In the broadcasting marketplace, which as we know is intensely competitive, it is growing increasingly important for broadcasters to keep on top of the biggest tech themes and changes.
According to IBC, the most important are the latest networking technologies – Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). With continuing development of the IoT, and an acceleration of development of new services and platforms, there has never been a greater need for broadcasters to keep up if they are to remain competitive.
The software definition creates a separation of data and networking infrastructure with SDN, and the biggest networking companies are working towards the rollout of solutions, directing R&D to SDN and NFV.
SDN protocol is key here, and OpenFlow is the standard-based communications protocol, delivering access to a network router. The traffic management benefits are clear, as OpenFlow protocol is managed by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), promoting SDN tech comprehensively. The ONF is made up of 200 members developing networking protocols.
The first to adopt SDN are in the broadcast sector and medium to large corporate users. The UK’s BT Director of Converged Networks, Mansoor Hanif said, ‘Given the high throughput in broadcast and for areas like live and real time the trend is towards specific solutions. It is important to have an orchestration layer which can manage the networking, not only knowing which traffic is going where but also to be able to change routes and make the distribution more efficient.’
Mr Hanif adds that some corporations and broadcasters will be rolling out aggressive plans, but he believes that SDN roll outs on a large scale are indeed inevitable, and should be. BT plans to highlight how SDN can be used to transport multiple HD video streams via high-bandwidth networks straight to the studio. In addition, one of the biggest benefits may be the fact that broadcasters will be able to capture remote footage of live events, which will reduce the need to send multiple crews out on location.
Although NFV adoption has been slower than SDN, the benefits are still clear, and BT are providing hosting services via their data centres.
According to Mr Hanif, new market participants will address NFV solutions to prepare for 5G, which is expected to start during 2019.
Blockchain will address monetisation opportunities, but can also encompass licensing issues and identity management using smart tech to track who is using, changing and ultimately ‘touching’ the content.
The latest networking tech solutions will tackle security through this movement and usage tracking, and trace security breaches, performance rights payments and much more.
Industry professionals are keen to adopt such stringent security and tracing mechanisms to protect content and consumer privacy.