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Jan 21, 2015
Things I've learned in Dalet - The Unified User Experience

Things I've learned in Dalet - The Unified User Ex

Dalet Galaxy multitools multiplatformI've always told new staff that "You only get one chance to be a newbie!". This often confuses people. What I am trying to say to them is that when you join a new company, there are many things that you don't know about the way the company works, the people, the products, the design methodologies and who makes a decent cup of coffee. This uncertainty can make some people nervous, but I try to encourage people to enjoy the learning experience and, where possible, to document the good and bad things that they find. After 12 months, it's very hard to remember what it was like to "not know" the product or to "not understand" a particular user screen.

It's a nice change for me to be the newbie and to learn new things. I'm a pretty quick learner, but I like to keep an open mind because there are a lot of people out there who are smarter than me but not everyone is prepared to tell me to my face. Joining the Dalet team has shown me a bunch of those smart people and the results of some of their work. I can't tell you about all the secret things in the lab. However, I can talk about one subtle, but very important thing that I discovered...

I was using the Dalet News Pack to find out how it worked and how we can integrate AmberFin's technology to make it even better. After about 30-40 minutes it struck me that I was using a single integrated piece of software. I know that under the hood there are many different tools, libraries and other elements that come together to make this product, yet my learning experience felt pretty natural and intuitive. This doesn't happen by accident. I know that many people will have sat down and looked at what a user actually does with the software as well as how they interact with it. Creating a single user experience is actually a tough thing to do. Keeping things both consistent and good requires strong management of the product and a vision of what the product needs to be for the end users.

Why is this a good thing for our customers though? I have helped a lot of customers with a lot of complex workflows and the one thing that I consistently hear is how hard things can be to learn. Making a product easy and consistent in its experience encourages users to try new things and it also gives different operators from different teams the ability to help each other. Reducing learning and training time saves money and increases productivity for the owner of the system. It encourages diverse users to feel part of the same team and reduces the "fear of the unknown" when new workflows need to be investigated.

I must say that I have been impressed so far with my experiences here at Dalet. I understand why customers like the Dalet MAM so much. Now it's time to learn the Onecut editor so that I can deliver the next series of Bruce's Shorts using Dalet's own tools.

It's good to learn new things from smart people. If you want to find out more about why a single user interface gives benefits, then why not download the Time Warner Case Study from our website?

 

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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. 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NextRadioTV Accelerates its Digital Transformation and Network Expansion with Dalet
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, announced today that NextRadioTV has leveraged its existing Dalet Galaxy Media Asset Management (MAM), Workflow Orchestration and Editorial platform located in Paris, France to launch the new BFM Lyon news channel. Owned by the multinational telecoms and mass media company Altice Group, NextRadioTV is one of the largest media properties in Europe with 14 TV and two radio channels, reaching more than 10 million viewers each day. A Dalet customer since 2005, NextRadioTV powers its content production, playout and multi-platform distribution workflows with Dalet Galaxy for all of their leading TV, radio and digital channel brands including, BFM Business, BFM Paris, RMC Sport, RMC Story, RMC Découverte, and BFMTV, France’s most-watched news channel. The diverse program content contains breaking local and national news, world financial and business news, and full coverage of football, rugby, tennis, boxing and more. “NextRadioTV has an ambitious roadmap in terms of both new content production and new channels, like BFM Lyon,” comments Antoine Robelin, Broadcast CTO, NextRadioTV. “Underpinning the entire operation with an agile platform like Dalet Galaxy enables us to centralize all of our media operations and optimize productions. More than 1,000 journalists and editors are able to work with the Dalet Galaxy system. They work collaboratively and share their content across all NextRadioTV brands. This gives us tremendous flexibility with regards to feeding channels and distribution outlets, including our new BFM Lyon channel.” NextRadioTV’s digital transformation with Dalet has enabled the group to launch new initiatives like the ultra-targeted regional station BFM Lyon quickly, while keeping in line with the brand’s content strategy across multiple locations. With a reputation for always being the first to broadcast breaking news, the Dalet tools help NextRadioTV verify, editorialize and broadcast content before any other media outlet. “Launching BFM Lyon, the second regional channel after BFM Paris under Altice France, marks a major step in our network expansion strategy. Thanks to the advanced collaboration framework and powerful connectivity, Dalet Galaxy has helped broaden our reach while accelerating a digital transformation that allows us to continue to scale with ease,” adds Antoine Robelin. A single Dalet Galaxy MAM, orchestration and editorial platform powers NextRadioTV's massive multi-channel, multi-format and multi-output programming, from news and sports to long-form and radio programs, allowing individual teams to manage collaboratively everything from content ingest, editing, graphics and playout, to multi-platform distribution and archives. Johann Zemmour, General Manager EMEA-APAC, Dalet comments, “The agility of Dalet Galaxy is very important for NextRadioTV’s product-oriented production approach, in which they use a studio to produce a show and decide later where and when that program content will appear on TV, radio and digital. Dalet Galaxy allows them to use their resources independently of their channels, enabling NextRadioTV to leverage a wide range of content for new channels as well as manage distribution across their many platforms in an incredibly efficient manner.” Dalet systems have supported BFMTV programming throughout their entire history, from a small newsroom of 50 people to what is today several hundreds of simultaneous users and advanced workflows covering all production and playout operations. 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CNNMoney Switzerland - The launch of a new channel dedicated to the Swiss economy and finance with Dalet
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Dalet Accelerates News Delivery for Times Network
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Dalet’s New Social Media Capabilities are Trending for News Pros
The massive amount of content available to journalists on social media is both a gift and a curse. The ‘wisdom of the crowds’ scenario on social media platforms provides journalists a wealth of real-time commentary on what is - to the digital majority - top breaking news and hot topic trends. News pros can leverage these trending topics to quickly tap into and engage with audiences on what is important to them at that very moment. Great, right? Not exactly. The downside: There has been no effective way to methodically aggregate, harvest, and easily utilize this social media content for a 360-news narrative. It’s a painful manual process to download social content, bring into your MAM, log it and then utilize key pieces for your story. That is, until NAB 2019... Leveraging social media in evolving narratives The Dalet Galaxy five Social Media Framework new “Aggregator Panel,” which made its debut at NAB 2019, solves this obstacle for storytellers who want to leverage social commentary for their evolving narratives. Journalists can set the Dalet Social Media Framework Aggregator Panel to follow any number of topics. The Dalet system will automatically compile - in real time - a running list of the tagged social media posts. Users can easily browse posts and select to download only those posts that are relevant to their story. Behind the scenes, metadata is automatically extracted and indexed in the Dalet Galaxy five content catalog. The intuitive dashboard lets users neatly organize multiple social media storylines. Simple drag and drop of content into carts lets users quickly reutilize posts in breaking stories. Thanks to the underlying Dalet Workflow Engine, the newsroom can automate workflows such as turning social posts into ready-to-air CGs and graphics, making it easy to reutilize content over multiple platforms quickly. <iframe width="100%" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/D-tqWCz8geU" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> In most newsroom environments today, the news producer typically does not have much visibility into what is happening on the digital side of the operation. In a similar scenario, the digital team typically has difficulties accessing the assets including video, images, and scripts that have been created by the producer and news staff. The new Aggregator Panel provides a bridge between these two worlds. More than managing the social media bits in a way that can be used within the story quickly and easily, the new Aggregator Panel gives the newsroom a direct window into the social media world and beyond and digital teams access to the valuable assets being developed in the newsroom. Hello (collaborative) social media workflows The Dalet Galaxy five platform allows both groups to share assets and tools, essentially, creating an entire collaborative social media- friendly workspace. The beauty of the new Dalet Aggregator Panel is that it captures a social post so that content itself is available for production immediately within the collaborative space. Journalists can set the Dalet Social Media Aggregator Panel to follow any number of topics. Simple drag and drop of posts lets users quickly share and reutilize content in breaking stories. That video that is downloaded with the Dalet Aggregator Panel, is not just ‘downloading.’ Dalet recognizes it’s associated to a tweet and transcodes it into a mezzanine format with the correct aspect ratio for production. It automatically places it in the storage system with the metadata form filled out. For the users, it's just a drag-and-drop of the tweet. On the back end, Dalet Galaxy five does all of the heavy lifting. The user can just open it in Dalet OneCut or another editor and start working. The feature is called ‘Tweet to Edit’! It’s the same process for the creation of the graphic. As soon as you transform a tweet into a graphic, that graphic becomes an object within Dalet that you can either schedule in your production rundown or you can play it out on air with your news package. And of course, this is called ‘Tweet to Graphics’. While the Dalet Galaxy five Social Media Framework is great for journalists to publish their social media content, your digital teams may already use another social media management platform. However, for the digital teams, Dalet Galaxy five Social Media Framework does solve a big pain point, and that is efficiency in planning. Many digital teams manage planning using a shared Word or Excel type of document. This static approach provides no insight into the overall newsroom planning. With Dalet Galaxy five and the new Aggregator Panel, digital teams can plan with a full view of the newsroom activities and access to all content, including the harvested social assets. Have we piqued your interest? Contact us to discuss further and learn more about the Dalet Social Media Framework.
IBC2018: Key Takeaways from Dalet
I’ve been thinking and reflecting on how to properly characterize this year’s show and the one word that kept surfacing to the top of my mind is audience. While IBC stayed true to its B2B roots, this year’s edition finally put the audience at the very center of every conversation, workflow and applied technology demonstration that you could possibly find across the RAI convention center. Acknowledging the deep market shifts, this year’s show revolved around audiences’ insatiable craving for fresh content and more personalised, immersive experiences on the devices and channels of their choice. For broadcasters and media organizations, it highlighted one thing: the need for greater agility, faster adaptation and collaborative innovation. Not only do media professionals need to think “out of the box” about linear broadcast and traditional consumption formats and devices, but they need to think tactically on how to build meaningful, complementary content experiences. The Efficient Media Factory Multiplatform Production, Versioning and Automated Distribution This is a good segue to talk about how our agile Dalet Galaxy five platform is enabling broadcasters and media organizations to meet their audiences’ expectations and build strong, open foundation for future requirements. A key concern today is how to address the many outlets, program categories and flavors of a particular program simultaneously. Our Director of Product Strategy Kevin Savina explains in a Rapid TV News interview at IBC the complexities of delivering hyper-curated content to multiple platforms and how broadcasters and media organizations need to embrace the new way of thinking and working when it comes to building and distributing their content. <iframe width="100%" height="400" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UbX-BvEaySc" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> Agile platforms like Dalet Galaxy five drive workflows with a component-based approach, enabling industrialization of key industry standards like IMF and creating real business benefits and opportunities for international content distribution. More than a technical uplift, component-based workflows really allow an operation to change the value model and ultimately change the way the media business engages its viewers and customers who want to purchase their programs with hyper-targeted content delivered to any platform, any country en mass. Let’s take a real-life example with the leading European media brand Euronews. A finalist of the prestigious IBC Innovation Awards alongside Dalet, Euronews piloted a strategic transformation to put content customization at the heart of its operations. Tapping fully into the agility of the Dalet Galaxy platform and component-based workflows, Euronews, in essence, reinvented its broadcast journalism, taking its “one-size-fits-all” approach to news, which was one video with 11 voice-overs, into 12 distinct localized channels. They increased digital content output by 20% and television content by 100% with the same staff and headcount. Johann Zemmour, Dalet General Manager, EMEA & APAC; Francois Schmitt, Euronews COO; Yannick Agaësse, Dalet Sales & Business Development Manager Euronews achieved its vision and became the world’s first truly ‘Glocal’ news channel, providing audiences important global headlines with perspectives and viewpoints relevant to their regions, cultures and communities. This transformation also allowed Euronews to become the perfect media partner for advertisers looking to run impactful international advertising campaigns with the ability to adapt their message to the characteristics of local markets. Another great example of customer success is Sportcast, a subsidiary of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga. Sportcast operates the largest digital football archive in the world. Producing the 617 yearly matches of the German Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 for DFL, Sportcast manages the entire content value chain from the stadium to the world with the Dalet Galaxy platform. You can hear from them directly the importance of an agile platform in managing, enriching and delivering content: <iframe width="100%" height="400" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6Y2wKPtTYAQ" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> Live Show Production & Complementary Content Experiences With the launch of Dalet OnePlay at IBC, we had the chance to talk with many attendees about the importance of complementary content experience around live shows. I am happy to report here that our new solution received a very warm welcome from both the Dalet stand visitors and the press, nabbing the TVBEurope Best of Show Award for its innovation and outstanding product development. In the conversations we had, most media operations need a way to better control content and engage their audiences during live playout. Not everyone can afford to run every production device manually to get that granular control. It’s simply too costly and too cumbersome. Dalet OnePlay controls all core production device types, including video switchers and servers, cameras, audio mixing consoles, graphics, lighting, routers and more. In addition, it orchestrates multimedia content distribution, including social media delivery, thanks to the native connection with the Dalet Galaxy five orchestration layer. You can read more about Dalet OnePlay capabilities in the interview with Dalet OnePlay product line manager Raul Alba. Raul Alba, Dalet Product Line Manager for Studio Production, Broadcast Graphics, and I/O Solutions Making Media Businesses Smarter. The AI Revolution! The notions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) may sometimes remain a bit difficult to grasp. Well, we have a suggestion: get the benefits of AI, not the complexity! At IBC2018, we revealed the first version of Dalet Media Cortex, a cloud service that enables media organizations to connect and orchestrate various types of AI technologies everywhere they add value to operations & business. A plug-and-play service, the first release of Dalet Media Cortex enables media organizations to consume cognitive services such as celebrity identification, label, brand and scene detection, sentiment analysis, and visual content moderation, on demand in a pay-as-you-go model. The AI-generated data is then displayed at various levels of the Dalet Galaxy five application, in a set of new intuitive UIs, to provide contextual, actionable insights and recommendations to the users. The full launch of Dalet Media Cortex will be in Q1 2019 and you can learn more about our AI as well as social media plans in the What Caught My Eye’s Business Transformation session - see video below, starting at 41:20 and until 46:20 - featuring Dalet VP of Marketing Arnaud Elnecave: Connecting a Globally Distributed Workforce Also making its debut at IBC2018, the new Dalet OneCut remote editing workflow was demonstrated on the stand by product line manager Golan Tsarfaty. The new remote editing capabilities give journalists out in the field a way to upload materials easily as well as develop stories remotely using content from the central newsroom and archives. They can submit drafts or finalize their piece from anywhere. You can learn more about this remarkable workflow in this in-depth interview with Golan. This feature is the perfect illustration of decades of R&D and innovation in collaborative media workflows. Collaboration is a core concept of the Dalet Galaxy platform and spans across the entire workflow: from planning through scripting, production all the way through broadcast and distribution. All of these activities are served by a single, unified content catalogue and accessible from multiple devices. Shared media bins make the life of teams easier than ever, chat rooms allow users to open up projects quickly, using ad-hoc groups to exchange media, scripts and ideas. Last but not least, collaborative script editing in editorial workflows is a game-changing feature! Thank You, Dalet Community! I could not conclude this blog article without praising the amazing Dalet community! Dalet Pulse was once again a unique demonstration of how powerful, diverse and vibrant our community is today. On behalf of the entire Dalet Team, thank you to everyone for attending and engaging in so many discussions around the latest technology and business trends, as well as sharing best practices and use cases. Also a big thank you to our event sponsors and key partners Adobe, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Quantum and Dell EMC. See you soon... Any questions? Did you miss us at the show? Let’s talk or meet at our next event!
Dalet presentará en IBC la última versión de su plataforma MAM Galaxy
Why Upgrade to Dalet Galaxy?
Over the past few years, while conducting training sessions or working on a project site, many customers have asked me why they should upgrade their platform to Dalet Galaxy. The answer is as simple as the upgrade process. You can maintain the same workflow, but, thanks to Dalet Galaxy, you can also cut down on the number of steps it takes to complete a task for a journalist, video editor or media manager, with a new and improved user interface and enhanced integration with a wide variety of third-party systems. Here are just a few ways that Dalet Galaxy can improve your existing workflow: For Journalists For Media Managers For Librarians For Management For Journalists Many of my journalism students over the years have complained that Dalet 3.5 is way too “Windows 98.” In Dalet Galaxy, we enhanced the look and feel while also keeping in mind what kind of tasks look better with a light skin, such as writing a story, while a dark skin is better suited for video editing. If you have ever sat with a video editor, it’s usually in the dark (think dungy basement apartment), while journalists like to be seen and see others. The Home Screen, both in Dalet WebSpace and in the full client, cuts the amount of steps to create a story down from four steps to one, and, with the auto text and macros capabilities, the time needed to put common objects or words in a story has been greatly reduced. While researching for assignments, the first place to look is the “planning event” associated to the assigned story, which is populated with maps, pictures, tweets harvested from Twitter, RSS feeds, and other types of digital media. A journalist has the all the information at his/her fingertips and thus can focus on the content rather than collecting information. Dalet Galaxy has brought field journalists and those working remotely closer to home with its new Chat functionality. Available in the full client as well as the new and improved WebSpace, Chat offers a modern interface with support for persistent chats, group chats, messaging offline users and much more. In addition, the mobile app Dalet On-the-Go allows journalists to receive assignments via smartphone or tablet. They can then write stories, film interviews, record audio and take pictures using an iOS or Android device, which automatically uploads content to the newsroom, making news more current than ever. While Dalet Galaxy enhances the experience of editing using Adobe® Premiere®, Final Cut Pro®, and Avid Media Composer® with tight integration with Avid Interplay®, journalists also have the option to edit in Dalet Galaxy using the multi-layer, effects-filled Dalet OneCut Multimedia editor. With advanced metadata tagging and new API integration with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Dalet Galaxy enhances content once destined only for television or radio in order to reach a wider audience. All of this is monitored through analytics to better understand media consumption, regardless of the distribution platform. For Media Managers Before the birth of Dalet Galaxy, while coaching media managers, QC and ingest operators in Digital Media Centres or ingest rooms, I found that there were far too many steps when scheduling an ingest. The old process was as follows: Check email or the net for the ingest schedule Create a Planning event to alert others of the recording Create an ingest job for the recording Switch the router source Conduct a QC check while ingesting Sometimes manually create a proxy Fill in metadata for search User(s) must open up many different applications for this process, with various other confusing and convoluted steps along the way. With the Dalet Workflow Engine, the task is automated: Dope sheets with the Schedule and Information from agencies like Reuters imports into Dalet Galaxy as a Planning event; all information is associated to the corresponding ingest job, which is automatically scheduled. As the high-resolution video ingests, directly to the SAN or from the video server to the storage, the Dalet Brio video server generates a proxy so the user can access the content faster.​ In 2015, newsrooms and media centres receive content from a wide variety of sources such as cell phones, tablets and even drones, in a wide variety of formats. Dalet AmberFin easily transcodes this content, which can even be in 4k, into an HD broadcast-quality format with QC integration to check the audio and video quality, then updates the asset in the MAM seamlessly. While this is happening, the Media Manager sits back in a rolling chair watching the process in the Job Monitor. For program and archive workflows, with the easy-to-use workflow designer, administrators can setup complex orchestrated workflows with both automated and manual tasks. When the asset appears in Dalet it becomes a task of the Dalet Workflow Engine, which triggers different automated tasks and assigns jobs to users. As users claim different tasks, Dalet Galaxy automatically opens up the correct program for that task, such as the QC Playout module, or an Asset Management form to enter metadata for search. With the new track stacking capabilities, workflow management tools and context map functionality in Dalet Galaxy, handling complex workflows with a wide variety of assets related to one other, such as subtitles, language tracks and multiple versions, has been made more fluid and easier to manage. Through this orchestration, Galaxy streamlines complex transformations to send content where it needs to go, in the correct language, and in the correct format to systems such as VOD, OTT and social media platforms. For Librarians With comprehensive use of glossary terms, and the faceted search capabilities of the SOLR search engine in Dalet Galaxy, entering metadata and finding content has never been easier. In the past, librarians had to enter metadata for each asset that came into the system. Using ‘The Trailer Park Boys’ (Canadian Program), as an example, in every episode actor Mike Smith plays the character Bubbles, most of the episodes are shot in Nova Scotia, and the genre is comedy. Rather than entering all this information in multiple fields for each asset, by simply typing ‘T-R-A’ in the proper field, Dalet Galaxy will suggest what glossary term you might want, which is related to a wide variety of information in other fields such as the actor’s height, the shooting location and whatever else is common to every show. If a Dalet Galaxy user wants to make a highlight reel of Canadian Male Comedians, the user can quickly choose ‘actor’ in a dropdown menu from the search template and narrow down the search results by selecting different criteria as facets such as ‘Comedy,’ ‘Male,’ and ‘Canadian,’ resulting in some videos, pictures and audio of Bubbles…I mean Mike Smith. Instead of conducting separate searches in a production system, archive system, bureaus or different stations, by using the new federated search capabilities, users can conduct single queries that will search throughout multiple systems, which could be spread out across a country or even the world. To add to the search functionality, Dalet AmberFin has the ability to extract closed captioning, which is then tagged by timecode to an asset in the MAM, allowing users to locate the exact moment a person says a specific sentence by simply typing those words into the search field. For Management If you need reports on how long it takes an archivist to log content, how many times a video has been watched on YouTube, or if content was used past its embargo date, the Dalet Reporting Centre is for you. Dalet Galaxy not only generates reports on the lifecycle of assets, it also shows managers where they can improve a system or workflow to avoid bottlenecks and improve on their return on investment with business intelligence. For the past few years, the “Cloud” has been the buzzword for many of our customers along with PasS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service). At NAB this year in Las Vegas, we produced an entire news broadcast with the help of journalism students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where the entire system was hosted on the Cloud, with approved content uploaded to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. I don’t want to spill the beans, but at IBC this September in Amsterdam, the world will be seeing much more virtualization from Dalet to automate workflows, simplify tasks and gather information to enrich assets. For the past 25 years, we have listened to our customers and worked with partners to enhance the solutions of Dalet. The result: a feature-rich, automated, workflow-defined system driven by content. Please contact us if you would like to talk to a product specialist or set up a demo.
The Power of Monitoring
Next up on our #PowerOfDalet blog series, and following up on our article two weeks ago on the Power of Analytics in Dalet AmberFin, we are now exploring the Power of Monitoring in Dalet Galaxy. While you can (almost) always troubleshoot and find a way to make your media files work, wouldn’t it be even better if you could maintain and even optimize your system performances over time, and identify potential issues at an early stage, before trouble sets in? If this is the case, we need to talk! Thanks to Dalet Dashboard, system operators and administrators today have access to centralized, state-of-the-art analysis tools for monitoring and managing the performance of Dalet solutions and third-party systems across the entire media workflow. Dalet Dashboard is a key tool to maintain your system performance over time; but even more importantly, it is a key asset to lowering your hardware infrastructure and maintenance costs, and optimizing global infrastructure performances. Monitoring a broadcast system is a big challenge How do you know when your system is under-performing? What could be a good indicator for that? The simple and obvious answer is hardware performance. High CPU usage over time, memory leaks, storage problems and so on, could all hint that there is (or about to be) a problem. But consider that your hardware could be running smoothly, with absolutely no sign of any bad news to come, while a major problem quietly brews, not showing itself...yet. It’s the Dalet Dashboard to the rescue! Backed by the next-generation monitoring engine Icinga, Dalet Dashboard fully leverages this engine built for high performance, which benefits from a multi-threaded design (as opposed to older monitoring systems) and makes it possible to monitor thousands of devices in a very efficient way – it could run thousands of quality checks every single second! Dalet Dashboard is critical in maintaining the smooth and seamless daily performance of the broadcast environment. It continuously checks the system’s various components, analyzing their utilization, spotting problematic parts and alerting the system administrator to fix them at an early stage – before it becomes too expensive to fix. The Dashboard keeps an attentive eye on core components, such as the Dalet services, the Dalet name servers, the Dalet core agents, the Dalet SQL server, the various storage components, third-party systems, and so on. By centralizing system monitoring and management, Dalet Dashboard provides a new approach to enterprise broadcast system management for site administrators and engineers, with global administration tools, smart alerts and notifications, and customized reports and statistics. Common use case scenarios for Dalet Dashboard Envision a common scenario: storage space is running low. This can can severely affect the overall performance of the entire system. This is where Dalet Dashboard comes into action – as soon as the free space drops below the pre-defined threshold, an alert is sent to the appropriate operator, who receives the necessary information and data to take measures to fix the issue. Sometimes the problem is not that easy to detect. For example, an incorrect design made by the system architecture could result in a heavy load on some Dalet core agents, while other agents are idling most of the time. Dalet Dashboard is able to catch that at an early stage, quickly identifying that a specific agent is hammered with too many requests, and notifying the site administrator with a recommended course of action, such as a different load distribution. Dalet Dashboard takes system monitoring and management a step further In order to have a clear view of the site performance, customized dashboard views are provided, showing the key measurements of the site performance, making it very easy to spot troubles from a high level – low free space, disconnected core servers, SQL server not running, servers are out of sync, etc. For that we use a state-of-the-art graphing tool – which is very easy to customize, making it possible for each site to organize the dashboard to show the views most relevant to them. For example, some sites are metadata only (no media), hence they do not need storage-related information, but they do care about the rate of titles/wires created. A dashboard view can be constructed, showing side-by-side time-series graphs or tables of data, showing the most important metrics. Dalet Dashboard will save your organization money Using Dalet Dashboard to monitor organizational needs can even help facilities save money – they can use the statistics it provides to determine when the site is used most, when is it idle, if we are using virtualization, etc. We can use those measurements to realize when more power is needed and, alternatively, when we can reduce some of the resources. It can tell us whether we need more server machines, or maybe some existing hardware is not needed, and so on. Acting as an intelligent partner, Dalet Dashboard will help you tailor your infrastructure to your needs. Learn more about Dalet Dashboard and check out how Dalet Galaxy can improve your media workflow. Please contact us if you would like to talk to a product specialist or set up a demo.
The Power of the Dalet Search
In today’s multi-platform world, simply put, finding stuff is becoming more complex. In the past, a mere browse through the shelves would suffice. But the digital era brings forth the "hoarding" syndrome. Just think, for example, of your own collection of home pictures – I know mine are in an unmanaged mess. But before we get into searching, we first need to address quantifying things. This is where a MAM's role is to be the record keeper of your valuable content and its associated information. More importantly, having a metadata model extensible enough to address the multiple levels and hierarchy of data is key to the success of your search power. As the amount of content owned, archived and distributed by broadcasters is rapidly growing, it is also evolving, resulting in an exponential expansion of files that must be managed. What was once a one-to-one relationship between the "record" and the media, has evolved into a model where a complex collection of elements (audio, video, text, captions, etc.) forms a record relationship. And don’t even get me started on versioning. To illustrate what I’m talking about, let’s look at the example of the TV Series “24,” starring Keifer Sutherland. You could annotate an episode with the actor’s name, the actor’s character’s name, the actor’s birthday, and so on ... and for each element of that collection (let’s say the source master, the poster, the caption). Having the ability to define a taxonomy and ontology so that when I specify that “24” ALWAYS has Jack Bauer in all the episodes and that the character Jack Bauer is played by actor Keifer Sutherland, we can then have a way to inherit that information down the tree for any element that is part of that tree: Series/Season/Episode. Then for the users, only saying that “this” video is actually 24/season2/ep7 will automatically inherit/apply all it's “parent” associated metadata... without needing to enter each individual value. This greatly reduces the amount of data entry (and time) necessary to quantify something when considering the immense amount of content associated with any given record. But the big impact of the rich metadata engine found in our MAM is its ability to not only search but to discover as well. What I mean is that there are typically two methods of searching: The first is explicit search – the user chooses the necessary fields to conduct their search, and then enters the values to obtain a result, e.g. looking for “Videos” with “Jack Bauer” in “Season 2.” The result is a list that the user must filter through to find what they want. The second way to search is through discovery, with the MAM's ability to display facets. For example, I could type “Actor’s height” (6'2") in “Action role,” “On Location” (Los Angeles). The return would display facets organized by user-defined relevancy, such as Series, Media Type, Actor Name, to then produce a resulting list along with facet boxes that the user can "filter down" within the search. The above example would show: "I found 12 Videos with Keifer Sutherland as an actor," and “I found 34 assets shot in Los Angeles.” And then by checking the 12 Videos of Keifer and the 34 in Los Angeles to cross-eliminate, I would find that there are actually three assets of Keifer in Los Angeles. And then you would also see that the character Jack Bauer also has a cameo on “The Simpsons.” Rich metadata allows us to create relationship between assets at multiple levels. Those various facets allow you to not only navigate through hundreds if not thousands of media assets, but to easily discover specific content as well. And finally, having immediate access to these results for viewing or editing is what makes the Dalet MAM a harmonious ecosystem for not only information but also action/manipulation of said assets.
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.
CCW, SOA, FIMS and the King & Queen of the Media Industry
All-Star Panel Sessions at CCW 2014 The NAB-backed CCW held some impressive panels, and our own Stephane Guez (Dalet CTO) and Luc Comeau (Dalet Business Development Manager) participated in two of the show’s hot topics. MAM, It’s All About Good Vocabulary – Luc Comeau, Senior Business Development Manager The saying goes, “behind every great man, there is a greater woman.” Within the panel – “Content Acquisition and Management Platform: A Service-Oriented Approach” – there was a lot of talk about content being king. In my view then, metadata is his queen. Metadata gives you information that a MAM can capitalize on and allows you to build the workflow to enable your business vision. Done correctly and enterprise MAM will give you visibility into the entire organization, allowing you to better orchestrate both the technical and human process. Because at the end of the day, it’s the visibility of the entire organization that allows you to make better decisions, like whether or not you need to make a change or adapt your infrastructure to accommodate new workflows. In our session, the conversation very quickly headed towards the topic of interoperability. Your MAM must have a common language to interface with all the players. If it doesn’t, you will spend an enormous amount of time translating so these players can work together. And if the need arises, and it usually does, you may need to replace one component with another that speaks a foreign language, well then, you are back to square one. A common framework will ensure a smooth sequence through production and distribution. A common framework, perhaps, such as FIMS… The One Thing Everyone Needs to Know About FIMS – Stephane Guez, Dalet CTO I was invited by Janet Gardner, president of Perspective Media Group, Inc., to participate in the FIMS (Framework for Interoperable Media Services) conference panel she moderated at CCW 2014. The session featured Loic Barbou, chair of the FIMS Technical Board, Jacki Guerra, VP, Media Asset Services for A+E Networks, and Roman Mackiewicz, CIO Media Group at Bloomberg – two broadcasters that are deploying FIMS-compliant infrastructures. The aim of the session was to get the broadcasters’ points of views on their usage of the FIMS standard. The FIMS project was initiated to define standards that enable media systems to be built using a Service Orientated Architecture (SOA). FIMS has enormous potential benefits for both media organizations and the vendors/manufacturers that supply them, defining common interfaces for archetypal media operations such as capture, transfer, transform, store and QC. Global standardization of these interfaces will enable us, as an industry, to respond more quickly and cost effectively to the innovation and the constantly evolving needs and demands of media consumers. Having begun in December 2009, the FIMS project is about to enter it’s 6th year, but the immense scale of the task is abundantly clear, with the general opinion of the panelists being that we are at the beginning of a movement – still very much a work-in-progress with a lot of work ahead of us. One thing, however, was very clear from the discussion: Broadcasters need to be the main driver for FIMS. In doing so, they will find there are challenges and trade offs. FIMS cannot be adopted overnight. There are many existing, complex installations that rely on non-FIMS equipment. It will take some time before these systems can be converted to a FIMS-compliant infrastructure. Along with the technology change, there is the need to evolve the culture. For many, FIMS will put IT at the center of their production. A different world and skill set, many organizations will need to adapt both their workforce and workflow to truly reap the advantages of FIMS.