NAB 2015: Industry Vision, Market Realities and Breakthrough Cloud Deployment Top Agenda at ImagineLIVE 2015

Hours before the official opening of NAB 2015, Imagine Communications was already validating predictions that the 2015 version of the industry’s largest tradeshow and conference would mark a tipping point in the evolution of the media industry.

ImagineLIVE, a pre-conference event presented Sunday evening in front of a capacity crowd at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, provided a forum for Imagine Communications’ senior executives and other industry experts to share their vision for the television industry and to exchange insights about the latest technologies, trends and video consumption patterns impacting all segments of the broadcast and media ecosystem.

“We’re entering a once-in-a-generation change,” said Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt. “Our industry is at a critical inflection point. 2015 will be remembered as a pivotal year.”


Much of Vogt’s keynote was devoted to future-focused technology trends, including the business-transforming benefits of transitioning processes and workflows to IP and virtualized environments. Still, he urged media companies to accelerate the adoption of next-generation technologies to keep pace with competitors and the evolving demands of consumers.

“Our customers have to be acting, not thinking about, a transition to IP,” said Vogt.

To punctuate his point that Imagine Communications has spent much of the past 12 months delivering deployment-ready solutions that validate the next-generation roadmap the company unveiled at NAB 2014, Vogt introduced Imagine Communications CTO Steve Reynolds, who previewed many of the products and innovations Imagine Communications will showcase over the course of the four-day exhibition.


Reynolds revealed the company’s progress toward creating a software-oriented architecture that serves as the foundation for implementing hardware-independent advertising, networking, playout and distribution solutions that run in virtualized environments and utilize common off the shelf (COTS) computing platforms. Reynolds added that moving broadcast production and distribution to a virtual function approach empowers media companies with the agility and flexibility to rapidly introduce new channels and explore new business models.

Citing the importance of supporting a hybrid environment for the duration of a baseband-to-IP transition, Reynolds referenced recent deployments of Imagine Communications’ Zenium™ software-defined workflow technology and the Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator in the Italian broadcast market. A key attribute of the Imagine Communications portfolio, added Reynolds, is its ability to run in any virtual environment, including a company datacenter, a private cloud or public cloud.


The readiness of Imagine Communications’ playout in the cloud solution, which the company unveiled at NAB 2014, was further validated by the evening’s third keynote speaker, Vince Roberts, executive vice president, global operations and chief technology officer, Disney/ABC Television Group.

Evoking a tradition of forward-thinking that stems back to company founder Walt Disney, Roberts unveiled that Disney/ABC was working with Imagine Communications to transition its global programming playout, delivery and network operations to an IP cloud architecture

“This initiative will prepare us for the changes we know are coming in the industry. Walt would be proud that we are doing this.”

-- Vince Roberts, Disney/ABC Television Group

Roberts, noting that the media industry had transitioned to a “customer-first” orientation, said that his company recognized more than three years ago that an influx of agility and flexibility would be required to keep pace with the evolving demands of its viewers.

“We have to work harder and smarter to make sure we are always at the forefront of what they [customers] want,” said Roberts. “This initiative will prepare us for the changes we know are coming in the industry. Walt would be proud that we are doing this.”

Imagine Communications VersioCloud™ is the engine behind Disney’s new playout and delivery infrastructure. VersioCloud is an IP-enabled, integrated platform that accelerates the evolution of broadcast operations by integrating formerly discrete hardware-based function into a software-only solution that simplifies production, playout and delivery workflows while raising productivity and speed-to-market benchmarks by several magnitudes.

The evening was capped with a panel discussion of the future of television hosted by award-winning journalist Deborah Norville. The panel, comprised of representatives of Comcast, Disney/ABC, Microsoft and DirecTV, traded insights on the impact of cloud and IP on their businesses, as well as the future influence of mobility, programmatic advertising and cloud security.  


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