Epoch Jumps Out of NAB Gate With Workflow-Virtualization Technology

An intriguing new offering for live sports is making its debut in the back of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Lower hall this week at NAB 2013. Epoch is demonstrating its new Workflow Virtualization Technology for media production/distribution. The technology, which is currently in beta with gradual commercial rollout set to begin in June, could offer sports-production teams an efficient new way to remotely collaborate and quickly share media over lower-bandwidth connections.

“Our whole objective is to make your existing infrastructure sing,” says Epoch CEO David Barton. “The difference between a poorly designed workflow and a well-designed workflow can literally be 50-to-1 in terms of bandwidth utilization and time. But our service takes care of that automatically, and we show you how we do it so you don’t have to take our word for it.

According to Epoch, the SaaS improves speed, bandwidth utilization, and ease of deployment for multisite, multiformat workflows by optimizing the customer’s existing IT infrastructure (as well as the client’s suppliers and partners or optional cloud services). Epoch monitors existing infrastructure and re-engineers workflows in real time for maximum performance. Barton says Epoch’s algorithms manage load balancing, task partitioning, routing, branching, and contention problems to make media flow up to 40 times faster without increasing the client’s budget. 

“Every five seconds we are redesigning the workflows being used,” says Barton. “This is truly distributed computing. We use everything you have all across the world as well as cloud services all integrated together. Then [the system] makes the right decisions all the time in terms of bandwidth and efficiency.”

The system is operated via a simple Web app accessible from anywhere, and files are transcoded on the fly (with capability for ProRes, MXF, DPX, MPEG2, H.264, numerous camera formats, among others). When sending files, the user can choose between automatic lossless or visually lossless transport compression. In addition, Epoch’s system performs all frame-format and motion-adaptive frame-rate conversion and audio leveling.

Epoch’s solution, which can function as a pay-as-you-go service or as an unlimited subscription service, creates an interesting new solution for remote-production teams in the field or multisite sports broadcasters looking to more easily share content and cut down on turnaround time.

“This is so perfect for sports because you can now set up complex workflows very quickly,” says Barton. “Sports is so time-critical. Those assets have a very short half-life. We want to make it fast and cheap and low-bandwith in the field. If you are in the truck at a small venue and all you can get is 40 MB, you are still going to want to monetize that. We make that possible with very little engineering and very easy interface.”

He adds, “We get a lot more economical use of bandwidth — you can push 10, 20, 30 times as a many files without any sacrifice in quality. … Most [creative] people will use this and not even realize they’re using it. They just drop content into a folder, and the magic just happens. And it happens really fast. We take care of all the non-creative stuff so you can focus on the creative side. And we will show you how we did it so you don’t have to take our word for it. And it will be better, faster, and cheaper than you could do yourself.”

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