How do you make processes more efficient and responsive, while keeping a tight grip on quality, costs and complexity, asks Mediagenix CTO and head of product Peter Heinckiens.
Can you briefly outline the history of your involvement with Mediagenix, and a few of your significant pre-Mediagenix achievements?
I have been with Mediagenix for slightly over two years now as CTO and head of product. My role consists of defining the product vision, building the technological platform to support it, and working with customers to help them adopt our solutions.
I have worked for 25 years’ specialising in what is now called digital transformation: rethinking processes, business models and customer relationships based on what digital technologies make possible. I’ve done that at Toyota, developing the EMEA strategy and architecture. As VP at SAP I was responsible for customer advisory, collaborating closely with companies and governments on the same subject.
Almost all of the organisations I have come across have had to address two challenging questions. One question is: How do you make processes more efficient and responsive, while keeping a tight grip on quality, costs and complexity? In other words, how can we attain process excellence? The second question is: How do we improve and speed up innovation?
Successfully dealing with those two questions has become an evermore pressing issue since the breakthrough of IP technology. And this is exactly where Mediagenix is helping media companies, bringing our ecosystem view to the critical matters at hand.
How would you summarise the USP of Mediagenix with regard to the main solutions it offers at present?
As a global tech vendor with great insight acquired through over 25 years of intensive co-creation with a world-spanning customer community, Mediagenix helps media companies reinvent their business and content ecosystem so that they can grow amid ongoing changes.
Our broadcast management platform, Whats’on, is used to manage the content supply chain from planning to distribution. Whats’on can support the entire content workflow and act as a central system, driving content, rights, media, EPG or finance workflows, complemented with third-party applications.
Given that today’s multi-platform media landscape requires workflows that are tightly integrated with great flexibility, Whats’on integrates with best-of breed solutions and APIs to piece it all together. The open architecture brings the stability of an established solution with the power and flexibility of cloud-based components, opening up opportunities to leverage new technologies such as AI and machine learning.
Our content-centric vision and single toolset for both linear and VoD/OTT scheduling and content management helps media companies face growing complexities across OTT, DTC, on-demand and linear services, and allows them to reach for new business models.
Effective aggregation and management of data is critical to most media platforms these days. In what ways does Mediagenix help its customers in this regard?
As the central backbone for media operations, Whats’on centralises all data from the earliest stages onwards so that all users are on the same page, with real-time information and additional data able to be added downstream by all departments involved in accordance with their respective permissions.
We are currently developing our insight platform. It opens up Whats’on’s data and [makes it possible to] aggregate it with data coming from other sources. It provides the user with powerful tools to create dashboards and reports. They can also easily run machine-learning algorithms on this data, and as such they turn data into true insight. This insight can then be transformed into true intelligence by feeding it back into the operational processes using our concept of ‘pluggable AI’.
At IBC we are showing a prototype that uses ‘pluggable AI’ to take the grunt out of routine processes such as off-peak scheduling. [This means that] planners can focus on their true art, which is primetime scheduling.
By the way, developments in this field have earned us a place on the shortlist for the IABM BaM Awards.
What are the latest developments to the core Mediagenix portfolio?
Our latest extension to our rights management solution is our cloud-native web app that cuts though the complexity and pitfalls of selling content rights, eliminates time-consuming chores, and leaves more time to optimise this key revenue stream.
We also have a new Whats’on Sports and eSports Module. This is the most comprehensive and powerful tool to manage and schedule live content as well as recorded and pre-produced content.
Also new is our solution for the complex revenue-share calculations. Whatever kinds of calculations are needed for whatever kind of beneficiary, our Revenue Share Calculation Engine quickly gets you the needed overviews and a range of preconfigured or manually-tuned reports.
We also now offer automation of the VoD/OTT distribution workflow orchestration, thanks to integration with a best-of breed workflow engine and APIs to piece it all together. And, as already mentioned, we are showing our first prototype for AI-based off-peak linear scheduling.
In what ways does the IBC exhibition help extend the reach of your business and connect you with possible new customers?
If today we are among the top tech vendors in the international media industry, we greatly owe it to our co-creation with our worldwide customer community, which has always inspired our roadmap. But as one of the thought leaders in our fast-paced market we also want to constantly check our bearings against the findings and views of leading industry voices. The IBC conference is a very important event for us in that respect.
Regarding the exhibition itself, we are there to showcase our solutions and latest innovations. The IBC visitors represent a good cross-section of our target group, which has grown to be very diverse with new players and the proliferation of OTT services. We want to converse with the visitors, hear what their challenges are, and discuss how we can help prepare their content ecosystem for the future.
IBC has also always been a great annual occasion for us to meet with customers and partners, and see what other partners could bring to our business.
Finally, which areas of technology are you most interested in finding out more about at IBC2019?
As our open architecture makes it possible to integrate with best-of-breed solutions that answer specific challenges, we are always on the lookout for technology solutions that open new opportunities or drive efficiencies across the content supply chain as well as reduce costs. Plus, we keep a close track of evolutions in cloud AI and machine learning, blockchain, VR and AR, 5G and anything else that can change this fascinating game once again.