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Broadcast Film & Video: Next Generation Asset Management

“Asset management” is relatively new to the broadcast industry, says Paul Wilkins, Director of Solutions and Marketing, TMD

At first it was forced upon us: if content is stored on a server then we need to know how to find it when we cannot read the film can or tape labels. Gradually, more and more metadata was added, and more and more functionality incorporated. The result was that systems became rather monolithic.  

We are now in a completely different place. Software-defined systems are a practical reality, and automated workflows can be defined and driven by metadata. We need a new generation of asset and workflow management technology which reflects this transformative change in the way we work. 

TMD Mediaflex® has long been recognised as a leading asset management solution, originally it was built on a range of modules that were combined as necessary. But today's software designers prefer to break functionality down into much smaller packages, each self-contained and each capable of being spun up when required. 

So TMD has developed the latest version of Mediaflex on this principle: we call it Mediaflex-UMS, for Unified Media Services. We offer this as a platform on which we run any number of media services applications. Within each application, the small packages of core software are combined into “services”, and services are grouped into “tasks”. We provide a simple GUI which allows users to drag and drop tasks to create the workflows they need. They can build and modify these as required, without having to call in experts to write backend scripts every time something needs to change. 

The new architecture brings a large number of benefits, but I would like to draw particular attention to three. First, Mediaflex-UMS is a platform on which we run a range of applications, each one of which provides a different media service. 

For example, applications such as OnPoint for production management or Paragon for archive management can work as standalone systems providing workflow solutions for small workgroups, or two or three applications can be combined for a configurable solution for larger operational teams with more complex workflow requirements. Or you can configure multiple applications for an enterprise-class management solution for potentially hundreds of users. 

Second, it makes our solution highly configurable and scalable. Essentially, you add the applications and services you need for your operation, in as many instances as you need. If your requirements change, you can reconfigure without any impact on existing workflows, disruption or risk to your data. The cloud native, services-orientated
architecture makes it ideal for virtualisation or cloud services, or to be deployed on premise or in hybrid environments where some processes are on premises, some in the cloud.

Third, we have made it an open architecture by using an AMQP compliant messaging bus, which makes it easy for Mediaflex-UMS to interface to third party services. TMD has a wealth of experience and a proven track record of effectively integrating with a wide range of other services, such as complex business and scheduling systems, using industry standards such as BXF or by bespoke API integration.