FAQ: Avid NEXIS | Pro 20TB and 40TB engines

FAQ: Avid NEXIS | Pro 20TB and 40TB engines

In November 2017, Avid announced that they would be discontinuing the Avid NEXIS | Pro 20TB engine, and replacing it with the 40TB model they had premiered at IBC. With stocks of the 20TB model now critically low, we looked at the key questions you need to ask before moving to the 40TB engine. 

Avid_NEXIS_PRO

Will my existing 20TB engines still be supported? 

Yes. Avid will provide support for any 20TB NEXIS | Pro covered by a support contract until 31st December 2022, so your hardware should be safe for the rest of its usable life. It will continue to qualify for maintenance software releases, including bug fixes and client OS compatibility updates.

Will I be able to continue using my existing hardware? 

Again, yes. See below for specific compatibility information.

How does the price compare to the existing 20 TB engine? 

The new, larger engine is actually better value per TB, offering you twice the storage capacity for a relatively small uptick in price (the base model of the 40TB unit is currently £1000 more than the base 20TB model).

Are there limits to how I can configure my NEXIS | Pro system? 

Essentially, the same limits apply to NEXIS systems built from the new storage model as follows:

– Up to four Media Packs (in this case up to four engines) can be merged into one NEXIS | Pro system which uses the embedded System Director service mode of NEXIS File System.

– Up to 30 clients can be connected to the NEXIS Pro storage system simultaneously.

– Up to 24 clients can be actively connected to the system accessing storage Workspaces simultaneously.

– NEXIS Pro Engine Media Packs can be bound to the file system in either Scale Out Storage Group (SOSG) mode or in High Performance Storage Group (HPSG) mode. For systems containing more than one engine, both modes can be used (starting, perhaps, with one Media Pack in SOSG mode and one Media Pack in HPSG mode), and up to four Storage Groups can be configured as follows:

– Up to four engines can be connected and from one to four Storage Groups can be created with each engine’s Media Pack bound to the file system in SOSG mode delivering up to 400 MB/s bandwidth per Media Pack. Storage Groups can be sized according to bandwidth requirements, and further Media Packs added later if expansion is required (subject to the four Media Pack system limit).

– Up to four engines can be connected and one Storage Group can be created with each engine’s Media Pack bound to the file system in HPSG mode delivering up to 600 MB/s bandwidth per Media Pack bound in this mode. Additional Storage Groups can also be created if required; however, these must use SOSG bound Media Packs.

Can NEXIS | Pro engines be mixed with NEXIS | E ones? 

NEXIS | Pro storage cannot be mixed with NEXIS | E series engines, although a NEXIS | Pro based system and one or more NEXIS | E series based systems could be run in the same network environment if required, and from a common client base.

Can I add NEXIS | Pro 40TB Engines to my NEXIS | Pro 20TB system?

Yes, you can do this safely, although the total number of NEXIS engines in a NEXIS Pro engine-based NEXIS system cannot exceed four, and you will need to be running at least NEXIS software v7.10.1. This may mean that a software update must be performed on the existing NEXIS | Pro 20TB engines and all clients accessing the storage prior to adding the new NEXIS engines to the system.

Ideally, NEXIS | Pro 40TB Engines would be added to a new Storage Group separate from any existing Storage Groups consisting of NEXIS | Pro 20TB Engines in order to optimise available storage capacity.

Can I add NEXIS | Pro 40TB Engines to my ISIS 1000 system?

Yes, although the ISIS 1000 system would need to be upgraded to NEXIS | Pro 20TB engines and NEXIS v7.10.1 software or above before the new storage was added.

Can I add NEXIS | Pro 40TB Engines to my ISIS 5000 system?

No. However, NEXIS systems can be run safely alongside an ISIS system and both storage systems can be accessed from a common Avid Shared Storage client. So if you need to expand your available storage capacity or increase the storage bandwidth available to clients, a suitably configured Avid NEXIS system can be established in the same network as your existing ISIS system. In this case the ISIS system must be running a minimum version of ISIS v4.7.5 software (although the latest v4.7.11 is highly recommended) and the existing ISIS client software can be updated to the Avid NEXIS client software.

What level of storage protection is offered by NEXIS | Pro series engines?

Administrators can select to have data protected in NEXIS | Pro based file systems with either One Disk or Two Disk protected Workspaces. In the case of the One Disk protected Workspaces, data located in these Workspaces will remain available to users in the case of one disk in the NEXIS Media Pack failing. In the case of the Two Disk protected Workspaces, data located in these Workspaces will remain available to users in the case of up to two disks in the NEXIS Media Pack failing. Administrators can also elect to create Workspaces with no data protection enabled, although we recommend that users only select this option if they have an effective onsite backup workflow in place.

Is NEXIS engine mirroring available as a data protection scheme in NEXIS | Pro based systems?

No, this advanced data protection scheme requires use of the NEXIS System Director Appliance (SDA) and is only available in NEXIS |E Series engine-based configurations.

Have we missed a question? Ask yours in the comments, or get in touch with the team on 03332 409 210 or at broadcast@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our IBC roundup.

Coming in 2018: Audio trends to look out for

Coming in 2018: Audio trends to look out for

We asked our experts to gaze into their crystal mics and predict 2018’s biggest trends for the audio industry. Reliable picks included networked audio over IP, an even bigger push on 3D sound than we’ve seen in 2017 and Ambisonics quietly cornering the market for virtual reality content…

Networked audio over IP: Dante, Ravenna, BLU Link, Q-LAN and AES67

We’ve been talking to everyone who’ll listen about Focusrite’s Dante products for years now (and, to a lesser but no less enthusiastic extent, about gear that uses Ravenna, BLU Link and Q-LAN). While all these formats are excellent in their own ways and most studios we kit out will include equipment from multiple vendors, they weren’t always cross-compatible.

The AES67 standard was designed to fix this, among other things, and allows interoperability between Dante, Ravenna and other such networks as if they were one and the same. While AES67 has been around since 2014, it’s only recently it’s really gained traction, with newer Dante and Ravenna solutions being AES67-compatible straight out of the gate. Our hope is that in 2018 working across standards becomes even easier, with the rise of the AES70 management standard allowing us to control routing between between Dante, Ravenna and BLU Link without any compatibility issues or loss of signal quality.

We’re also interested in seeing what Q-SYS, JBL and BSS have up their sleeve this year for audio system control, and advise anyone who works with audio and video to keep an eye on SMPTE 2110, which allows you to transport audio and video synchronously in separate streams, in native AES67 rather than multiplexed with the video, as in SMPTE 2022. SSL in particular have been developing solutions that incorporate this standard, including their more recent Dante-based interfaces.

Want to know more about this? Head to our Soho centre at 9am on 31st January for a special Tech Breakfast with our senior audio engineer, Matt Ward, who’ll be briefing people on AES67 and its related standards over coffee and a danish. Sign up here

Ambisonics overtake immersive audio and virtual reality

One of the things we’re most excited about at the moment is the resurgence of interest in Ambisonics, driven by the latest developments in immersive audio and VR. Originally developed in the 1970s by Michael Gerzon, Ambisonics was integrated into Pro Tools in v12.8.2, and we expect to see more third party tools appearing as VR and immersive home and cinema formats become ubiquitous.

If you’re experimenting with Ambisonics (particularly capturing sound fields), we’d recommend keeping a close eye on developments in high order ambisonic microphone arrays over the next year as the ability to store and process a greater number of channels becomes available. These arrays produce phase-coherent immersive audio signals that give your virtual environment natural acoustics, and working in higher order allows for more spatial accuracy.

In other immersive news, 2018 could be the year that SMPTE release an open standard for immersive audio, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the latest evolutions of DTS:X and Multi-Dimensional Audio can challenge Dolby Atmos – follow us on Twitter to keep up with developments.

Refining the cloud

Putting immersive audio aside for a minute, the other toolkit we’d like to see Avid expand in 2018 is Pro Tools’ suite of cloud collaboration tools. Rumours suggest we’ll see their online collaboration services refined, giving audio customers a more streamlined, integrated solution that will lure end users away from slightly less secure methods of sharing (they’re also overhauling the Media Composer Cloud-connected application, so it will interesting to see how these two sync up).

Perfecting shared storage for audio with DDP

Collaborating also means managing content and storage efficiently, and investing in a flexible and reliable storage and management data solution is undoubtedly the way forward if you want to streamline and optimise your workflow. Not many tools can deliver on all fronts but, having tested a lot of options, we’re big fans of Dynamic Drive Pool, a solution which has been designed specifically to work with this type of media.

DDP is essentially a pool of drives from which virtual or logical volumes can be created and accessed via Ethernet. This is a SAN (Storage Area Network) system, which allows data to be read and written in blocks very quickly, allowing network volumes to appear and behave like local storage. This is the perfect companion for audio systems like Pro Tools, Fairlight and Nuendo.

Got a prediction for 2018? Let us know in the comments. To find out more about any of the above, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

How to achieve a hassle-free, zero-touch iOS rollout

How to achieve a hassle-free, zero-touch iOS rollout

Our iOS lifecycle solutions use tried and tested methodology (we’ve deployed 50,000 devices so far this year!) so iPhone and iPad rollouts are a breeze for not just end users, but the IT staff that support them. Here’s how we make sure your rollout is as efficient as possible…

Without a clear strategy for deployment in place, the headache that often comes with large-scale rollouts can be huge – especially for IT staff tasked with making sure everything goes off without a hitch. There can be the potential for missing kit, company-wide downtime, and end users needing help getting their device working as they should.

With our iOS lifecycle solutions, we take the hassle out of deploying hundreds of devices across your business. Whether your company is new to Apple, already has an Apple estate or has a mixed device environment, we’ll ensure you get the best experience from your mobile technology.

The perfect rollout

 

Before

Prior to your rollout, end users will be able to log into a dedicated web portal and select their new device from a predetermined list. They’ll also be able to book a collection time and place, and arrange to return their old device. New devices will then be delivered to site at the specified time, ready for end users to collect.

During

As end users will have pre-booked time slots to collect their devices, you know they won’t all be turning up at once. Our iOS deployments are tracked using a custom app, CAT24, which gives you full visibility of where your rollout is up to, who has received a new device and who has returned their old one.

With CAT24, you can:

– Import employee lists, serial numbers and automatically sync stock before rollout.

– View on hand, in delivery and returned devices, as well as images and employee lists.

– Export details via .csv or integrate into existing business systems.

– Discover employees and check returned device serial numbers.

– Capture images to confirm the quality of returned device for resale.

– Scan and assign new device to employees.

– Have employees sign off receipt of new devices.

– Integrate with SAP and other systems, for live insight.

We’ll also have a member of our friendly, accredited tech team onsite during your rollout, so if there are any hiccups, they can address them and get you back on the right track. They’ll also be happy to answer any questions you or your end users have about the new devices, and getting set up.

After

If required, we can provide training for you and your end users, as well as a support hotline so staff have a dedicated number to call with any queries or issues. We can also provide bespoke collateral that will come with the new device to help get end users up and running as soon as possible, ensuring a hassle-free and informed rollout.

We know that accidents are inevitable, but believe suffering downtime because of them isn’t. With our hot swaps, users can have a replacement device in their hands the same day, and will be kept up to date while we repair the damaged device.

The benefits

We estimate that with a traditional iOS rollout, it could take users up to five minutes to collect a new device and return any old ones. Across 15,000 devices, that equates to 1250 hours, or 167 working days spend across your company deploying new tech.

With our iOS deployments, we can reduce this to less than one minute per device, which means only 250 hours or 33 working days spent on the rollout – that’s a difference of 133 working days!

As well minimal downtime, with a Jigsaw24 iOS rollout you’ll also get:

Reduced admin. Dramatically reduced administration of manually logging assets that is required during a rollout.

On time delivery. We can deploy thousands of devices over agreed timescales – in a recent deployment we rolled out 15,000 devices in six months.

Real-time updates. Throughout the rollout, HR and IT staff will receive clear progress and inventory information in real time.

Reduced support tickets. With rapid repairs, hot swaps and dedicated support hotlines, you could see support tickets reduced by up to 50%.

Improved data security. Significantly improve your data security and brand management with our pre-delivery staging and configuration services.

Get in touch with our Apple Practice to arrange an ideation workshop at our Apple Experience Centre, our leading demo facility in the heart of Soho, London. Give us a call on 03332 400 888, email enterprise@Jigsaw24.com or visit our enterprise site.

Are you getting the most out of your iOS devices at work?

Are you getting the most out of your iOS devices at work?

Our iOS Lifecycle solutions are based around staff experience. With our tried and tested methodology (we’ve deployed 50,000 devices so far this year!), iPhone and iPad rollouts have been a breeze for our customers. Here’s how we make sure you get the best out of your devices from day one…

Everybody likes exciting new tech. But the headache that often comes with large-scale rollouts can be huge, with the potential for long wait times, missing kit, and not knowing how to get up and running once the device is actually in your hands.

Without a clear strategy for deployment in place, and the necessary support available after you’ve got your devices switched on, many people find that they’re not getting the most out of their iPad or iPhone for business. But don’t worry – whether your company is new to Apple, already has an Apple estate or has a mixed device environment, we’ll ensure you get the best experience from your mobile technology.

The perfect rollout

 

Before

Prior to your company’s rollout, you’ll be able to log into a dedicated web portal and select your new device from a predetermined list. You’ll also be able to book a collection time and place, and arrange to return your old device. Your device will then be delivered to site at the specified time, ready for you to collect.

During

As you and your colleagues will have pre-booked time slots to collect your devices, so you’ll avoid the usual lunchtime rush as everyone devices to pick up their iPhone at the same time. Our iOS deployments are tracked using a customer app, CAT24, which ensures a smooth, zero-touch rollout.

We’ll also have a member of our friendly, accredited (and a little bit geeky) tech team onsite during your rollout, so if there are any hiccups, they can address them and get you back on the right track. They’ll also be happy to answer any questions you have about your new device, and getting set up.

After

If required, we can provide training for you and the IT staff supporting you, as well as a support hotline so you’ve got a dedicated number to call with any queries or issues. We can also provide bespoke collateral that will come with your new device to help get you up and running as soon as possible, ensuring a hassle-free and informed rollout.

We know that accidents are inevitable, but believe suffering downtime because of them isn’t. With our hot swaps, you can have a replacement device in your hands the same day, and will be kept up to date while we repair your damaged device.

The benefits

With a Jigsaw24 iOS rollout you’ll get:

Minimal downtime. We’ve got the deployment process down to a tee, so it should take you less than a minute to collect your new device and return your old one.

On time delivery. We can deploy thousands of devices over agreed timescales – in a recent deployment we rolled out 15,000 devices in six months.

Real-time updates. Throughout the rollout, your HR and IT staff will receive clear progress and inventory information in real time.

Reduced support tickets. With rapid repairs, hot swaps and dedicated support hotlines, you could see support tickets reduced by up to 50%.

Improved data security. Significantly improve your data security and brand management with our pre-delivery staging and configuration services.

Get in touch with our Apple Practice to arrange an ideation workshop at our Apple Experience Centre, our leading demo facility in the heart of Soho, London. You can call us on 03332 409 306 or email enterprise@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Why choose Apple for digital transformation?

Why choose Apple for digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a long term commitment that radically changes the culture of an organisation. Which means that if you’re going to do it, you need to be on a platform that can change with you, and that offers you a combination of stability and flexibility. We think that’s the Apple platform. 

Earlier this year, MDM providers Jamf reported that 91% of organisations now use Mac and 99% use iPad and iPhone. This surge in popularity is partly due to employees who use iOS devices in their personal lives demanding access to the same technology in the workplace, but there are a number of compelling reasons why the Apple platform is ideal for the enterprise space, especially if you’re pursuing digital transformation.

Co-engineered hardware and software

Apple computers are known for their long lifespan and excellent build quality. Unlike most other manufacturers, Apple produce the hardware and software components of their devices, so the two are perfectly engineered to work together. This makes machines more reliable and less prone to productivity-sapping bugs and glitches. It also means that the user experience is consistent across the full range of devices, so an employee who has an iPhone will be able to figure out how to use their first desktop Mac quickly and intuitively.

As mobile working becomes more prevalent, the integration between Apple devices becomes more important. iCloud storage has been a standard part of an Apple account for some time now, and in the last few years huge strides have been made in improving the integration between desktop, iOS and cloud versions of their core apps, so users on different devices and platforms can collaborate in realtime. iOS’s Handoff functionality even allows employees to close a document on their desktop as they leave the office, and open the same document on their iPhone to work on while they travel.

Most Apple devices have a built-in camera, GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer. Apps can take advantage of these to record data that would have previously required expensive equipment, or increase visibility over your operations at low cost (giving delivery drivers an iPhone with a tracking app is probably the most common example of this). And because Apple produce iPads and iPhones in a range of sizes without much drop-off in performance, every employee will be able to find a model that meets their needs.

A focus on privacy and security

Apple devices provide the best security of any mainstream platform. This ranges from system level security, such as using Touch ID to enforce two-factor authentication, to sandboxing apps, to AES-256 bit hardware encryption for data at rest and a VPN over the transport layer when your data’s in transit.

When an Apple device in enrolled into a mobile device management (MDM) solution, the device is designed to secure important company data while protecting end user privacy. The MDM solution can only see corporate data and apps, not personal information, creating a natural separation between corporate and personal data without any need for separate workspaces. This is particularly useful in BYOD or mobile working environments, as it allows you to wipe, restrict and control corporate data without interfering with any of the user’s own files.

Apple have made it even easier to enrol your devices into a MDM solution be rolling out their Device Enrolment Programme. The DEP allows your MDM solution to save settings and profiles to Apple’s own servers. When you turn on a new device, Apple then push the appropriate profile to the device immediately, so security settings are applied from the moment the user turns on the device, so they’re never working on an uncontrolled device and there’s no chance of you losing vital data.

Streamlined deployment and management

As mentioned previously, there are number of device management solutions available for the Apple platform, and both iOS and macOS are designed to work with your management solution, not against it. Apple even introduced a Device Enrolment Programme that allows your MDM solution to communicate with their servers and automatically install the correct profile on a new device as soon as it’s turned on, enabling zero touch deployment. Once a device is active, you can manage how it accesses accounts, apps, books, domains and extensions, and dictate the user’s ‘Open in’ options when they access a file.

As for corporate apps, these can be purchased centrally and in bulk, then pushed out over MDM. Alternatively, you can host a private app store populated with whitelisted apps to ensure your employees only have access to approved content.

Another advantage of iOS in particular is the fact that, because updates are quick, easy and user-centric, over 59% of iOS devices are on the latest version of the operating system just six weeks after its initial release. Contrast that with the Android user base, which at the time of writing had only 0.6% of its membership on the latest iteration, and which has substantial numbers of users who are still several versions back.

This version sprawl increases the likelihood Android devices will be incompatible with your legacy systems, be unable to access the latest version of core apps, and generally increase the amount of time your IT have to spend on day to day support, as they have to be aware of five generations’ worth of bugs and fixes, as opposed to being able to quickly identify and correct issues they know a single generation has with your systems.

The best platform for apps 

Apple’s App Store currently houses over 230,000 apps for business. Whatever issue you’re trying to address, there’s likely to be a native app to get you started. If you don’t have time in your schedule to sift through 230,000 apps, take a look at Apple’s specially selected Mobility Partners are a great place to start. These best of breed apps have been identified as particularly innovative, comprehensive or useful within their sector, and are ideal for companies who want to engage with digital transformation.

As well as helping you find the best off the shelf solutions, Apple also aim to make life as easy as possible for in-house development teams. All of their devices are optimised for the Swift programming language, which is easy to learn and was designed with security first in mind. If you decide to build your own apps, you’ll get access to the Apple’s Xcode IDE, and Simulator testing environment.

Once your app is developed, it can be hosted privately on the App Store, so you can reap the benefits of Apple’s distribution platform without making your app visible to the general public.

Partnerships

All this is impressive, but Apple aren’t determined to take on the enterprise alone. They’ve partnered with the likes of Cisco, Deloitte, SAP and IBM (who currently have the world’s largest Mac estate) to develop an integrated suite of solutions that ensures you won’t be starting from the ground up if you choose to adopt Macs.

As well as ensuring that Apple and PC systems can be integrated across your organisation, these partnerships are developing dedicated solutions for iOS devices and doing a huge amount to reassure stakeholders that iOS devices in particular can be a stable, secure part of their IT estate.

Why choose Jigsaw24?

We have over 25 years’ experience working in mixed platform environments, and were recently named the UK’s first Apple Authorised Enterprise Reseller. The staff in our dedicated Apple Practice have unrivalled expertise, knowhow and experience in providing Apple solutions. Our services cover:

Strategy on Apple ecosystem If you’re considering reviewing, updating or building your IT strategy over the next five years, and want a clear roadmap for your Apple estate, we can help by supporting mixed environments and even offering outsourced IT support.

App development and UI design With our own internal app development team, we’re able to assist with every step of getting you your own iOS app, from an initial consultation to scope out what you need, through to development and implementation, including deployment and management.

Business process optimisation Our consultants can advise on your current workflow and what can be done to improve it, with recommendations for moving forward so you can optimise your business processes.

Security and risk management We’re well equipped to consult on device security, and make sure iOS and macOS address the security requirements and regulations of your organisation.

Deployment and transition We can deploy ready-configured devices to your end users, and our device transition and data migration service ensures all devices are seamlessly transitioned and that all user data is transferred.

Support Our in-life support ensures your devices are always covered, including hardware break/fix, remote support, onsite visits and replacement devices.

Lifecycle management We provide all the services you need throughout the life of your Apple device. From a simple warranty to a complete support and management service – we can even help you release the residual value of your device when it’s time for a refresh.

Apple devices are a popular, powerful tool for business transformation. User demand for access to the Apple platform is high, and the potential for its native apps to increase productivity, efficiency and end user satisfaction is clear. If you need a more bespoke solution, the Swift programming language provides a secure, easy to learn point of entry into development for both iOS and macOS. To find out more about how we can help you begin this journey, or unlock the potential of devices already in your organisation, get in touch with the team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email enterprise@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

What is digital transformation?

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation has been a popular buzzphrase for years now, but a clear definition of the term is hard to come by. Some organisations see it as a technological disruption, others as more of a shift in a culture that just so happens to use some digital tools. Let’s try and break down the jargon…

First, what does it mean?
Digital transformation is used to refer to two quite different things, which is where some of the confusion arises. In organisations which are taking their first steps away from a traditional model, talking about ‘digital transformation’ will usually mean talking about a case where a specific technology was used to address a specific pain point or improve a specific metric, such as customer satisfaction.

In organisations with a more developed digital strategy, “digital transformation” means an ongoing, iterative approach to new technology be that a device or an app, designed to encourage innovation and ensure that organisations take advantage of emerging technologies more effectively than their competitors do. This is not a standalone IT policy, but a company-wide culture designed to allow constant refinement of business processes and practices, instead of a stop-and-start approach to change. .

Why two definitions?
Typically, one leads to the other. It’s pretty universally agreed that in a more digitally developed company, transformation itself becomes a driver. The company is constantly on the lookout for new and emerging technologies, encourages experimentation and innovation, and plans ahead of its current capabilities so that when new technology emerges, they are in prime position to take advantage of it before, and to a greater effect than, their competitors. IT development is a constant, iterative process rather than a four year refresh cycle with an accompanying plan, and is closely linked to workplace culture and user experience. Leaders actively encourage this ongoing change, and employees are given ready access to training and support.

However, if you’re at the start of your digital journey, selling the concept to your workforce can be challenging. Everyone understands why having a mobile device with email, calendar and contacts is more efficient than carrying round the paper equivalent, but devices like iPad and iPhone are capable of much more than that. It can sometimes be difficult to move employees out of the comfort zone and get them to explore use cases that don’t have a direct analogue equivalent.

Many organisations begin by trying something concrete, with a measurable ROI (the specific technology that addresses the specific pain point mentioned in definition one). Once stakeholders see the benefit of one or two iterative changes, it’s far easier to engage them in conversations about wider change, and to shift the culture of the organisation closer to the kind of constant transformation that’s necessary if you want to keep pace with technology.

What are my current drivers, then?
In our experience, there are three main drivers for organisations that begin the journey to digital transformation: wanting to improve their customer journey, the desire to improve internal systems, and the need to update their business model to stay competitive.

Identifying a specific problem in one of these areas and trialling a project to fix it is a good way to make the business case for digital transformation.

Let’s say, for example, that a retailer wants to move away from your usual, impersonal sales interactions and toward clientelling. Equipping sales assistants with an app comparable to your customer-facing app. This allows them to view their customers’ purchase histories, including items they’ve abandoned in online baskets and any out of stock items they have expressed an interest in. They can then make personalised recommendations based on this purchase history, alert the customer to any new stock, and cross- and up-sell customers. If you have a customer-facing app, assistants can send personalised alerts to this app. Once your assistants have devices in hand, it’s a short step to equip them with an mPOS solution so that they can take payment from customers as soon as they’re ready, rather than asking customers to queue.

In the vast majority of cases, there will already be an off the shelf app that tackles the issue you’re trying to address. Alternatively, consider developing a custom solution (which gives you the added advantage of on-demand, iterative development, the pace of which is not dictated by a third party).

So I just give everyone an iPad?
No (although we would be very happy to sell you iPads).

The bulk of evidence suggests that leading with strategy is key to the success of digital transformation. You need to know what you’re going to try first, what evidence you hope to gather and how that will be implemented. You need to have visible C-level support for change, and a strategy for encouraging adoption (for example, retailers have effectively used a league table model to gamify training, with prizes for the ‘best trained’ store, in order to ensure people access and use digital resources). Because the changes involved in digital transformation are often drastic, it’s important that leaders are able to articulate their purpose to employees and speak with authority about the technology introduced and the cultural change that comes with it.

Do I have to become a technical expert?
No again. While it’s important that you have the requisite expertise somewhere in your organisation, top level stakeholders just need to be able to use the solutions that are introduced visibly and fluently. Having leaders publicly endorse new systems by actively engaging with them (sharing files, responding to comments, liking employee posts; visibly using the new system for whatever task it supports) is more valuable for driving adoption than having a board who all have a complete technical understanding of the solution.

Is this going to be expensive?
There is almost always an initial outlay – even if you already have all the hardware you need, you’ll still need to pay for software licences or development time.

However, giving people the best tools to do their job will increase efficiency and productivity. Employees want to work with forward-looking companies that are leaders in the field, so attracting and retaining the top talent will become easier. And most importantly of all, there’s no way you can stick to your standard issue four year refresh cycle and fixed IT shopping list without falling drastically behind the times and losing touch with your customers. Technology changes so rapidly nowadays that failing to innovate doesn’t mean you stand still, it means you actively lose ground to competitors.
 
How do I find out more? 
You can find out more about our services for enterprise here, or get in touch with our consultants on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email enterprise@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Coming in 2018: Video trends to look out for

Coming in 2018: Video trends to look out for

We asked our experts which technologies they were keeping an eye on in 2018, and their answers were pretty much unanimous: VR and AR are going to come on apace; you’re all going to need to get comfortable with CWDM to maximise your infrastructure investments; you’re going to love IMF delivery and there are a few key changes to your Avid workflow…

Virtual reality finds its niche

2017 was the year everyone and their cousin learned the difference between VR, AR and 360, as various vendors, manufacturers and platforms tried to corner the market for this new technology. However, much of the hardware and software that has existed until now has veered between magical and cumbersome, hampered by a lack of standardisation, the sheer volume of data involved and a patchy understanding on the part of corporate clients on how best this should be implemented.

However, we think 2018 is the year that VR and AR are going to come into their own. Practitioners are finding better applications, first generation cameras and software are becoming more stable, and people are zeroing in on how to create compelling content in a reasonable timeframe and for a manageable cost.

The key thing, though, is to make sure you have the storage and infrastructure to handle the amount of footage involved. This is often more than you need – even at a very small scale, VR requires a huge amount of throughput and space. To find out more about developing your setup, get in touch.

CWDM fibre and the remote MCR of the future

While we’re on the topic of storage, it’s worth taking another look at Phil’s Tech Breakfast presentation on Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing (CWDM, the process by which you can put many, many signals over single fibres and maximise return on your investment in fibre). It’s a topic our engineers have been asked about again and again in 2017, and things don’t look to settle down in 2018, as our appetite for data over distance shows no sign of diminishing.

(You can watch the part one Phil mentions here.)

Offering distances of up to 80km and an excellent signal to noise ratio (28dBs with the best optics), single mode fibre  allows you to transmit more data on your single mode fibre in areas where it is difficult or prohibitively expensive to add more cores of fibre (for example, if your campus fibre network crosses a local authority boundary, you’ll have to pay tax on every cable you lay in perpetuity).

We’re acutely aware of its usefulness, having employed it to set up the Dolby 4K cinema net in Soho last year. This lets several Soho facilities remotely connect to the control panels and ultra hi-res Eclipse projector in Dolby’s cinema facility in order to grade their work at a resolution they’d be unable to support internally.

In more general use, it’s one of the technologies that’s allowing central London facilities to combat ever-increasing rents by relocating their MCR to a datacentre and converting that space into something more revenue-generating. The other technology that’s helping on this score is KVM over IP, in which your workstations, storage and servers are remotely located, and can be accessed by anyone with a keyboard, display, mouse and internet connection. This has been popular in corporate and finance sectors for some time, but we’re finally seeing it reach a point where it’s a viable solution for high-end video work, and it’s only set to become more popular in 2018.

Interoperable Master Format (IMF) delivery

IMF is a flexible framework that allows you to take a ‘mix and match’ approach to the delivery of file based assets such as images, audio, technical metadata and subtitles. Designed to make the delivery of final masters easier by providing an SMPTE-approved framework for the contents of your master, it’s proved popular with customers who maintain long term archives, as you can save space by only saving the differences between versions of your initial assets, rather than saving multiple whole versions, and can combine multiple cuts and language versions into a single master.

You can keep up with developments at the IMF Forum, or get in touch with the team to find out how IMF could impact your delivery and archiving workflow.

The rise and rise of HDR

2017 saw lots of customers enquiring about high dynamic range (HDR) – one of the four improvements that UHD Television brings, the others being increased resolution (aka 4K), wide colour gamut (aka WCG or Rec.2020), and higher frame-rates (all the way to 120 frames/sec).

Modern TVs are capable of much brighter whites and consistently good blacks, so we need a system to exploit that and give us a much richer range of light values. To many eyes HDR is the most compelling aspect of UHD-TV, and it will come as no surprise that there are competing standards. Dolby have their PQ (aka Dolby Vision) which is derived from their work in digital cinema; Sony have their Slog3 cameras and the BBC/NHK (the UK and Japanese state broadcasters) have Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). In addition, TV manufacturers have HDR10 and now HDR10+, and each one of these systems has its own benefits in acquisition, post, production and delivery.

It seems like it’s all to play for, but here at Jigsaw24 we have been paying attention and have a stable of products to suit different production requirements. The Leader LV5490 test set is the best piece of equipment we’ve found so far for HDR shooting, grading and delivery to Netflix, Amazon and the BBC.

And as always, Avid have big plans…

And while we’re always excited to talk about cabling, we’d be remiss if we didn’t catch up on what Avid have been up to. They’ve already announced that they’re going to be rolling out MediaCentral | Editorial Management next year, and there is also a host of updates coming to Media Composer.

We don’t have a firm release date for the full updates, but we know that it will include NDI support, so you can stream content directly from Media Composer to a client; a brand new 4K capable title tool and background save.

There’s also the looming release of Media Composer Cloud VM, which will allow you to virtualise your Media Composer seats. This means they can be stored and managed centrally, with editors in various locations accessing the necessary software and computing power remotely using any hardware they have to hand, rather than having to wait for (or find space for) a dedicated workstation.

While there is an initial outlay involved (you have to invest in a VM stack and you still need to pay for your Media Composer licences), but the resulting flexibility and long term hardware savings mean that if you need need to be able to adjust your workflow quickly, this is well worth the investment – particularly if you find yourself adapting your workflow to clients often, regularly take on freelancers to hit deadlines, or need a low cost way to give clients access to the edit if they can’t afford to rent a suite, or you don’t have one to spare.

Unlike other virtualisation solutions, Avid give you access to the full version of Media Composer, without any features cut, so working on a virtual version is no different from working on a dedicated workstation. We’re currently running proof of concept trials with our key customers, so watch this space for updates as more info becomes available!

As always, if you want to pick through how you any of this might affect your workflow or book your place on one of our accredited Avid training days, you can always get in touch with the team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Coming in 2018: MediaCentral | Editorial Management

Coming in 2018: MediaCentral | Editorial Management

Back at IBC 2017, Avid announced a number of changes to MediaCentral, including a new Editorial Management module: a browser-based asset management system designed to make the organisation, viewing and addition of metadata to your media easier, without relying on an NLE.

When MediaCentral | Editorial Management arrives, every Avid-based facility will have access to a lightweight asset management system that can handle logging, rough cuts and approvals, without you having to buy any extra licences of Media Composer, or invest in a complete Interplay system if that’s out of your budget.

It’s important to emphasise that, while Editorial Management sits in the Media Central family, it’s really a different product/model, in that it’s aimed at people in smaller facilities who don’t need the capacity or capability of Media Central | UX Cloud, and are happy to sacrifice some additional connections and features in order to get their hands on a more streamlined, easy-to-set-up solution – albeit one that is designed to the same degree of precision and shares the same pedigree as its more developed cousin.

What does MediaCentral | Editorial Management do?

With MCEM, as Avid probably won’t call it, users are able to:

– Search and browse across all projects and media on your NEXIS shared storage via a browser-based interface. It’s based on an HTML5 architecture, providing a more dynamic and responsive experience compared to previous iterations of Media Central.

– Create and prep new Media Composer bins.

– Log footage.

– Create simple rough cuts.

– Approve footage.

– Use Phonetic Search to find phrases in footage without having to transcribe it.

– Use Avid Illuminate to check the timing and accuracy of closed captions.

What hardware and software is involved?

MediaCentral | Editorial Management is a software product that runs on an affordable server that acts as an asset management layer between the editing platforms and your NEXIS shared storage to provide end users with access to the footage that they need. The Editorial Management interface will be accessible through Avid’s Cloud UX, without the need for users to have a dedicated seat of Media Composer.

How does this affect my timeline?

Editorial Management appears as a panel in your Media Composer environment. You can search for content within the panel, then simply drag and drop it onto the timeline. There’s no need for you to leave your timeline to go searching through folders and other applications for the footage you want.

Does this have all the media asset management tools I need for my facility?

Editorial Management is, by Avid’s own admission, designed to ensure that every facility has some asset management in place. It’s a great addition to the Avid pipeline and has some fantastic features, but it was developed to work out of the box and help non-technical staff get to grips with asset management, rather than to provide the most comprehensive toolkit possible. For high-end work on larger projects, we’d recommend getting in touch with our team to scope out a fuller asset management solution to support Editorial Management’s excellent introductory toolkit.

Why are you so excited about this?

We’ve spent a lot of time working with and installing the Interplay PAM, and are looking forward to seeing the Avid ecosystem’s asset management capabilities become available to customers that won’t have been able to take advantage of them before. A restructure is always exciting, and we can’t wait to discover what the look and feel of the new MediaCentral will be when it arrives later in 2018.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

3Play 3P1: Your early Christmas present from NewTek

3Play 3P1: Your early Christmas present from NewTek

NewTek have announced the new 3Play 3P1, their all-new video replay system that makes IP-based sports production a reality and “delivers a full IP workflow” thanks to integration with NewTek IP Series, TriCaster TC1, and NVG1 NewTek-Vizrt IP Graphics Server.

According to NewTek, the new 3Play 3P1 “gives sports producers or anyone needing replay capability the power to utilise any NDI source on the network for recording and replay, and conversely SDI sources connected to 3Play 3P1 are available as NDI sources anywhere. An equally significant option is LivePanel for 3Play 3P1, which give users control of 3Play 3P1 from any web browser, on any device, using any OS.”

newtek_3play_3p1

Key features include: 
– Support for NDI inputs in a six channel system.

– 4 video inputs

– 2 video outputs at up to 3G/1080p60 (ideal for streaming productions, like esports and egaming).

– Dual-channel “First replay” telestration.

– Draw over full motion NDI video background on any PC, tablet, or laptop with just a network connection.

– Transport controls for full replay control by talent.

– Synchronised continuous capture.

– Multi-channel recording.

– Built-in transitions.

– Internal layering.

– Social media publishing.

– Macro automation.

– UI language localisation.

– Control surface.

Availability and pricing
NewTek 3Play 3P1 is a 2RU rack-mountable unit. It’s due to ship in the new year, and is available to pre-order now for £17,895 ex VAT. International pricing may vary. LivePanel is sold separately. For more information, get in touch with our team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The view from the front: Avid User Group Cymru

The view from the front: Avid User Group Cymru

Last night we hosted the Avid User Group Cymru’s annual Christmas meet-up, featuring a Q&A with Avid specialist Øystein Riise Næss and news of workflow automation tool (and Avid Alliance Partner) ContentAgent from Owen Walker. 

First off, a huge thanks to everyone who made it – there was a real community atmosphere, and it was great to see people sharing resources they found useful with other local Avid users. (The popular ones, for those who didn’t get them down on the night, were Freddy’s Big List of Relevant Avid Links, the official Avid Blogs and the Avid Editors of Facebook group.)

Coming soon from Avid

oystein_augc

Key points that we kept coming back to during Øystein’s informative Q&A included the very welcome return of PhraseFind and ScriptSync, the imminent arrival of Media Composer | Editorial Management, which promises logging, rough cut and asset management capabilities for producers and loggers who don’t have a Media Composer licence. There was also a recap of the improvements Avid have made to the audio tools available on your timeline.

Avid are still in the process of redesigning their audio interface, and one of the best things about the Q&A was that our members got to lodge their requests directly with an Avid specialist in person (though if you have any more, send them in and I’m sure we can pass them on).

We also got an exclusive preview of the newly-remodelled title tool in Media Composer, which looks fantastic following its recent redesign, and the chance to try out some of Avid’s new hardware options, including their latest video over IP solutions.

avid_user_group_cymru_2

Want to know more about ContentAgent?

Workflow automation toolkit ContentAgent was a new find for a lot of our attendees, but there was a surge of interest following Owen’s presentation. If you had a question that wasn’t answered, we’d recommend taking a look at the ContentAgent overview here, or getting in touch on the details below if your query is more specific.

Next from Avid User Group Cymru…

It was great to get the gang back together, and we hope to host more meet-ups in the very near future so that our local Avid user community can stay in touch. With that in mind, we’d really appreciate it if you could take this quick, five question survey to let us know what you’d like to see, and which Avid partners you’d like to hear from next time. Similarly, if there are any websites of platforms where you’d particularly like to see the AUGC make an appearance (Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack), let us know in the comments.

If you want to know more about Avid workflows or ContentAgent, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.