For the most part, the Internet of Things (IoT) works on the principle of gathering data from the many connected devices we all use on a daily basis. Bringing the source of the compute closer to the point of consumption is a challenge the media industry sits at the forefront of – from high end processers producing the latest visual effects to a smart phone looking to stream video without buffering.
New sources of data from connected IoT devices helps media companies enrich what they know about their audiences and influences how they present content directly to you. These data sources serve two roles, ensuring that the best performance is delivered in the moment, while over time serving as a data set providing analysis that will allow for even better performance and capabilities delivered because of these insights. This deeper insight helps them to develop better ways of influencing your behavior as you consume content, across a much wider ecosystem of touchpoints. This ability, however, intensifies the media and entertainment industry’s dependency on data and on the systems that gather, transport, process and store that data. Couple this trend with today’s societal demands on instantaneous connection and our zero tolerance for latency, and you find a media industry that, according to Accenture, is spending 54 percent more on IoT in the last three years.
Check out this new video to see how Kevin Brown, SVP of Innovation & CTO for Schneider Electric’s IT Division, outlines the steps that media companies are taking to manage new IoT challenges and opportunities.
To gain a better understanding of how IoT is impacting the industry, let’s take a look at the three most important pillars: content creation, distribution and consumption.
Content creation requires technological scalability
The level of complexity to produce advanced cinema has moved beyond the challenge of developing a well-executed art project. Engineering now plays a critical role, requiring increased levels of compute power to support media industry digital requirements. Consider, for example, Animal Logic, which is one of the world’s leading independent creative digital studios. Their production staff created over 600 visual effects in support of the 2013 film, “The Great Gatsby.”
Pulling off these visual effects requires a sophisticated technology backbone. Scalability of compute power physical infrastructure (servers, storage and the power and cooling that supports these IT systems) is one of the major challenges that growing studios face. Power and hardware needs to be engineered efficiently so that costs can be controlled and so that systems uptime can be maintained.
5G now impacts content distribution speed expectations
According to Ericsson, communications network operators will spend $1.7 trillion on equipment upgrades to support 5G between now and 2020. You and I and all of our friends expect 5G network responsiveness to be high, and significantly exceed the speed and bandwidth of today’s 4G networks. If the physical infrastructure is not aligned to support the change, the network will fail. 5G communication is projected to perform upwards of 1000x faster than 4G. This means you’ll be able to download a full HD movie in a matter of seconds, versus the hour it may take on the 4G network of today.
But again, all of this won’t happen automatically. The ability to quickly download large quantities of data requires a physical infrastructure that can support edge computing, which implies small pockets of computer power and cooling infrastructure located physically close to end users. Fortunately, cell towers have the existing space that is already safe, secure and wired to support the small data centers that are required. Edge computing will enable local storage of copies of the entire content library, for example.
Content consumers will not tolerate latency
According to Google, 53 percent of mobile users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load. None of us can stand waiting for our iPad screens to respond to our touch. Content consumption habits, for business-critical transactions and entertainment alike, require instantaneous data transfer. If we experience too many loading delays…game over. However, these latency issues cannot be resolved by far off cloud data centers. Edge computing facilities will need to be deployed in order for content speeds to meet consumer expectations.
Adjustments on the technological back end will need to be made for us to get the device response speeds we demand for both business critical and entertainment data consumption. Both edge data centers, the size of a small bedroom, and large cloud data centers will need to work together in a hybrid ecosystem.
In all three of these key media industry business processes, the technology “back-end” plays a critical role. Companies like Schneider Electric both provide expertise in designing, building, operating and maintaining high availability edge computing infrastructure and offer products such as self-contained micro data center solutions.