A guide to understanding the Cloud and how it can benefit your production business or TV station
It's really important to understand what the Cloud can offer content producers, but the term "The Cloud" isn't very helpful at all. "The Cloud" was probably chosen because despite all the intricate and innate complexity of networks, the way we use them means that we can pretty much forget about that obscure technology and just enjoy the benefits. (When you look at network diagrams, networks, or a connection to the internet. is commonly represented by a cartoon picture of a cloud).
Let's be clear about what we mean by this. Take the Internet as an example.
The most intricate machine
The Internet is the most intricate machine ever made. Its limbs and tendrils extend into businesses, into homes and even into remote deserts and jungles, courtesy of smartphones.
And this "machine" connects to other complicated machines too: powerful computers that do everything from designing complex buildings to sequencing the human genome to editing feature films and producing TV programs.
How does it work? To be somewhat flippant: it doesn't matter. You don't have to know very much about the internet at all to be able to use it. Even if you know a lot about it, you still use it routinely, as if it's just a utility like water or electricity.
It's easy enough to understand a few basic concepts. Like the idea that the internet is a bit like a postal system, delivering packages through its sorting offices ("Routers") to their destinations (IP addresses).
And, like all delivery systems (roads, rail networks) there are fast and slow connections.
But all you really need to know is that, via the internet, practically every computer in the world is connected to every other computer in the world.
And, finally, data is data. Different data may mean different things, but, generally, it doesn't matter if your data is holiday pictures, a shopping list, an email to your mom, or a feature film. The internet will take care of all of that, because, largely, it doesn't care.
The internet is "The Cloud"
As an internet user, you don't have to think about all the cables and connections, the routers, the software or the backbone. This is all abstracted or hidden from you. As far as you need to be concerned, the Internet is "The Cloud".
So this rather vague-sounding term, "The Cloud" is actually precisely chosen. From a user's point of view, it's appropriately opaque.
But the benefits of using it can be very specific, and unique too. You'll be able to do things with the Cloud that barely make sense without it.
One way of looking at the Cloud is that all the computers connected to it can be made to behave as if they're all one big computer. Or, even better, like a distributed one, where processing is done here, and storage is done there. And "there" can be anywhere on Earth. And it gets better when the distributed parts are set up to do the things that they are best at.
Let's look at this.
Let's say that you run a TV station, with a large number of people and organisations (production companies, for example) contributing to it. They will probably all work in different ways, on different types of content. But certain things apply to all of them: they have to meet your standards, and you have to be able to approve their material. Not only that, but they have to get the content to you efficiently, and in the correct, completely approved, format.
This scenario is ideal for the Cloud, and is one of the ways in which IoGates can help out. By providing a secure, Cloud-based infrastructure, you can:
Manage video and audio files from anywhere in the world;
Reduce production costs - because by outsourcing to the cloud, you need fewer technical people per production;
Make it easy to collaborate with your team;
Share media files quickly and easily with your clients - and with your team;
Give your clients a more professional workflow for viewing dailies and for approvals;
Centralise your production files in a Cloud archive;
Speed up the workflow and production;
Simplify and standardise the workflow, so complex procedures become routine (like converting video files);
Create automatic workflows, saving time and money;
Backup your media files.
All of these benefits are available now by using IoGates.
Let's make a couple of things clear. First, although the term "Cloud" sounds potentially chaotic or at least unmanaged, the opposite is the case. Even though the complexity is hidden from you, the user, Cloud service providers like IoGates manage the entire system very closely. They ensure that their suppliers (of data centres and of network connections) work to the highest standards of security and reliability. This is difficult stuff, and they get it right, which means that you don't have to worry about it.
So using a privately managed Cloud is really the best of all worlds: you get the benefits of distributed working across the internet, with the expert management of the computing aspects of modern workflows that would be difficult and expensive for you to run if you had to do it yourselves.