How Edge Computing Will Transform Media & Entertainment

Posted January 4, 2021

edge computing

Zixi is working with Verizon and AWS to stream live video content over 5G networks leveraging Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC). Zixi CEO Gordon Brooks speaks with CSI Magazine to discuss the advantages of MEC, and how 5G cellular and MEC will transform B2B live video distribution deployments in 2021.

This is an excerpt from an article originally published in CSI Magazine. Read the full article here.

In the media and entertainment world, streaming live video content has proven to be one of the most popular applications, but there are also a number of visual effects and production-based use cases that want to leverage the reduction in the travel time of data in their workflows.

“The main driver behind the establishment of the edge network in video streaming is to get content into or out of the network as close to the production or delivery target as possible,” says Gordon Brooks, CEO of Zixi. “The optimization of experience made possible by the speed and access that 5G provides will allow for better monetization of live video driving further interest across the media and entertainment sector.” In a B2C use case, that could mean delivering content to the end consumer, whether on their mobile device or smart TV, and in a B2B use case, that could mean the content provider delivering content to its affiliates.

Zixi is concentrating on the B2B components of the workflow, including tetherless contribution as well as widespread distribution. The company, which owns and operates a wide-scale proprietary software platform (SDVP), is currently working on a pilot with Verizon and AWS Wavelength slated to go into production in Q1 2021. The aim is to enable a major content provider to distribute its 4K content to 500 affiliates over 5G networks, and the Zixi SDVP serves as the core transport mechanism, telemetry connection and control plane.

Zixi is also working with major sports leagues on projects that are testing production and distribution over 5G networks. “We know that 5G and MEC will be leveraged for live television distribution deployments in 2021, impacting B2B across both traditional broadcast and OTT. We see some of this being done with Zixi technology right now, and as 2021 progresses, the MEC will allow for real-time data to monetize everything from unique commercial experiences, sponsorships, and gaming. The second shift will be the expansion of application,” says Brooks of Zixi.

It is expected that production using the edge will begin to roll out across major sports entities and then progress to better entertainment experiences in general. Edge computing will enable venues to evolve with more localized programming, optimized by better access to real-time data, and allow for traditional venues such as regional and national theatres to participate in and monetize cultural experiences and performances from Beyoncé to the Super Bowl.

“As we pioneer this new technology and use it in a way that’s never been used, we will keep testing and trying to break it until we get it to work,” adds Brooks. For now, as the first real-world deployments take shape, edge compute is approaching the peak of the famous Gartner Hype Cycle. It is expected to mature in the next few years as adoption gathers pace, in the process proving what will be commercially viable in this field. Moving forward, as applications and business models evolve, it will be very interesting to see to what extent MEC technologies play a role in the video delivery ecosystem, creating and enabling next-generation immersive and interactive video services.

Learn more about Zixi’s 5G tests with Verizon and AWS.