Sports Asset Management Q&A: Peter DiIorio, Senior Manager, Sony Systems Solutions
At last week’s SVG Sports Asset Management Forum, leagues, networks, and manufacturers discussed some of the common challenges, solutions, and best practices in the exploding field of media-asset–management (MAM).
Typically known for its top-of-the-line cameras, television sets, and other hardware, Sony has also risen to the forefront of file-based–workflow and media-infrastructure technologies over the past few years.
At the event, SVG caught up with Peter DiIorio, senior manager of Sony Systems Solutions, to discuss some of the company’s newest asset-management systems and what can be done to better standardize MAM workflows going forward.
Over the past five to 10 years, how much has asset management become more a part of what Sony does?
Asset management has become a huge part of Sony’s philosophy. We have a suite of products called Media Backbone Solutions. That includes Ci, which is the cloud-based collaborative workflow. It comes with the idea of being able to move your assets into the cloud and edit them collaboratively. It’s not a final-editing platform; it’s a way of annotating and communicating between production platforms and a place to put lots of content. It addresses the element of moving production to the cloud, which is coming to the forefront.
We also have our Media Backbone Enterprise Management System [MBEMS], or what we used to call Conductor. That’s an orchestration application. The idea of that is for folks who have a facility and a whole bunch of various applications.
What MBEMS does is take all of those separate workflows — those islands, if you will — and basically put an umbrella over them to manage them all. So much time is spent in production that, whatever you’re doing with your content — editing in one location, transcoding in another, playing out in another — it’s very difficult to track what’s going on with any particular job. What Media Backbone Enterprise Management Systems — and that’s really a mouthful — does is let you know what’s happening with your project at any given time. The beauty of that is that it is independent of whatever manufacturer’s product is being used.
Outside of the cloud — for those who still may be afraid of it — what are some other storage options that Sony offers?
We have Optical Disc Archive (ODA). We have taken our experience with optical-disc storage media; we’ve combined a bunch of optical discs in a cartridge.
There are three elements that make this really cool. First of all, the media is just incredibly robust. So, if you’re looking for some serious archive capability where you don’t have to worry as much about the environment, ODA is very good for you. The second thing is, because it’s disc-based, it really lends itself to media, because you can record and access content file-based, which is different from LTO. Third, it’s got a 50-year life. You’re less constrained toward migration every five to seven years as you might see with LTO.
So is asset management important to us? Heck yeah! We’re at the frontend creating the file-based content, and we’re at the backend consuming it.
We’ve heard some of the challenges with asset management throughout the panel discussions — be it consistency of transcoding, codecs, metadata issues. In your opinion, how much of that responsibility lies on the manufacturer and how much on the end user?
That’s why there are standards groups. I heard someone talking today about having a metadata-standards committee. I think that’s a good idea. The long and the short of it, at the end of the day, we’re trying to get pictures to somewhere. It’s television, whether it’s on your phone or a tablet. It’s all about getting a picture and audio out there somewhere. There’s always going to have to be collaboration between the end user and the manufacturer. The difficulty for the manufacturer is, you have to start somewhere. There’s always new developments coming along, and what companies like Sony do is get together with our customers and ask them questions. That kind of research is always going on.
So I don’t think it’s any one party’s responsibility. A technology will come out because of a manufacturer’s understanding of the marketplace, but we won’t know [what the end users think] unless we talk to [them]. The manufacturers have to ask the right questions of their end users, and the end users also have to come back to the manufacturers and let us know what they’re trying to do and asking us what we can do to help make it happen.
It’s always going to be collaborative. When you get down to the nitty-gritty and you’re really trying to create a system, the end user is going to have to do their research, but it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to keep the end user up-to-date. On a day-to-day basis, we’re all really busy, and there’s fewer people to do many more things, so we have to do a really good job of reaching out to our customers and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’ve got. What do you think?’
That’s why a forum like [Sports Asset Management Forum] is so valuable, and that’s why Sony supports SVG because it gets everybody together. It brings us together to talk about what we do and maybe figure out how to do it better. That’s a really important element as well. End users and manufacturers need to understand the importance of this sort of forum.