The concept of working from home was trending long before public health issues caused most of us to contribute remotely, but the past year has seen a massive increase in remote working that no one could have predicted. What those in the media industry quickly learned is that connecting with colleagues virtually took some getting used to and – for professional editors, graphics operators, postproduction houses and others – file acceleration, remote management tools and enterprise-grade security integrated into a private or public IP network was at the heart of this success story.
The media industry operates in a high-pressure environment where teams must move masses of content between members as quickly as possible to meet ever-tighter deadlines. The more scattered your workforce is – the more partners or collaborators that make up your supply chain – the more important speed becomes. Whether team members are sending files back and forth to each other or accessing files from shared cloud or on-premise storage, ensuring that content gets where it needs to go in order to finish projects as quickly as possible is mission critical: especially in today’s global environment.
Today’s acceleration technology – from companies like IBM’s Aspera and Signiant – can move assets at speeds up to 100 times faster than standard methods like FTP. What industry professionals learned is that a robust, scalable network connection improves productivity: despite working from a distance. And as files continue to get bigger – with more content being created in new formats including 4K and 8K – tools with file size limits are not adequate.
As such, services like Dropbox and SharePoint that work well in other industries simply will not support the workflows that film studios, television and OTT providers and game developers heavily rely on. The power of remote work ultimately lies in its flexibility, and the idea that teams would be limited in what they could send and share simply because of file size almost entirely defeats the purpose.
However, media companies, with valuable assets that need protection, also recognized that the speed of file transfers, and a reliable Internet connection of at least 400 Mbps, was not the only hurdle to success. Employing Transport Layer Security (TLS) to secure all transfers is also important to manage usage of the project files. This includes determining who can control and access a particular file or project folder. Indeed, authentication and authorization helped clients feel secure about this new way of remote working and that continues today.
File acceleration technology improves on standard Internet transmission speeds up to 100 fold without the need to compress or split files. For an industry that often needs to work with raw, original files such as high-resolution photos or video footage, being able to transfer uncompressed files without sacrificing speed or reliability is essential. Add in file acceleration that keeps latency to a minimum while taking advantage of all available bandwidth, and remote working can help get projects done.
The more distributed your teams and partners are, the more important it is to organize and delegate administrative responsibilities effectively. That’s why, as remote workflows get more complex, distributed teams require an Administrator or Operations Manager closely tied to each project, making sure that access to and the sharing of files runs smoothly and with a deterministic approach.
Because these admins and IT professionals need to manage a workforce that’s spread out across a city, a country, or even the world, intuitive, easy-to-manage, centralized administrative features, accessed via a web-based interface that can be used by the entire disparately located team are critical to ensuring that remote teams can do what they need to do without limitations. Features like delegated administration, storage configuration, access control and permissions, reporting, and managing notification settings make it easy to track all the activity surrounding incredibly valuable content. They also make training, onboarding, and getting started far easier for users.
Other important aspects of the network to be aware of include securing a reliable connection to both on-premise and cloud-based storage, where the assets and finished projects are archived. Most media companies have assets stored across distributed content repositories, so managing them all as a cohesive whole is complex.
The Ops Manager then has to supervise all of this from a remote location and make it readily available to the production team at all times, extensively relying on file acceleration to make the workflow fast and easy. It needs to appear as though team members are sitting right next to each other, even though they might be half way around the world. Advanced file transfer technology treats each asset as a locally stored file, making the sharing of content fast and reliable between authorized users.
For the end user (editor, graphics operator, producer, etc.) the process of locating and retrieving files has to be completely seamless, no matter where they are retrieving that asset from (in the cloud, on premise). Many call it “storage abstraction,” but the value is giving production team members unfettered access to media assets regardless of where or how they are stored.
In any place that content is being exchanged, file acceleration technology can have a positive impact. It’s now become clear that the lessons learned during these tough times have made production teams more efficient in the way they get their job done. The industry should be applauded for its resiliency in the face of some of the biggest challenges the industry has ever seen. By turning to enterprise-grade SaaS solutions that include the latest file acceleration technology, media companies are now focused on shoring up their remote workflows, making them more permanent and scalable while ensuring that the content they need to stay competitive keeps flowing.
One general rule of thumb: If you can produce your high-quality content in one location on premise, and the go up to the cloud only once for distribution, latency will be minimized significantly.