IBC Reflections: Net Insight’s Martin Karlsson Talks At-Home Production, Sye OTT Live Streaming
Other intros at the show included pay-as-you-go pricing, new workflows for Virtual Nimbra VA
At IBC 2017 this month, Net Insight focused on the growing at-home production approach and on the continued evolution of its Sye OTT live-streaming solution. Among the highlights were Live Remote Production 2.0 demo in conjunction with Grass Valley and Calrec, the latest version of Sye (adding time-shift capability, HEVC support, and more), new live cloud contribution workflows via its Virtual Nimbra VA transport solution, and the elimination of buyers’ fees for its Connector Marketplace scheduling/provisioning platform.
SVG sat down with CTO/VP, Product Portfolio, Martin Karlsson to discuss the Net Insight announcements, the growth of at-home production for live sports coverage, and the increase of “multi-sided” (multiple locations producing different tasks) workflows in the marketplace.
Can you detail the at-home–production demos Net Insight conducted with Grass Valley and Calrec at the show?
We took live IP-based remote production to the next level at IBC. Together with our solutions partners Grass Valley and Calrec, we demonstrated Live Remote Production 2.0, where workflows are completely distributed and set up as plug-and-play. We ran live demonstrations three times a day between Net Insight’s stand and our partners’, showing that, by interconnecting and orchestrating distributed production resources over wide-area networks, production companies and broadcasters can significantly improve their operational efficiency and flexibility.
A key aspect of the demo saw Net Insight’s Nimbra media-transport solution integrated with Calrec’s RP1 [mixing system] providing simple connectivity, quality-assured transport, and precise control of audio mixes. The RP1 unit over the Nimbra Network allows lowest possible delays for at-home control as if signals were generated locally, as well as no restrictions on the remote venue.
We further transported IP camera signals from an LDX 86 Series camera at Calrec’s booth without having the camera base station onsite. For the first time ever, signals were compressed directly out of the camera in J2K with SMPTE 2022-6 to a Grass Valley XCU (eXchangeable camera-control unit) located in the “production gallery” at Net Insight’s booth.
Nimbra’s ultra-low delay allows those smooth and in-sync operations. This allows customers to save space and weight onsite as well as to reuse XCU’s at home. We also highlighted our Customer Provisioned Network and ScheduALL capacity and resource-management solutions as part of the remote-production demonstrations. ScheduALL allows users to calculate in-depth financial and statistic reports to make better decisions on whether to do an OB van or an at-home production. Integration of these solutions further allows service providers to dynamically schedule production resources and set up network connectivity through a software-defined WAN.
What was the response to the latest version of Sye? As multi-device consumption of sports content continues to increase, how do you see Sye continuing to serve the market?
With Sye solving latency and sync issues, content and service providers can now create a truly immersive live-streaming experience, where social interaction on the second screen is harmonized with viewing on the first. The response to Sye was fantastic. The new features — such as network time shift and HEVC support — and current features — such as 360°, which offers the ability for the viewer to quickly change between different 360 cameras within, for example, a racing arena — create a near-VR, nearly game-like, experience.
Server-side ad insertion is yet another feature that provides a continuous stream to prevent clients from detecting the ads while also making it immune to ad-blockers. All features combined, our Sye solution opens up opportunity for a superior end-user experience, resulting in longer view times and an uptake in ad revenue.
The F3 racing car that was part of our enhanced second-screen demo was probably the most photographed object at IBC overall; everybody wanted a picture with the car.
We also announced our partnership with Ericsson: our Sye solution will strengthen the Ericsson UDN (Unified Delivery Network) offering by integrating True Live OTT across the UDN infrastructure. The result is a highly efficient, global content-distribution service, benefiting from the reach of the UDN platform, utilizing the infrastructure inside service-provider networks.
Any other big news or announcements for Net Insight?
We also announced that Net Insight makes live contribution to cloud a reality with the new pay-as-you-go pricing model for our Virtual Nimbra VA, offering a lower entry-level cost threshold and improved cost-vs.-value balance for long-tail content. The Virtual Nimbra VA enables easy migration of live workflows to the cloud so that content owners and broadcasters can fully benefit from automated, elastic services and a usage-based pricing model without compromising quality and integrity.
We also announced that we will eliminate buyers’ fees for our Connector Marketplace, the industry’s go-to source for easy scheduling and provisioning of external resources and services. With the drop in buyer fees, broadcasters, content-production companies, and content providers are set to benefit. Connector Marketplace is all about creating and delivering high-quality content at the right price point. By removing some of the entrance barriers, we make it as easy as possible for our customers to find the production resources they need. Connector Marketplace empowers subscribers with elastically scalable and easy pay-per-use access to external resources, such as satellite and terrestrial connectivity and cloud-based services. It offers instantaneous responses on service-provider availability, ad hoc service and resource bookings across an event season, and fast, accurate invoicing.
How important has at-home production been for Net Insight, and how can your solutions serve this burgeoning market?
We are a pioneer in offering at-home–production solutions since 2001 to deliver more live content with the highest quality for less. More than 5,000 events worldwide have been produced over the Nimbra platform so far.
Designed for high-quality media transport over IP, the Nimbra solution gives a multi-service media-transport platform supporting native video and audio in addition to standard IP/Ethernet. Built-in video processing, low-latency JPEG2000 encoding, and unique features for equipment control and synchronization make it the preferred choice for remote production. Our solution simply extends the production workflow to reach remote venues anywhere on the globe, with the same ease of operations as for traditional in-house productions.
Now with Remote Production 2.0 and our broader offering with Calrec and Grass Valley, we are taking the next step to simplify the challenges broadcasters are facing.
What other major trends or customer requests do you see from sports-media clients?
One of the major trends we see is distributed or multi-sided production: you would have your audio production in London, your event in Stockholm, and your studio in Munich. All those tasks need to be planned and performed with ultra-low delay, small bandwidths, and highest-possible quality. We are happy that our ScheduALL and Nimbra products deliver on all of those requirements.