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Our third digital revolution? by Bob Pank A little history – the first digital revolution for the TV production and post industries started somewhere about 1972 and then involved introducing digital islands into an analogue world. The introduction of much more affordable digital VTRs such as Sony’s DigiBeta in 1993 heralded the beginning of the end of analogue. Then, as the power of commodity computer hardware continued to grow, aided by the likes of Nvidia with their GPUs (introduced in 2000) as well as many huge global IT manufacturers, much, but not all, of TV recording, playback and processing equipment started migrating into COTS ‘IT-based’ hardware. That was the second digital revolution. Now that a large part of the TV production, post industry through 32 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE to playout is, more or less, IT-based it can take advantage of new openings in that industry. Enter The Cloud, Cloud Computing, and TV revolution number three... or so some think. new; a major new tool with the potential to offer some new, more efficient workflows with, hopefully, lower costs, greater efficiency and security – as you want. Oracle’s Larry Ellison famously said way back in 2009, “All the Cloud is, is computers in a network… Our industry is so bizarre. I mean, they just change a term and they think they’ve invented technology.” Of course he was quite right. Technically like this is nothing new, just a bunch of hardware and software on an internet connection. It’s a bag of bits and bytes. What are missing are the applications. But add in marketing and adjust the scale, speed, processing power, costs and create a control GUI that can be understood and easily used by your target customers, and your cloud can meet the particular requirements and expectations of a specific industry. Then you really can offer something The cloud people (Cloud Computing service providers) may offer a complete service to you which you, being a film or video technician / producer / broadcaster, etc, can easily plug into, learn and use. In Cloud nomenclature this is software as a service (SaaS). At the other end of the scale, if you can provide all the software and are an IT expert you can deign your own Cloud operation using ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ (IaaS). Another route that is not quite so bare bones, effectively builds on IaaS by adding operating systems in the package – leaving you to write, or supply, the applications. This is Platform as a Service (PaaS).