Cloud editing after the pandemic

By Karsten Schragmann, Head of Product Management at Vidispine – An Arvato Systems Brand

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our industry, but one of the most far-reaching is the boost it has given to interest in cloud editing technologies. Cloud-based editing was always going to prove popular — the flexibility it confers at a low opex cost is a compelling argument all on its own — but the pandemic has accelerated adoption dramatically. 

In many ways, it has acted as a large-scale proof of concept. Companies that were hesitant about adopting cloud editing for whatever reasons suddenly found themselves rapidly running out of alternative options. Lockdown orders and social distancing effectively meant they had to jump into the cold water and, as they all found, it turned out they could swim after all.

Browser-based editing is now increasingly normalized as a result. While there is still very much a place for craft editing in dedicated applications, for the overwhelming majority of users browser-based tools offer most of the functionality they will ever need. This is being exacerbated by the growing number of platforms for which content needs to be repurposed. Using a craft editing station to generate content for multiple social media platforms is using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut and the organizational structure within many media companies is changing to reflect that: multiple users have access to cloud editing tools as well as the ability to offload projects to dedicated platforms as and when necessary for what we can refer to as premium content.

The result is that browser-based cloud editors require less functionality than the dedicated packages have historically needed to ship with. They need fewer transitions and effects. Users instead are prioritizing the speed and responsiveness of the solutions they deploy, demanding low latency, fast access to their material, and bullet-proof stability. The ability to scale is also crucial, to be able to flex to meet the extreme demands that can occur in the current media environment in as cost-effective manner as possible.

There are several pain points with cloud editing that still need to be addressed. Some of these are internal to the industry, such as the need to enhance integration with other parts of the content chain, some of these are external, including the requirement for better connectivity to enable truly global distributed workflows. Currently, cloud editing works well at a regional level, across intercontinental distances across the public internet it is still challenging. 

The last eighteen months has proved that the technology works. It is stable, it is secure — arguably, your data is more secure in the cloud than it is on-prem — and now the task for those of us that offer cloud editing solutions is to make them even more convenient and cost-effective.

This is important as some of the typical considerations in implementing a solution that were overruled by the need for urgent responses a year ago — budget, resource allocation, etc — are starting to rise back up the priority list as the pandemic strictures on workflow slowly recede. That means we need to move on rapidly from this stage of successful large-scale proof of concept to a phase of refinement and iteration to ensure that cloud editing retains its current forward momentum.

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