Avid Technology is a technology and multimedia company specialising in audio and video, whose products are used in the television and video industry. The company provides content editing, content management, newsroom graphics, and news production solutions for media companies – and now the company is performing these workflows in the cloud.

More than 2 500 news clients use the Avid platforms for rundown creation, editing, sharing, storing, and distributing content across traditional and digital platforms.

Avid MediaCentral is the company’s technology platform for managing media workflows, and Avid MediaCentral | Newsroom Management in the Cloud provides the tools and services specifically required for news production.

While customers initially deployed this software on-premises, many sought new deployment options as their news networks became global operations and the number of distribution channels increased, creating operational and business challenges and opportunities.

“News networks want to put news management and editing tools closer to the people using them so that journalists can collaborate with one another, editors can access archived footage from the field, and field teams can work more efficiently to deliver personalized content to consumers,” says Paul Thompson, director of strategic solutions at Avid. “That’s hard to do when all your content and tools are in a bureau thousands of miles away.”

Putting MediaCentral in the cloud was the logical solution. After an exhaustive evaluation of the leading cloud service providers, Avid decided to work with Microsoft.

The companies created a cloud-based news production demonstration for the IBC 2017 global television industry conference, featuring a hybrid-cloud infrastructure hosted partially on Microsoft Azure and partially on the Microsoft Azure Stack on-premises cloud platform.

They used Azure ExpressRoute to provide private, predictable, high-speed connectivity between Azure and customer datacentres.

With MediaCentral | Newsroom Management in the Cloud, journalists upload or stream videos from their mobile devices to the cloud, where it’s kept in Azure Blob storage.

Videos are automatically indexed using the Azure Media Services Media Analytics feature, which generates descriptive information using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as speech-to-text; keyword extraction; and face, object, and action identification and recognition.

Avid designed MediaCentral so that customers can run steps of the content workflows wherever it makes sense – in their own datacentres on Azure Stack or in Azure.

Other benefits of the cloud news production platform: redundancy and elasticity. If a news bureau goes offline, journalists there can continue to work from the cloud. And during election coverage and other breaking news events, Azure automatically scales up and down based on demand, delivering consumption-based pricing efficiencies.

“With Azure Stack, we can provide a unique hybrid cloud solution that helps our customers move to the cloud gradually,” Thompson says. “And Microsoft Azure, with its global footprint, is the right cloud platform for global news networks while offering many valuable media services – encoding, transcoding, media analytics, and streaming.”

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