NAB 2018

NAB 2018: Imagine Communications Introduces Powerful Business Intelligence Solution, More

At NAB 2018, Imagine Communications introduced the xG Scorecard, a powerful new analytics and business intelligence tool designed specifically for the media industry; a studio transfer and modernization project at the Recife facility of TV Globo, one of the largest broadcasters in Latin America and the completion of a significant project for Fiji Television, transitioning the broadcast operations of Fiji One to a new, custom-built greenfield site.

Imagine Communications Intros Powerful Business Intelligence Solution
Imagine Communications introduced xG Scorecard, a pnalytics and business intelligence tool designed specifically for the media industry, at NAB 2018. xG Scorecard provides media professionals with a comprehensive, holistic and highly visualized view of performance and audience data, empowering them to make smarter advertising sales and programming decisions.

The expansion of content distribution options has made it difficult for media companies to easily and accurately track consumption and demographic data, inhibiting their ability to maximize advertising revenue. xG Scorecard is a powerful analytics tool designed to enable media companies to concentrate all data relevant to optimizing their business into a single view that can be customized to meet the needs of specific users and decision makers.

“The at-a-glance intelligence behind xG Scorecard greatly improves the ability of media professionals to draw real-time insights by allowing them to view all of the information that impacts their business at the same time,” says Sarah Foss, Chief Product Officer of Imagine’s Advertising Management Systems. “Visualizing all data in a single view and integrated field, as opposed to discrete and static sources, like spreadsheets, simplifies and greatly enhances the process of discovering trends and spotting correlations vital to growing your business.”

The multi-source capabilities of xG Scorecard make it possible to blend data from traditional sales and traffic systems, operational databases, ratings, clickstream and even social networks to build a holistic view of audiences with real-time insights. By bringing together data that is normally stored in silos, xG Scorecard offers a unique, powerful and highly visual way of evaluating and fine tuning the performance of your business.

xG Scorecard is so named for its ability to provide an interactive display that brings together information from across the business and enables ad-supported media companies to explore, interpret, customize and organize data.  This all-new capability makes dissecting data easier than ever. The xG Scorecard visual filters allow anyone to navigate their data and collaboration tools that enable discussion and collective analysis.

As opposed to generic business intelligence tools, xG Scorecard has been customized and optimized for the media industry. Both powerful and easy-to-navigate, the new analytics engine enables media professionals to quickly pull together comprehensive reports that can be customized for executives or other decision makers in a matter of minutes, rather than hours. Reports can also be easily exported to pdf.

“Media companies are unable to capture the real value of their ad inventory without precise knowledge of how their spots drive sales for advertisers,” says Foss. “xG Scorecard is a first-of-its-kind reporting tool that delivers that capability and makes sales attribution table stakes for all your campaigns.”

Imagine Communication’s xG platform is a modular, next-generation advertising management solution that is designed to enable broadcasters and other media companies to maximize the value of commercial airtime and optimize the efficiency of their business to sell either by traditional unit-based models or impression-based models that can be effective across all delivery platforms, including linear, nonlinear, on-demand and mobile. In addition to analytics and reporting, Imagine’s open, cloud-capable software platform provides a broad set of functionalities, including inventory and yield optimization, inventory management and back-end business processing. The xG platform is designed to work across all types of media advertising and distribution.

TV Globo Taps Imagine Communications For Facility Upgrade
Imagine Communications has supplied the key components of a studio transfer and modernization project at the Recife facility of TV Globo, one of the largest broadcasters in Latin America. The new hybrid SDI-IP facility, anchored by IP-capable processing, monitoring and control solutions from Imagine Communications, is designed to assist TV Globo in long-term cost reduction, minimizing operational complexity and helping the company to keep pace with evolving market demands through the easy integration of future standards and technology upgrades.

The requirement to move operations to a new facility in Rua da Aurora, Brazil, opened up the opportunity for TV Globo to take the first steps toward transitioning its broadcast centers from SDI to IP. By shifting the core of the new infrastructure from baseband routers to standard Ethernet switches from Cisco Systems, and surrounding those switches with SDI-to-IP gateways from Imagine, TV Globo was able to make the move to IP while still preserving the original SDI endpoints (cameras, processors, etc.).  

“Although the project was approved way before the new IP open standards release date, it was clear that we didn’t want to build the new infrastructure on a baseband foundation and that it made sense to take advantage of some of the efficiencies of IP in conjunction with the move,” says Thiago Abreu, Project Manager at TV Globo. “The result is a hybrid facility with IP at its core — an approach that enables us to future-proof our network while at the same time support an incremental and self-paced migration to an all-IP future.” The first set of SMPTE ST 2110 standards was ratified in September 2017.

At the heart of the new hybrid facility are Imagine’s processing, monitoring and control solutions. TV Globo is using the Selenio MCP3 equipped with Uncompressed Over IP (UCIP) modules to provide SDI/IP on- and off-ramps to the Cisco switches, which support both 10Gb and 100Gb ports using a leaf-spine configuration. The Selenio MCP3 modules act as SDI/IP gateways, enabling TV Globo to preserve the existing SDI infrastructure on the edge of the network and saving the broadcaster the expense of making a wholesale replacement of its infrastructure. TV Globo’s staff is further shielded from operational disruption though the installation of Imagine’s Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator, a management platform that masks the underlying complexity of IP and hybrid routing by simultaneously controlling both SDI and IP domains.

The installation also included Imagine’s EPIC MV, the industry’s only mixed signal SDI-IP multiviewer. In addition to enabling TV Globo to monitor its hybrid infrastructure with a single multiviewer solution, the UHD-ready EPIC MV positions TV Globo to migrate toward UHD and other picture-quality enhancements as soon as market conditions dictate.

The network conforms to SMPTE ST 2022 standards for SDI over IP, which were widely deployed when the project was started a few years ago, as well as technical recommendations from the Video Services Forum (VSF) that allow audio to be handled separately from the video and data streams. The UCIP cards within the Selenio MCP3 provide the SDI-to-AES67 conversion of audio. These same SMPTE ST 2022 and VSF standards formed the basis for the recently ratified SMPTE ST 2110 standards, allowing TV Globo to migrate to the latest IP transport standards though simple software upgrades.

Imagine Communications’ early recognition of the importance of standards played a major role in the selection process. At the time of the initial deployment, Imagine was a vocal supporter of industry standards, in contrast to other technology suppliers still pushing proprietary solutions.

“Imagine recognized from the start that adherence to widespread interoperability for next-gen architectures was vital to the best interests of our customers in Latin America — and around the world,” says Leonardo Emilio Gañán, Vice President of CALA, Imagine Communications. “The work we’re doing with an established industry leader in TV Globo is validating that approach. The company is now positioned to provide its audience with the best television experience available and eventually interconnect its remaining facilities through an IP fabric that will deliver unprecedented agility and flexibility.”

Imagine Communications Assists Fiji Television Ltd with Broadcast Facility Upgrade
Imagine Communications has successfully completed a significant project for Fiji Television, transitioning the broadcast operations of Fiji One to a new, custom-built greenfield site. The project was accomplished without any interruption to Fiji One’s 24/7 news channel.

Imagine Communications provided the core of the news operation, including four Nexio+ AMP HD video servers and Versio IOX SAN high-performance online shared storage, running as software instances on standard Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) servers. This upgrade is an important step for any customer considering a transition to next-generation playout solutions such as Imagine’s Versio Platform. Alongside the storage network, Imagine also provided Fibre Channel switches and a Platinum VX router for baseband switching. The new network also includes a Nexio® NLE Gateway server to allow full integration of Apple® Final Cut Pro editing tools.

The newsroom installation was a key part of Fiji TV’s overall move to a new site. Fiji Television worked closely with engineers from Imagine Communications to ensure the broadcaster’s newsgathering, transmission and vital on-air services were not interrupted.

“Our requirements were for a new, contemporary platform that would enable Fiji One to grow and enhance the premium news services we provide to our viewers, but without compromising the key operational workflows that our news and technical teams rely on today,” says Karen Lobendahn, CEO of Fiji TV. “We needed a technology partner capable of assisting with this transition within extremely tight deadlines, as well as implementing a new platform that we could use immediately, with no downtime, and with minimal training overhead.”

“Our solution runs on industry-standard IT hardware, which delivers real cost savings and forms the basis for future migration to next-generation playout systems like Versio Platform,” Joe Khodeir, vice president of sales for Australia at Imagine Communications, says. “It is also ready for other future enhancements like IP connectivity, yet looks and feels familiar to Fiji One’s operational staff. Using industry-standard equipment helped us to build the new facility ahead of time – despite seasonally inclement weather and construction delays.

“The reality is that Imagine was best-positioned to manage this transition,” Khodeir says. “We have regularly worked with Fiji TV in the past, and this was a great project to continue that relationship.”