ToolsOnAir and Partners Announce Open Workflow Network

The founding companies of Open Workflow Network including ToolsOnAir, Vidispine, Archiware and Object Matrix

ToolsOnAir, Vidispine, Object Matrix and Archiware have announced the formation of the "Open Workflow Network," a group that has come together to address the challenge of accelerating the movement of the broadcast industry towards open, interoperable, cost-effective solutions.

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The last five years has seen a shift in broadcast technology, moving from proprietary and largely closed hardware platforms to more open, generic, and often software- and IT-based solutions. It is clear that the mindset in the broadcast world is changing, driven by the need to deliver to new channels and devices on almost weekly basis, facilitate far greater interaction between audiences and content creators, and to respond most effectively to the constantly changing modern climate. This unrelenting pace of change is forcing broadcasters to seek out more cost-effective, innovative technology and workflow solutions, and the smaller companies from which they tend to originate.

The founding companies of Open Workflow Network, including ToolsOnAir, Vidispine, Archiware and Object Matrix, have gained a vast amount of experience by doing what the larger, more entrenched manufacturers have neglected - that is, listening to their customers, understanding their challenges, and subsequently developing IT based workflows that address those challenges. These founding companies have come together to also ensure that their products integrate seamlessly, providing end-to-end solutions that offer customers workflow choices that are not currently available.

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ToolsOnAir left the 'channel in a proprietary box' movement behind some years ago by ensuring its solutions can be deployed using standard, easily available Apple hardware and out-of-the-box video cards to deliver ingest, playout and real-time graphics. This new model has proven extremely successful, with over 300 channels around the world choosing the solution. In co-operation with workflow solutions architects from Mediasmiths and the Vidispine Backbone offering, they are now introducing an end -to-end workflow solution including a brand new, high end scalable Media Asset Management module.

"As new players like print organizations, in-house TV channels, or niche channels of established TV networks enter the market, solutions that are easy to use and quick to deploy are needed," explains Gilbert Leb, VP Sales of ToolOnAir. "The frantic pace required to deploy new channels means that the traditional approach and traditional technologies no longer works."

Object Matrix's belief is that your data and workflows belong to you, not to your suppliers. Object Matrix provides highly secure, near line archive solutions that are not tied to proprietary platforms or formats. The team at Object Matrix designed MatrixStore, its flagship product, with collaboration and open technologies at its core. Unlike many of the major storage vendors, it provides an open API that does not require partners to pay for expensive partnership programs with restrictive licenses.

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"When we set up the Workflow Innovation Group with Mediasmiths and Vidispine, the aim was to listen to end users and build a list of the key workflow challenges that they face, now and in the future," said Nicholas Pearce, co-founder of Object Matrix. "The formation of the Open Workflow Network enables vendors to cooperate and collaborate in order to rise to those challenges."

Archiware's flagship backup and archive application, PresSTORE P4, is also hardware and OS agnostic, and can be deployed on any infrastructure from a Mac Mini to hosted server farms. Archiware has committed to providing a solution that is less costly, more flexible and far easier to install and operate than traditional data management software ever has been. Archiware is backing this commitment with a highly responsive team providing a personal touch, providing its user community with all the resources required to get the very best out of their solution.

Partners like NMR have historically offered IT based post-production and broadcast solutions to their customers. "We have seen a growing demand from new customers outside our traditional market," remarked Neil Anderson, Managing Director of NMR, after this year's Broadcast Video Expo (BVE) trade show in London.

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Erik Åhlin and the team at Vidispine contributes a next generation media asset management (MAM) backbone. It includes all the traditional functions expected of a MAM, adding a robust and well-documented API for others to utilize and innovate on top of.

"We really believe it´s time to change the perception on what a MAM is, how quickly it can be deployed, and its core role to file-based workflows," says Åhlin. "This group of companies is well suited lead the charge towards the next generation of solutions."

Steve Sharman, CTO and co-founder of media technology services company Mediasmiths welcomes the formation of the Open Workflow Network. "We share the vision of effecting workflow change and transforming the way content is made through the use of innovative, open technology solutions," he comments. "This new commitment to pushing the open agenda and partnership by our friends in the OWN can only be good news for the industry. We're looking forward to working with them on new offerings to meet the needs of our clients."

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The idea of the Open Workflow Network is to give customers an alternative to the current offerings, many of which force their proprietary workflows upon customers. With broadcasters needing to integrate Social Media, Second Screen and parallel transaction services, launch new services and take costs out of their operations, a new approach is needed. The Open Workflow Network is spearheading that approach.

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