Avid have made some big and announcements at NAB this year. Beginning with the inaugural Avid Connect – a client and industry event built around coalescing the industry thought leaders customers and vendors, and unifying the strategic vision, direction and conversations in the media and entertainment space. It was also at this event that the Avid Customer Association (ACA) was launched and customers got the opportunity to get a preview and insight into Avid’s ‘Avid Everywhere’ strategy.
So just what is the Avid Everywhere strategic vision?
The above diagram illustrates a unified view of Avid’s everywhere strategy. In this media production environment shown conceptually here, the whole oval shape itself is called the Avid MediaCentral Platform. This provides media services, connectivity, media orchestration, account administration as well as open API’s for future Avid and third party services. The vision Avid are demonstrating here is bold and innovative in its scope and ambition.
In the top grey band, we have MediaCentral | UX which is essentially a rebrand of Interplay Central, but to dismiss it simply as that is to completely miss the point. MediaCentral | UX builds on the theme of Everywhere, with support across multiple platforms, devices OS’s and connectivity. In our increasingly always on, always connected, workaday world, the Central | UX proposition extends this connectivity firmly into this arena. Interplay Central has been positively liberating for Interplay users, and this is set to expand and continue. Giving users direct interaction with Interplay content, metadata and processes via a web browser means that users are freed from the traditional constraints of Application software and required hardware. This breakthrough is one that Avid will continue to focus on, and build capability into. There is a real focus from the company into extending features and capability here.
The layer below in orange is the ‘Artist Suite’. This represents the core applications or programs that make up a vital piece of the Avid story. Media Composer, Pro Tools, Sibelius and Avid Motion Graphics.
Media Composer is being rebranded as simply ‘Media Composer’ Avid want to increasingly disassociate a software ‘version number’ with the package as they move to a flexible subscription model. (offering subscription, perpetual and floating options- more on this in a separate article) Furthermore there is no more Interplay Edition option as this is wrapped in or included with all the MC range, and further support is now standard with all packages. On top of all of this, Media Composer now has Newscutter and Symphony and other additional features such as Phrasefind added as as options…
Consequently the MC line is now are now rebranded and re-offered as:
Media Composer | Software
Media Composer | Symphony
Media Composer | Newscutter
Note the pipe “|” symbol as separator to denote the option package if there is one.
A further important change is Media Composer | Cloud (formerly Sphere) as the important remote collaboration piece of this rich everywhere picture.
One of the most interesting new additions are the products listed in the blue band, the Mediasuite Components- they consist of the Interplay PAM and MAM and INEWS but the standout new additions are MediaDirector, and MediaIndex and MediaDistribute (formerly Interplay Pulse) I am not going to deal much with Interplay PAM, MAM, and INEWs or Distribute, (other than to remark that positioning them in this way makes them certainly more understandable for the customer base as a whole). Media Director is the most hotly anticipated new piece of the puzzle and is one that will make a significant difference to the day to day workflows that people utilise with Interplay In essence Media Director is an automated ingest and workflow engine- this capability is brought to bear on file based workflows where there has been a noticeable gap (filled by third party products like our own Content Agent and products like Auto Ingest from NLTek (we will cover this in-depth in a separate article) MediaIndex is cross workgroup search- allowing assets to be searched for across workgroups. A workgroup in interplay parlance is a single ‘site’ if you will- this will allow clients running multiple workgroups to unify them under a single federated search function.
Continuing our tour through the Media Central Platform we arrive at the storage suite which consists of the ISIS range of primary and nearline storage as well as the Airspeed products which are important real time video ingest and play out pieces. Bear in mind though that third party products like DVS Venice, EVS and Pebble beach and other numerous products also ‘fit’ into this as a third party interop piece for ingest and playout.
Finally the purple band at the bottom represents the background services that are employed in the environment that make all of the pieces fit together- Media services, Connectivity Toolkit, Orchestration Engine and user administration and configuration all bind the Avid MediaCentral
platform whole together. Elements like the player, the indexer, search are all pieces of this platform whole that are presented essentially as services to be utilised by applications internally.
Importantly this also the ‘layer’ where third party programs can interact with these services- Again this is an area that Avid have stated their intention to foster development and cultivate the growth of this interaction via their API- it will be fascinating to see how this progresses…
In summary, Avid’s presentation of a unified strategy is not simply a marketing exercise – It represents a real and unified product and service ecosystem that not only includes the Avid point editorial and audio products in their simplest form, but allows larger companies and enterprises to scale and utilise the other aspects of this Platform to create large scale media businesses that are successful and profitable today.