IBC 2017: Avid leads the media industry forward with new cloud solutions

IBC 2017: Avid leads the media industry forward with new cloud solutions

New Avid cloud offerings and certified solutions for Azure deliver on Avid’s promise to help media professionals navigate the media cloud era with unprecedented workflow efficiency and flexibility.

Avid a leading global media technology provider for the creation, distribution, and monetisation of media assets for global media organisations, enterprise users, and individual creative professionals, today announced new cloud offerings and new solutions certified to run on Microsoft Azure that will enable media production organisations and professionals to work with greater efficiency and collaboration, and prepare them for the future of the media cloud era.

“At NAB 2017, we unveiled our vision for bringing Avid into the cloud along with a comprehensive partnership with Microsoft as our preferred cloud provider,” said Dana Ruzicka, Vice President and Chief Product Officer, Avid. “Since then, the reaction from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive. This really is the beginning of the cloud era for our industry. We’re excited to help our clients successfully navigate their own journey to the cloud, with the first of many new cloud offerings from Avid launching today at IBC. Whether customers choose to deploy in the data center or the public cloud, Avid’s unique platform approach delivers unparalleled workflow efficiency and flexibility across the entire spectrum of media production.”

Avid’s new cloud-based apps and service offerings announced at IBC 2017 include:

MediaCentral | Cloud UX For teams of two to teams of thousands, the completely redesigned MediaCentral | Cloud UX (user experience) is an easy-to-use and task-oriented graphical user interface that runs on virtually any operating system or mobile device, and is available to everyone connected to the platform. Team members can easily collaborate with each other from wherever they are—in the same building, across town, or even on a different continent.

MediaCentral | Panel for Media Composer Provides an integrated MediaCentral | Cloud UX panel within the Media Composer user interface, enabling users to drag and drop content from MediaCentral directly into any Media Composer project, bin, or sequence.

Media Composer | Cloud VM Enables anyone in a facility to access Media Composer software virtually using a lightweight workstation, laptop, or tablet with a high-speed network connection. Media Composer | Cloud VM provides the full Media Composer editing experience to multiple clients from a single server on premises.

Media Composer | Cloud Remote Enables users running Media Composer on their workstation or laptop to mix local and remote content in the same timeline—no matter where they are located. Media Composer | Cloud Remote provides users the best of both worlds—access to browse and stream any content from MediaCentral into Media Composer, as well as access to media that is stored locally. Local content can be automatically uploaded to MediaCentral in the background so publishing the finished program is virtually instantaneous.

Sibelius | Cloud Sharing A groundbreaking service that enables composers to share music scores to their own personal cloud space, embed scores in a webpage, and invite anyone to flip through pages and play compositions using any computer, laptop, or mobile device. Sibelius | Cloud Sharing is ideal for previewing and reviewing musical works in the studio, in the classroom, or on a stage.

Following on the historic partnership announcement earlier in 2017, Avid and Microsoft are showcasing a series of tangible, valuable results by making the industry’s most open, tightly integrated platform for media available in the cloud with flexible licensing and deployment options:

MediaCentral Archive for Azure Now certified to run on Microsoft Azure, the MediaCentral-based media asset management system can be configured to deliver cloud based archive for news and post-production teams, managing the entire content lifecycle, with easy asset browsing and retrieval across multiple tiers of storage for reuse or repurposing.

MediaCentral Newsroom for Azure Now certified to run on Microsoft Azure, the MediaCentral-based newsroom system can be configured to deliver complete story creation and rundown management in the cloud for news teams, providing improved workflow efficiency and speed to break news across multiple broadcast and digital outlets.

Avid Cloud Collaboration for Pro Tools, Pro Tools | HD, and Pro Tools | First This innovative cloud-powered service enables artists to easily share tracks and work on projects with anyone, anywhere—and is now offered as an as-a-service offering hosted on Microsoft Azure.

Avid is demonstrating integrated Microsoft Cognitive Services at IBC 2017 (Hall 7, Booth #J20) that apply the latest machine-learning algorithms to content libraries, automatically indexing content to extract streams of time-based metadata. This integration allows for highly complex searches to be executed in seconds, enabling faster content discovery for any MediaCentral user.

How does Office for Mac 2016 measure up?

How does Office for Mac 2016 measure up?

While we have nothing but love in our hearts for iWork, we realise that some organisations are always going to want everyone to be working on Office. This makes sense – it sidesteps any compatibility issues and no one has to remember to export to the right file type before sending something to a colleague – but it’s also sent a ripple of fear through many an office. Will Outlook work on a Mac? Are you about to lose all your spreadsheets? Are the Mac versions of these things actually any good? With Office for Mac 2016 the answer, thankfully, is yes. 

Getting the ‘Mac feel’ right

The latest version of Office for Mac is notable for having been redesigned to be more in line with Office for iPad and its Windows counterpart, meaning navigating apps and using the Ribbon menu is a virtually identical experience on all platforms – perfect if you’re moving from PC to Mac and need a shallow learning curve. Word and PowerPoint also support Mac and Windows keyboard shortcuts for common actions like saving, so you can rely on muscle memory for those tasks.

However, this iteration of Office also supports gesture controls like pinch to zoom, meaning it feels much more natural to navigate through apps using your Mac’s trackpad. The unpopular Toolkit floating pane has been replaced by a fixed menu that feels much more in line with the UI of existing Apple applications and, most importantly as far as we’re concerned, replaces Word for Mac’s clunky Inspector with an intuitive Style pane. There’s also support for Retina resolution displays, so you won’t have to put up with icons seeming impossibly tiny.

Version parity: do you still have all your favourite PC tools?

So do the Mac versions of Office apps have all the functionality of their PC counterparts? The honest answer is “almost”. Outlook in particular has come on in leaps and bounds in recent updates, and now includes flourishes such as being able to propose a new time when declining a meeting, smarter email threading and the ability to add different signatures to different kinds of new message (this was previously only possible when replying to an existing thread). It still doesn’t have Outlook for PC’s Ignore feature for muting threads you’d rather be copied out of, but we find throwing things across the office once we lose patience with an unrepentant cc’er works just as well.

Perhaps most interesting is Excel for Mac, which assumes that a casual spreadsheetist will be happy in Apple’s more basic Numbers application, so has focused on providing high-end tools for power users. These include: support for Analysis ToolPak and Solver add-ons; an improved formula builder and equation editor (online consensus is that it’s actually easier to find the components you’re looking for in Excel for Mac than it is Numbers); and support for features that were missing from the 2011 version, like PivotTable Slicers.

There’s also a handy feature that recommends the best kind of chart or PivotTable to display the data you’re currently working on, and autocomplete has gotten far cleverer.

PowerPoint is also greatly improved, having finally worked out how to handle media smoothly. It offers a 3D View that shows you an exploded diagram of each slide’s elements, so you can reorder them more easily. It’s also got 23 new (and less crushingly clinical) design templates.

By far everyone’s favourite feature, though, is the addition of a great honking ‘Switch Displays button’ that means you’re not going to accidentally show everyone your desktop while presenting.

Collaborative tools

One downside, especially given how good the Office for iPad app suite is, is that iCloud and Handoff aren’t supported. However, these are replaced by Microsoft’s own OneDrive cloud storage service, which supports online collaboration between users too, so cross-platform collaborators won’t miss out entirely.

Threaded comments in Word and PowerPoint mean that you can easily track who made which changes, and if you save a document to OneDrive, you can invite other Mac, PC or iOS users to edit, annotate and contribute. Changes are only displayed once everyone contributing has saved the document, so you don’t have to watch someone type sentences, change their minds and try again in realtime. However, be sure to turn on Track Changes, as otherwise none of the changes will be associated with a particular user’s name.

OneNote

This new addition to the Office for Mac suite is a highly regarded standalone note-taking app. The key thing to note in Office for Mac 2016 is that it has inherited the record-audio-while-you-take-notes feature that used to reside in Word. Fortunately, it’s made the move intact, and you can still click on text to hear what you were recording when you typed it, which is excellent if you want to settle an argument about your meeting notes.

Want to know more about Office for Mac? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Video: Office for Mac 2011 Home and Business in action

Video: Office for Mac 2011 Home and Business in action

In this video, Microsoft run down some of the great features in Microsoft Office for Mac 2011: Home and Business. Create easier to interpret spreadsheets in Excel, edits documents from multiple locations in realtime, preview slides and take notes in PowerPoint and then broadcast your presentation virtually to computers and phones if you can’t deliver it in person.

Want to find out more? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com.

Microsoft Office for Mac

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