• Tech execs eye edge computing to transform live content and remote production
  • Red Bee and AWS joined Equinix for edge computing panel
  • Personalisation and targeted advertising could also benefit from Edge computing

Execs from RedBee, AWS and Equinix unpacked Edge computing, its use cases and business models during the IBC Showcase session, Journey To the Edge - Is the Media and Entertainment industry a leader or a follower.

In its latest Global Index Report, data centre and internet connection specialist Equinix defined the need for Edge computing in terms of projects requiring ‘less than 20 milliseconds of latency’.

Session chair Josh Stinehour - an analyst at Devoncroft Partners - asked the panel whether anyone in media and entertainment actually needed this level of latency, and how the business value could be managed.

For RedBee – which handles 78 per cent of broadcast TV media consumed Europe - speeding up deployment of its equipment racks is a key use case.

The managed services facility’s head of transformation and distribution Kris Langbridge added that other uses could be as broad as processing content from a remote production setting, to bringing live streams back to a processing facility.

He also predicted that Edge would transform cloud gaming services.

For Amazon Web Services, a chief use case in entertainment is its regional and local edge-based services, which involve building data centres as close to the site as possible.

AWS principal solution architect Claire Southey added that the cloud service provider’s Local Zone in LA – announced last December – has been embraced by its large community of latency-sensitive VFX artists.

“Out at the Edge you tend to trade compute density for latency. The advantage of these local zones are that they offer very high density compute and low latency, which is very popular in LA,” she said.

She added that in terms of content trends, personalization and targeted advertising would also benefit from Edge computing.

Business transformation

According to Langbridge, Red Bed is currently working on “a huge transformation project” to build out its own private cloud platform facilitate Edge services.

He claimed that the platform would change the way that Red Bee invested in its own infrastructure.

“We used to invest in technology every time you did a deal – now we need the platform, we have to invest ahead of those deals and create a space where we can deploy new customers on board within days rather than months,” he said.

For Matthew George, director of field development at Equinix the main obstacles to Edge computing in the Cloud are “mindset-based, rather than technology-driven”.

However, he added that the recent pandemic, which induced mass scale remote working, has meant, “Behaviours are starting to change.”

George has been encouraged by the uptick in client movement away from capex and towards an opex business model, but stressed that it was important clients were only charged for what they needed.

“This is where AWS is excelling by providing the components up front rather than the whole stack. The connectivity requirements of a live broadcast might only be for 90 minutes – and that’s what we need to enable,” he said.

Besides attuning performance and reduce costs for clients, AWS’s goal for M&E - according to Southey - is to make workflows scalable, reliable and repeatable.

“We want enable clients to create a production control room with audio and mixing and graphics and vision switching and then for them to be able to template this so they can bring it up on demand,” she said.

To this end, Southey added that her goal at this IBC’s virtual meets was to find application service providers interested in writing future broadcast applications for the Edge.