Tech Insight: The Switch gives the inside track on full end-to-end live event production and delivery in the cloud

In the next of our Tech Insight Q&As, SVG Europe speaks to Robert Szabo-Rowe, SVP engineering and product management, The Switch, about end-to-end live event production and delivery in the cloud. The Switch’s production platform combines mobile and at-home services and includes the provision of highly skilled production personnel to enable customers to efficiently capture, edit and package compelling live coverage.

What are your key new technologies, solutions, and enhancements for sports broadcasters that you have bought out over the last quarter?

Over the last quarter, we have substantially grown the capabilities of MIMiC, our cloud video services platform, beyond its existing production and delivery functionality. MIMiC’s new cloud transmission service offers global IP delivery, enabling rightsholders to take video feeds from anywhere in the world and simultaneously deliver them to multiple – up to hundreds – of destinations using cloud-based networks and, where available, The Switch’s private network.

MIMiC enables cost-effective, high quality transmission in excess of 20Mbps, which can enable HD and UHD broadcasts. For events in remote locations with limited internet access, The Switch can support cloud-based transmission with bonded cellular services for either the primary feed or as a back-up, leveraging 5G where possible.

MIMiC’s newest services bolster its existing end-to-end, cloud-based production-as-a-service offering, which covers remote IP-video contribution through to distribution – including the creation of near real time social media highlights. MIMiC handles all aspects of the production workflow in the cloud – from clipping tools, editing and graphics creation to comms and talk-back – giving producers of sports content the choice to use their own production crew or The Switch’s experienced operators.

What have been the top technology trends during 2021 what are the hot technology trends we can expect to see in 2022 in sports broadcasting, and why will we see these?

2021 saw the rapid acceleration of cloud and remote production technologies, leapfrogging their expected adoption rate by five to seven years. We have also seen, with use of cloud-based technologies, the rapid evolutions of the remote model – where much of the production team works for a control room away from the venue – to a distributed model where crew members can work with a laptop from anywhere that has a good internet connection. This means there is now a rich menu of production services and more options available than ever for large sports leagues to do more with their content.

Looking ahead to 2022, we will see further implementation of cloud-driven set ups mixing mobile, remote and distributed options in different combinations to provide a range of live event coverage, shoulder programming and social media highlights. Rightsholders will increasingly move away from traditional production models, with dispersed crews and talent utilising a mix of remote facilities, outside broadcasting trucks, studios and home working set ups, sometimes covering multiple games in one day.

The expanding pool of talented freelance production crews means leagues and teams will be able to draw on the best talent in the industry to produce stellar programming in the most efficient, flexible and cost effective way.

The cloud is gaining particular traction across the sports industry as a tried-and-tested means of delivering live productions of all sizes, with technology developments significantly expanding how it is used. In 2022, we’re going to see a huge expansion in how cloud is deployed by sports leagues, broadcasters and other producers of live games to include a rich array of features such as clipping and editing, low latency intercoms and graphics creation, in addition to existing production and transmission capabilities. This will elevate the types of niche, shoulder and pop-up programming that sports media companies of all types can tap into. We’re going to see the broad range of services and applications coming into full fruition.
What can we expect to see from your company in 2022?

In 2022, The Switch will continue to enhance and expand on the capabilities of MIMiC to support the end-to-end production and delivery of live sports events in the cloud. 2021 has been one of our busiest and most successful yet and we’ve seen a significant expansion in our production services business, including remote and mobile production in addition to our cloud video services platform.

Next year we’re expecting to see far greater adoption of MIMiC for full end-to-end live event production and delivery in the cloud, as the industry becomes increasingly accepting and trusting in the robustness and reliability of the cloud.

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