CenturyLink's Derek Anderson to Expand Cloud-Based Media and Services

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Vyvx Cloud Connect now includes Google Cloud. Streamroot is new partner

With the recent acquisition of Level 3 Communications, fully integrated with the company's portfolio, CenturyLink announced a series of announcements at NAB 2019 to expand its cloud-based media and OTT services. The Vyvx suite of fiber-based broadcasting services is integrated with the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). In addition, a worldwide agreement with Streamroot provides peer-to-peer networking solutions that can be used in combination with the CenturyLink Content Delivery Network (CDN). Called CenturyLink CDN Mesh Delivery, the platform uses a software-based mesh network to quickly handle peak loads. The company's cloud connectivity and service offering now includes the IBM Cloud Object Storage Platform.

SVG took part in the show Derek Anderson, chief designer of CenturyLink Discussing NAB announcements, increasing demand for 100 Gbps infrastructures, the impact of home-from-home production on the broadcast sector, and the evolving role of CenturyLink's recently launched Century Line platform. expando gear trailer.

Derek Anderson of CenturyLink: "What we're doing now focuses on the underlying infrastructure. We continue to build our own fiber optic infrastructure in sports venues. "

What are the big announcements from CenturyLink at the NAB 2019?
First, we announced that we've added Google Cloud to our Vyvx Cloud Connect offering, which we launched last year with AWS. The [platform] connects our Vyvx Video Infrastructure Network directly to key cloud providers, including Google Cloud. This could be a direct contribution from sports facilities that are 100% privately managed with GCP for processing, coding, packaging, archiving, and anything else you might need. In another use case, as other master control functions move into the cloud, you can also purchase content that comes from GCP and support distribution to full-time OTT providers.

Secondly, we partnered with Streamroot on the CDN side to develop peer-to-peer network solutions that can be used in combination with our CDN. Essentially, the platform combines the CDN and a mesh network to intelligently manage video content. We believe that this is critical to the rapid scalability of large live events for superior deployment.

The third is the addition of IBM Cloud Object Storage. We now have a massively scalable object storage platform that connects directly to our CDN for large content delivery and management.

What was the reaction to the Vyvx Cloud Connect platform since you launched it at the IBC last September?
I think we've seen an extremely high demand so far because cloud economy "I want it now" or "I want it yesterday". I see this appetite and the schedule for building new cloud-based workflows even faster. This is a good match to our underlying real-time service control systems that Vyvx has always done. With this underlying infrastructure and connectivity, we can now complement AWS and GCP [blend] and we use the control systems we have been using for some time.

I think there's a lot of experimenting with what's possible in the cloud for new workflows. There are established workflows that allow compressed video to be transmitted to the cloud, encrypted, and transmitted to our CDN. However, if you are dealing with the most modern virtualized production processes and the playout process, I think there is still a lot to do. But in our view, as a rise and fall to create these environments, we are open to business.

Has the demand for 100Gbps connectivity in the live sports broadcasting industry increased and what is CenturyLink planning for at 100GB?
Our first official push in 100 Gbps architectures was for the European U-21 European Championships in 2017. We supported 100 Gbps backhaul for the final from Poland to London for BT Sport: two different infrastructures with 100 gigabytes of support for uncompressed UHD backhaul. This was definitely a proof-of-concept technology trial, but it worked very well.

What we are doing now focuses on the underlying infrastructure to support it. As in the past few years, we are building our own fiber optic infrastructure in sports facilities. About 75% of all US sports facilities are physically connected to our infrastructure. In terms of cost-effectiveness, we see this as the crucial foundation for ultra-high bandwidth architectures.

On our roadmap for this year, we're working with some industrial companies to test 100 Gbps. We look forward to [transmit] completely uncompressed native IP [signals] from the cameras and use that for [at-home] or distributed production processes. Although we do not announce a 100 Gbps mark, we expect some exciting news later in the year.

What do you see as the main driver for the increasing demand for 100 Gbps?
It is powered by [increased demand for] 4K. I think we've seen 4K in the last year or two [go] from very niche to almost mainstream for big events, especially sports. We did not ask the point anymore, "Will this be another 3D?" The demand for 4K is definitely on the upside, so the need for more capacity will increase.

And then, of course, switching to native IP workflows and the [approval of the] The SMPTE ST 2110 standard suite will have a big impact. If you're thinking about doing a native, uncompressed IP production in a truck, you need to do that [transmit] outside the venue, which will increase capacity requirements.

And then for [at-home] Production where you traditionally move resources in a truck [onsite] to another [production facility] That could be a thousand miles away, you'll need a robust network infrastructure.

We see it all as a natural progression as CenturyLink offers 100 gigabyte services [in other industries] for many years. We just agree with the proven technology and capabilities and bring them to the home video delivery site.

How do you expect the increase in live sporting goods production at home to impact the subscription industry and your customers' connectivity needs?
I think it connects to the 100 Gbps development. Home production clearly requires more bandwidth and capacity, whether you're using compressed or uncompressed camera feeds.

We have definitely evolved our service portfolio. In addition to our classic video transmission, we see more demand for managed Ethernet capacity. Instead of traditional SDI handover coding, customers may be asked to provide a highly reliable native IP Ethernet interface, as well as … to ensure various transmission paths to the venue and their home location. This is very good in our sweet spot and we see this mix of services. While providing 100% SDI video compression and transport is still an important part of our business, we are also asked to provide a variety of IP and data services.

What other new developments from CenturyLink will impact the sports media industry over the coming months?
Last year we have our 53-ft. expando transmission trailer, which debuted for a great football event. We are very happy about this trailer for coverage of major events. In the past, we had to be on-site weeks in advance, ship and deploy equipment, perform cabling, and build the entire infrastructure. Now we can just roll a truck. It offers a lot of capacity for video surveillance, compression and video transport, as well as a fully equipped TV center, where the team is in its comfortable and familiar environment.

We will continue to use it in a unique way for a major channel coverage of high-profile sports outside the US this year: we will use it as an add-on to the customer's Broadcast Center. I think it's an interesting development, especially in terms of remote production, where so much video is being returned that it needs to be monitored. This pendant can meet the increasing needs. It is a very exciting use case that we believe will gain a lot of traction in the future.

This interview was edited for reasons of length and clarity.

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