The Future of IP-based Video Transport (Part 2)

Thursday, July 02, 2015

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Net Insight’s Alexander Sandstrom suggest that although we have found ways to use IP networks for the most demanding of video applications. Now what? It’s time to gaze into the crystal ball and figure out what to expect from tomorrow.

Occasional use transport services are common for live video. To efficiently provide such services the industry needs to shift to customer-provisioned networks as opposed to manually provisioned networks. Customer provisioned networks are based on software defined networking technology and allow broadcasters to book transmission capacity in a service provider network through a simple online portal. These customer-provisioned solutions are available and in commercial operation today. Their use is expected to become more widespread as broadcasters and service providers look to simplify operations and make the most cost efficient use of bandwidth.

As discussed previously, one of the main drivers for moving to IP is supporting the workflow agility provided by file-based technologies. With them also comes the possibility to automate entire or partial workflows. Workflow automation will be supported by on-demand transport capacity, instantly available where and when needed. When requested by an automated workflow programmable networks that can be defined by software will provide capacity with zero touch provisioning, greatly simplifying contribution and production workflows.

Furthermore we see that media processing is becoming virtualized and is moving to the cloud. Many of today’s video distribution solutions run in a private or public cloud, but soon also video contribution and production will move to virtualized infrastructure in large scale. Everything that can be virtualized will be virtualized. This means tomorrow’s transport networks will need to fulfill the requirements discussed above not only between two physical end-points, but also between physical and virtual end-points.

Media processing on standard off-the-shelf hardware together with the shift to IP means more use of public infrastructure, such as the Internet. Internet media transport solutions will provide consumers with much more content, covering niches that were previously cost prohibitive to acquire and distribute. All of this will result in new business opportunities and happy consumers.

In this brief journey through the evolution of IP and video transport we have clearly seen that there will continue to be stringent requirements for live video transport also after moving to IP. Internet media transport will in the future give consumers more niche and personalized content. And, tomorrow is all about automated workflows, meaning that what can be virtualized in the production chain will be virtualized. With software-defined networks this workflow automation will be supported by on-demand transport capacity, instantly available where and when needed. 

The road to transitioning to IP is well under way and we edge towards an all-IP world. As outlined above this brings a future with significant benefits for network owners, service providers and broadcasters alike.

Alexander Sandstrom is a strategic product manager at Net Insight, providing broadcasters and service providers with video transport solutions ready for the future. Sandstrom has spent most of the past decade driving the shift to IP in telecom by designing, selling and marketing IP based solutions at one of the world’s largest telecom vendors.


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