latin America. Schlayen concludes, “I want to personally thank Cesar for the dedication he has put into managing the Dalet business across the APAC region. His contribution was instrumental in driving our business development, growth and customer success. I am confident he will bring the same level of commitment and achievements to the Latin American market.” Meet Patricio Cummins and Dalet @ IBC2019 IBC2019 attendees can book an appointment to meet with Patricio Cummins or have a private demonstration or workflow consultation with a Dalet expert to learn more about the latest products and solutions at https://www.dalet.com/events/ibc-show-2019. Press can contact Alex Molina at alex@zazilmediagroup.com to schedule a media briefing. Better Together - Join us for a Very Special Dalet Pulse Event @ IBC2019! This IBC2019, the Dalet Pulse media innovation summit will expand its platform to include Ooyala. Celebrating the joining of two great media teams and technologies, the Dalet Pulse theme this year, Better Together, will give attendees a chance to learn about the extended product portfolio and how it helps leading media organizations develop agile content supply chains, deliver unique content experiences to multi-platform audiences, and increase revenues with Dalet solutions and partner technologies. It’s also a unique opportunity to meet the expanded team. Thursday, 12 September Pompstation, Amsterdam Keynote: 17:30 - 19:00 Party: 19:00 - 22:00 Register now via https://www.dalet.com/events/dalet-pulse-ibc-2019. About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organisations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximising the value of assets. Based on an agile foundation, Dalet offers rich collaborative tools empowering end-to-end workflows for news, sports, program preparation, post-production, archives and enterprise content management, radio, education, governments and institutions. Dalet platforms are scalable and modular. They offer targeted applications with key capabilities to address critical functions of small to large media operations - such as planning, workflow orchestration, ingest, cataloguing, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. In July 2019, Dalet announced the acquisition of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform business. An acceleration of the company’s mission, the move brings tremendous value to existing Dalet and Ooyala customers, opening vast opportunities for OTT & digital distribution. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), sporting organisations (National Rugby League, FIVB, LFP) and government organisations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.
25 Years of Dalet
In 1990, six friends from engineering and business school formed a company that pioneered the first audio software and centralized database solution for the radio industry, Dalet. Canada’s national radio channel, CBC Radio, became the first Dalet system deployed with a centralized catalogue and, throughout the 90s, we expanded across Europe, Asia and the Americas, providing solutions for radio and newsrooms so successfully that in many cases the same software is still in use today. Radio continues to be an important part of our business with large customers such as Voice of America and SiriusXM Radio relying on Dalet radio solutions. One of the six founders Stéphane Guez reminisces, “We knew we wanted to start a company together, but at the beginning, we weren’t entirely sure what that company was going to be. Spread across the northern hemisphere, we’d spend hours talking on the phone with one another. Well before Skype even existed and before cell phones had come to the masses, we’d find ways to connect via telephone, even though we were flat broke and didn't have access to our own lines. When we realized what it was that we wanted to create, there was no turning back.” It wasn’t long before we realized the potential of our approach beyond radio and, in our 10th year we began extending our software to establish a comprehensive solution for television news. That same year, in June (2000), Dalet also became a publicly traded company on the Paris Bourse (Euronext Paris). By 2002, we had created an end-to-end news production system – incorporating NRCS (newsroom computer system), ingest tools, video production features, and playout control with archive capabilities – which was rapidly adopted by the industry’s most forward-thinking broadcasters, including NBC, Prime TV, and Russia Today, to name a few. The first decade of this century saw immense changes in the media industry, with the monumental shift to file-based workflows. With this came the growing need for flexible and comprehensive media asset management (MAM) solutions, a trend that we had identified and were well positioned to address with our background in news and radio. In fact, in 2009, we were honored with the IBC Innovation Award in the Content Management category having provided RTBF with a highly flexible and scalable tapeless workflow, facilitating the production across news, program and sports production operations from ingest to playout to archive. In our 20th year (2010), Dalet completed the strategic acquisition of Italian company Gruppo TNT. With their Brio video server platform, Gruppo TNT had already experienced great success in their domestic market, but Dalet saw the potential in this technology, highly complementary to our own, as the next generation of video servers on the global market. Not only has the Brio augmented our MAM-driven solutions, it has also, on its own merits, become the cornerstone of ingest and studio infrastructure at some of the world’s most prestigious media facilities. “Growing from an idea between six friends into a global business has not been without its challenges,” Michael Elhadad, another of the original six, notes. “We had to take a lot of chances and make decisions based solely on our vision of the future. We’ve had our fair share of disagreements throughout that process! It’s also been extremely rewarding to see the results of those decisions and the success that’s come thanks to the many exceptional people we’ve worked with over the years.” Looking to repeat the success of the Gruppo TNT acquisition, and further complement the now well-established 4th generation of our MAM platform, Dalet Galaxy, in April of 2014, UK-based AmberFin joined the Dalet family. Well known for high-quality transcode and file-based frame rate conversion products, the potential in combining the AmberFin expertise in media formats and processing with the workflow and media management experience of Dalet is truly exciting and already proving beneficial for our customers. Over a quarter of a century, from humble beginnings, we have become a truly international organization, proudly supporting our customers with software-based solutions that have and will continue to innovate and evolve in response to an ever-changing media economy. We especially want to thank the many individuals who have contributed to the success and growth of this company – naturally, all our past and present colleagues at Dalet, our partners, who have challenged us along the way and, of course, our customers who we exist to serve but also who have also provided their invaluable wisdom to help better our offerings. In our 25th year, and as we look to the next 25 years, we will use those secure foundations to continue firmly on that path, working in close partnership with our customers to embark on new journeys and reimagine the media enterprise.
An Amsterdam Education! … No, Not That Type of Education
Maybe it’s a result of having two teachers as parents, but I am passionate about education and, particularly, education in our industry. Technology and innovation move forward so fast in our business that even as a seasoned industry professional it can sometimes be tricky to keep pace. That’s why I’m so excited to be doing something a little different with the Dalet Theater at IBC this year – here’s what we’ve got going on. Dalet @ IBC One of the primary reasons for visiting the IBC Show is to find out what’s new. Each morning, about an hour after the show opens, we will host a short presentation to explore all the key announcements that Dalet is making at IBC. Whatever your reasons for visiting IBC, this is a great opportunity to find out what’s new. Bruce’s (Orange) Shorts After a short break, Bruce Devlin (aka Mr. MXF) will be back on stage to preview a brand new series of Bruce’s shorts, due out later this year. Every day at 13:00 and 16:00 Bruce will present two short seminars on new technologies and trends. Partners with Dalet Across the globe, Dalet works with a number of distributors and resellers who package Dalet solutions and applications with other tools to meet the needs of their geographies. We’ve invited some of our partners to talk about how they’ve used Dalet and other technologies to address the needs of their regions (12:00). Product Focus If you want to know a little bit more about Dalet products and give your feet a bit of a rest, at 14:00 each day we’ll be focusing in on part of the Dalet portfolio. Click here to see what’s on when! Case Studies There’s no better way to learn than from someone else’s success. We will feature a number of case studies at 15:00, followed by Q&A, based on the most cutting-edge deployments of the past year. Dalet Keynote The big one…each day of the show (Friday through Monday), at 17:00, we’ve partnered with industry giants, including Adobe, Quantum and others, to bring you Dalet Keynotes, which will focus on the biggest challenges facing our industry today. There will also be some light refreshments and an opportunity to network with speakers and peers after the presentation. We’re expecting standing-room-only for the Dalet Keynote sessions so register your interest (Dalet+Adobe; Dalet+Quantum) and we’ll do our best to save you a seat. It’s going to be an amazing lineup with something for everybody – be sure to check the full Dalet Theater schedule and stop by the stand during the show for the latest additions and updates. Of course, if you want talk one-on-one with a Dalet solutions expert or have an in-depth demo tailored to your requirement, you can click here to book a meeting with us at the show. We'll be in hall 8, stand 8.B77. We can’t wait to see you there – but if you’re more of a planner and want to know what to expect elsewhere on the Dalet stand, visit our dedicated IBC page on the Dalet website. Who knows, you might even stumble across some intriguing bits of information or a clue (or two) for what we might be announcing at the show (hint, hint!). We’re looking forward to seeing you in Amsterdam! Until then…
Pictionary, Standards and MXF Interoperability
Four weeks ago, I posted in this blog about the IRT MXF plugfest, the new MXF profiles that were published in Germany this year by the ARD and ZDF, and how these new profiles would bring forth a new era in interoperability. This week, the first results of that plugfest and reaction from some of the end users and vendors were presented at a conference on file-based production also hosted by the IRT in Munich. As usual, the results were fascinating. As with all statistics, they could be manipulated to back up any point you wanted to make, but for me there were a couple of highlights. First, as mentioned in my last post, this was the 9th such MXF plugfest, and therefore we have a good historic dataset. Comparing previous years, there is an obvious and steady increase in both the interoperability of exchanged files and also compliance with MXF specifications. For most of the codecs and variants tested by the 15 vendors who took part, over 90% of files are now exchanging successfully (up from 70-80% five or more years ago). In one case, the new ARD-ZDF MXF profile HDF03a, 100% of the files submitted interchanged successfully. Quite interestingly, the same files all failed a standards compliance test using the IRT MXF analyser. This highlights one of the difficulties the industry faces today with file interoperability, even with constrained specifications such as the AMWA Application Specifications and ARD-ZDF MXF profiles. The IRT MXF analyser categorises test results as pass, fail, or with warning. It is notable that all files with MPEG 2 essence (e.g. XDCAM HD) either failed or had warnings, while AVC-Intra and DNx files each had a significant number that “passed.” However, when it came to interoperability, the differences between the different codecs were much less obvious. One theory would be that because MPEG 2 in MXF is the oldest and most widely used MXF variant, it has resulted in a near de facto standard that enables a reasonably high degree of interoperability – despite the fact that most of these files are not compliant with specifications. I mentioned in my previous post that the new ARD-ZDF profiles have accommodated this deviation from specification in legacy files by specifying broader decode parameters than encode parameters. This was the focus of my presentation at the conference this week, illustrated through the use of children’s toys and the game of Pictionary. However, the additional decoder requirements specified are not without issue. For example, if not impossible, it’s certainly impractical to test all the potential variations covered by the broader decoder specification given that it would be difficult to find test sources that exercise all the possible combinations of deviation from the encoder specification. In another area, while the profile says that the decoder should be able to accommodate files with ancillary data tracks, there is no guidance as to what should be done with the ancillary data, should it be present. As a vendor, that’s particularly problematic when trying to build a standard product for all markets where the requirements in such areas may vary by region. Overall though, while there are improvements that can, and will, be made, it’s clear that for vendors and end users alike the new profiles are a big step forward, and media facilities in Germany are likely to rapidly start seeing the benefit in the next 6-12 months. Exciting times lie ahead.
3 ways to fix QC Errors – Part 2 – What the DPP is doing about QC
Recently I spoke at a symposium on media QC run by the ARD-ZDF Medien-Akadamie and IRT in Munich, Germany. Andy Quested of the BBC, who spoke on behalf of the EBU, opened his presentation by asking how many of the 150 or so representatives of German language broadcasters in the audience were actually using automated QC in their workflows: Despite most of those in attendance having purchased and commissioned automated QC systems, it was possible to count those responding positively on one hand. In a previous blog post I wrote about how automated QC systems were under utilized and suggested three simple steps that can be taken to reduce the number of QC errors in a typical workflow. In following up on that post, here is how the work of the UK’s Digital Production Partnership (DPP) and EBU QC group reflects these suggestions. Reducing the number of QC tests When the EBU QC group started looking at automated QC tools they counted a staggering 471 different QC tests. By rationalizing the differently named or similar tests and removing those deemed unnecessary, the list was whittled down and turned into the periodic table of QC – now containing just over 100 different tests. This is still a large number so the DPP has reduced this to a list of about 40 critical tests for file delivery. The failure action for these tests have also been identified as either absolute requirements (must pass) or technical and editorial warnings. QC test visualization Each test in the EBU Periodic table of QC has been categorized into one of four groups: Regulatory – this means making sure that the media conforms to regulations or legislation such as the CALM act in the US or EBU R128 in Europe. A failure here may not actually mean that the quality of the media is poor. Absolute – physical parameters that can be measured against a published standard or recommendation. Objective – this refers to parameters that can be measured, but for which there is no published standard to describe what is or isn’t acceptable. Often, pass/fails in this category will require human judgment. Subjective – this refers to artifacts in video and audio that requires human eyes and ears to detect. These last two categories in particular require the QC events to be presented to operators in a way that effective evaluation can be made. EBU focuses on how to QC the workflow The work of the EBU group is ongoing and having now defined a common set of QC tests and categories, the current and future work is focused on QC workflows and developing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that will demonstrate exactly how efficient media workflows are with regard to QC. This is a key area and one where the EBU is well positioned to see this initiative come to fruition. As the EBU has stated, “Broadcasters moving to file-based production facilities have to consider how to use automated Quality Control (QC) systems. Manual quality control is simply not adequate anymore and it does not scale.” The EBU recognised QC as a key topic for the media industry in 2010, and in 2011 it started an EBU Strategic Programme on Quality Control, with the aim to collect requirements, experiences and to create recommendations for broadcasters implementing file-based QC in their facilities. I left Munich with the clear impression that real momentum is being generated by organizations such as the EBU and DPP in the field of media quality control. It is reassuring when you see that what you have been advising customers for years is supported by leading broadcast industry bodies - QC is key! At AmberFin, QC has been a passion of ours for many years. To understand our approach to this critical component of file-based workflows, why don’t you download our free Whitepaper on the issue. I hope you found this blog post interesting and helpful. If so, why not sign-up to receive notifications of new blog posts as they are published?
When is a workflow not a workflow - can airports learn from modern media workflows
Passing through Frankfurt airport last week I was reminded of the chaos at Amsterdam Schiphol airport when returning from IBC earlier this year. Like many airports, Frankfurt and Schiphol have replaced friendly-faced check-in clerks withautomated check-in and bag drop: As visitors returning from the conference and exhibitions queued up to use the shiny new automated bag drop, what started as friendly chatter about previous five days’ events turned to increasingly vocal demonstrations about the delays the new system was causing. The delays were largely caused by bags that slightly exceeded the weight or size limits, or were simply the wrong shape to fit the uniform dimensions of the drop-off – problems that a small amount of human judgment would have easily resolved. Eventually, a large team of KLM staff were dispatched to the scene to calm the mounting insurrection, help reduce the increasing delays and ensure people caught their flights. Workflow automation does not always increase efficiency and throughput It seems mad that a system billed as expediting the check-in process for customers and reducing costs for the airline actually had the opposite effect – but we are in danger of doing something very similar in the media industry. From the airlines perspective, the process of checking in a passenger and their baggage is actually very similar to the process of ingesting media. Before online check-in and automated bag drops, a check-in clerk would have verified a passengers ID, issued their boarding pass, asked the appropriate security questions and weighed and checked their baggage. Can we replace men with machines in media workflows? In a traditional ingest scenario we would have taken a tape, placed it in a VTR, visually verified the content and checked that it was successfully written to disk. Whether or not QC was formally a part of ingest, a human operator was likely to be interacting in someway with the media and able to apply judgment as to whether there was any issue with the media. With automation in media systems as advanced as it is, it is possible to pass media through aworkflow without a human ever viewing it end-to-end. Much like in an airport, if everything about the passengers and their baggage is within the defined constraints, the process will be quick and efficient – issues only arise when there is an exception – when the passenger’s bag is a kilo overweight, or the media file fails an automated QC. Combining automation with a human touch The challenge we have to face in the media industry as file-based delivery increases and SDI disappears is how we handle these exceptions in the workflow in a fast and effective way, combining automation with the human touch to ensure the quality of our output. In order to do this, we need to unify manual and automated QC through a single interface that enables users to both make judgment on automated measurements and add commentary to QC reports. Taking this approach ensures that media “failed” by automated QC can quickly move on (or back) in the workflow and where an error has been “over-ruled” by a human, the certificate of trust can follow the content. Once trusted, the media should pass through the rest of the workflow without issue before flying off into the sunset. At AmberFin, we have learned that whilst automation is good, there is still an important place for human intervention in media workflows. I can’t help wondering how long it will take – and how many travelers’ journeys will be affected – before the airlines come to the same conclusion. If you would like to learn more about AmberFin’s unique approach to enterprise-class workflow automation. I hope you found this blog post interesting and helpful. If so, why not sign-up to receive notifications of new blog posts as they are published?
Three steps to QC heaven – Practical hints to fix file-based QC errors
As previously written about on this blog, automated Quality Control (QC) within file-based production facilities has been regarded as a key issue for a number of years ago. Back in 2010, the EBU recognized QC as a key topic for the media industry and has subsequently stated that manual quality control processes are simply not adequate anymore and do not scale: So, you could be forgiven to think that this would have heralded a boom period for QC tool manufacturers. However, if you look at this market more carefully that prediction does not appear accurate. Following impressive launches and demonstrations at NAB and IBC in 2006, the potential savings in op-ex and gains in efficiency that automated QC tools offered grabbed the attention of budgeting and planning teams in media facilities worldwide. But nearly eight years later, and despite some really significant advances in their functionality, accuracy and performance of these tools, sadly, many of the automated QC tools bought and installed lie dormant or, at best, under-utilized. The most frequently given reason for this is simply that the systems would generate so many errors across so many metrics that it was nearly impossible for a piece of media to successfully pass. At AmberFin, we hate waste and love efficiency, so here are three simple steps to fix QC errors and make the best use of your automated QC. 1. Turn off the QC tests. No, really! Perhaps not all of them, but work out which ones are actually going to identify real problems downstream in the workflow or presentation of the media and turn off the remainder. Just last week we were talking to a customer who was having problems with every piece media failing QC due to audio peak levels. Clearly, there could have be an issue here, but the previous step in the workflow was to normalize the audio to meet EBU R128 loudness specifications, which it did – so the peak level errors were not only spurious, but the test itself unnecessary. 2. Visualize it! If you take the event data generated by an automated QC and present it in a clear, interactive way, it becomes much quicker and easier for operators to make sound judgments and distinguish real errors from marginal issues or “false positives” / “false negatives”. This is whyAmberFin created UQC and use it to validate our own ingest and transcode tools in iCR. The timeline gives a clear view of any problems detected and, alongside video and audio playback, makes it considerably faster and more efficient to identify genuine problems. 3. QC the workflow Toyota gained a reputation for building hig quality cars at a low price. Their QC process did not involve a single gigantic QC operation at the end of the production line. They implemented a production system where the processes themselves were checked – the theory being that if you start with the right input and have the right processes, then the output will also be right. We can implement the same idea in media workflows by identifying issues introduced in the workflow and fixing the workflow rather than fixing individual items of media. This should, in turn, reduce the number of error events reported by automated QC tools and further increase efficiency. Don't let your Automated QC tool sit Idle! If you have an Automated QC tool sitting idle and unloved, why not try these three easy steps to get closer to those promised savings and gains. If you are still trying to get your head around this important issue, then you can learn a great deal if you download AmberFin’s QCWhite Paper – Unified Quality Control from AmberFin.
The sidecar is dead – long live the sidecar
The DPP (Digital Production Partnership) has “no intention of taking over Europe”, let alone the world, however that has not stopped the world looking on with great interest and, in most cases, with great admiration. Models established for the UK media industry by the DPP will undoubtedly be adopted across the globe and that makes the announcements made during the DPP event at IBC highly significant: Notably, the host of updates to the file delivery specification, which will be the preferred method of delivery to UK Broadcasters from 1st October 14, includes, perhaps controversially, the deprecation of the XML sidecar. The DPP Technical Standards for file delivery, and the AMWA AS-11 specification on which they are based, specify that the descriptive metadata shall be stored within the MXF media file. Previous versions of the DPP specification have also included the requirement for an XML sidecar, carrying the same descriptive metadata, resulting in a duplication of the metadata. Removing the requirement for the XML sidecar greatly simplifies management and manipulation of the media as the descriptive metadata is no longer stored in multiple locations. A single storage location for the metadata facilitates easier interchange and interoperability and reduces the risk of erroneous or incomplete metadata. However, many file-based delivery operations have become dependent on XML sidecars to ‘register’ the receipt of media. This sidecar-driven registration of the media file is unlikely to go away for some time, but the inclusion of the DPP metadata within the media file itself means that the sidecar can become focused on transactional and operational, e.g. QC (quality control) metadata, which have equal inherent value as descriptive metadata (in some cases having a direct relationship to revenue) but are of a much more transient nature. The perpetual nature of descriptive metadata means that it’s natural home is within the media file. Until such time as an infrastructure exists for the exchange of transactional metadata associated with the transfer of media files between facilities, the only practical home for this data is in a sidecar. For now at least, the sidecar lives on!
Five Things that you Need to Know about DPP
When organizations use the term ‘revolutionary’ to describe a concept, I find that it's normally a pretty good cue to turn off and move on to the next thing. Usually, puffed up descriptions conceal a flaky or fundamentally compromised proposition. The first thing I can tell you about the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) is that it is not snake oil: Efficient & cost-effective DPP is a real life platform that offers the potential for broadcasters and facilities of all types to revolutionize their production workflows. It enables organizations to adopt digital file-based workflows in ways that are both efficient and cost effective. It enables organizations to adopt file-based technologies for intra- and inter-company media transfers. It finally consigns the ‘sneaker-net’ to the rubbish heap of history. An industry funded initiative 
So, the next big question is who is behind DPP – is it the brainchild of some multi-national corporation, developed to encourage broadcasters to buy more kit? No, just the opposite. DPP is an initiative formed by the UK’s public service broadcasters to help producers and broadcasters maximise the benefits of digital production. The partnership is funded by BBC, ITV and Channel 4, with representation from Channel 5, Sky, S4C and the independent sector on its working groups. DPP draws on industry experts from the worlds of technology and broadcast production to help fulfil its remit. Building on success of Media Exchange Format (MXF) 
Today, is unique. It has taken all the hard work it took to create the SMPTE MXF specification nearly 10 years ago and developed a set of Application Specifications for the UK industry that transform this technical standard into a real world business platform. Looking at it from an international perspective, DPP is the first of these Application Specifications to receive national scale adoption. I'm pretty certain that it won’t be the last. DPP is already a winner 
DPP has been successful in establishing a road map in digital production in the UK. It provides a framework that enables the UK industry to come together and share best practice in digital production and help producers and broadcasters maximize the potential of the digital revolution. Also, it leads the standardization of technical and metadata requirements within the UK, helping to ensure digital video content can be easily and cost-effectively distributed to audiences via multiple platforms. Strong Vendor support DPP is supported by many of the leading broadcast technology vendors. At a recent DPP Vendor Day, I counted 13 manufacturers present in the room – all co-operating to develop a harmonized digital file-based working environment. At AmberFin, we’re proud to say that we are at the leading edge of this cross industry co-operation. Already, we have introduced a family of new DPP compliant media ingest, media transcode, playback and quality control products that will, for the first time, provide broadcasters and content owners with efficient, targeted and cost-effective production tools. At AmberFin, we whole-heartedly support the DPP initiative here in the UK. We believe it has the ability to transform the UK broadcast industry. Furthermore, we believe it provides a blueprint that could be easily adopted in many other international markets. If you're not up to speed on DPP, then I recommend having a good read of our white paper and then checking out the DPP websire (url is in the white paper).