Microsoft Interactive Media Manager Gains Traction as a Platform for Media Management
Today at IBC2007, Microsoft Corp. announced a new early adopter customer and an expanded partner ecosystem for Microsoft® Interactive Media Manager (IMM). Italian broadcaster RAI has joined the Technology Adoption Program for IMM, which will enable RAI to manage the media workflow process as it digitizes assets for viewing over the Web through a variety of screens and devices. In addition, Microsoft is making an expanded set of capabilities available to media companies in conjunction with IMM. To deliver these capabilities, Microsoft has forged relationships with independent software vendors (ISVs) including FileCatalyst, Marquis Broadcast Ltd., Rhozet and TeleStream Inc., and system integrators (SIs) such as Accenture, Ascentium Corp., The Computer Merchant Ltd., Intellinet Corp., SpeakTECH and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
RAI will use IMM as a media management solution for digitizing assets from tape and MXF files and outputting the digitized files into a storage area network. IMM provides RAI with the ability to search and browse assets after they have been ingested, a mechanism for streamlining the review and approval process and reporting functionality.
“Broadcasting has quickly evolved from distributing a single asset through a single medium to a well-defined audience to now needing to fully monetize that single asset over a variety of mediums. That change in the business model has a tremendous impact on how we treat content in the back office,” said Robert Cecatto, head of engineering RAI TV Production. “Microsoft has been forward- looking in trying to help organizations such as ours identify technology solutions to the new challenges we face in the digital age.”
New and expanded features enabled through these alliances, such as fast and efficient file transfer, real-time media encoding and edit decision list (EDL)/sequence transfer, will help improve and simplify the user experience and allow media companies to easily utilize existing technology investments within the workflow process. The new offerings, from many of the leading companies in the media and entertainment industry, demonstrate the important role that IMM provides as a central hub for the media workflow process and platform.
“The interest we’ve received from the media industry since our initial launch at the NAB2007 conference in April has been tremendous,” said Gabriele Di Piazza, managing director for Media & Entertainment in the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “The support that we’re announcing today is an important validation that the media industry recognizes the value IMM provides in simplifying the digital content life cycle by connecting people, processes and rich content.”
IMM is a server-based solution that provides a Web-based interface for accessing and interacting with media files. An extension of Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007, IMM provides powerful tools for quickly building complex workflows, monitoring the performance of those workflows, and facilitating the reviews and approvals in the workflow process. For example, via a common user interface a company can utilize IMM to connect a variety of activities, starting with the ingest of content from tape to an automated, pre-defined transcode session and moving through the review and approval process. IMM automates many of the manual processes that often are the bottleneck of productivity, while helping ensure the inclusion of human-based workflow activities.
IMM Integration With ISV Products
IMM is highly interoperable with top-tier partner applications and services that many media companies already have in place. The following ISV partners are currently building adapters to integrate their systems or products with the IMM platform:
• FileCatalyst. FileCatalyst enables a company to “upload” files of unlimited size to the IMM-attached storage area network. With the right security, reliability and bandwidth appropriation, a company can enable file import, transfer and delivery in line with its established workflows and day-to-day operations.
• Marquis Medway. The Marquis Medway media highway system works to provide seamless integration of media files between post-production (Avid solutions, Apple Final Cut Pro and/or Adobe Premiere) and broadcasting systems, irrespective of hardware and software platforms. With Marquis Medway integrated with IMM, users have the freedom to utilize best-of-breed systems and can enable the seamless flow of media and metadata.
• Rhozet Carbon Coder. Rhozet enables IMM customers to automate transcoding activities in an open, accessible application programming interface. An end-user initiates a job to be sent to the Carbon Coder without leaving the familiar, extensible user interface of IMM. The newly available IMM extension to Rhozet’s Carbon Coder helps decrease time to market and ease of integration by bringing together the asset management platform and the transcoding server.
• TeleStream Pipeline. By integrating IMM with Pipeline, companies with a dedicated transcoding engine can initiate workflows rapidly with direct access to control tape-based ingest units through the network, and then trigger a series of activities once encoding is complete via managed IMM workflows. This allows tight integration across multiple job types and systems, helping to speed up the entire workflow process because IMM begins to automate processes directly upon ingest.
Additional SI Partners Help Deploy IMM
SIs are critical to enabling a smooth, productive deployment experience. Microsoft works closely with its SI partners to help ensure they have the information and training required to deploy the IMM solution and can meet the demands of customer requirements. This includes the development of a comprehensive software development kit, which includes the following:
• Tools enabling advanced, custom Web parts to be developed
• Easy developer interaction with RDF metadata repository
• Scenario-based workflow templates
• Guidance around common IMM deployment tasks
• Reference information for external sources about relevant, integrated technologies such as SharePoint, SQL Server™, .NET, workflow, RDF/OWL/SPARQL, AJAX and all partner application extensions
More information about Interactive Media Manager can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/imm or by visiting the Microsoft booth in the Topaz stand at the RAI Congress Centre at IBC2007.
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