NAB 2019 is just around the corner, and as every year, I want to take a step back to look at the big changes that took place in the industry and what are the hot trends we can expect to see at this year’s show.

1. The Digital World is Yearning for Defined Parameters

The community has realized that digital world has evolved so immensely that they need to start defining and putting parameters on it. The diversity of formats, tools, data types and metadata usage is creating major workflow challenges, and Hollywood is looking at new standards in an attempt to become consistent, interoperable and future-proof. I expect we’ll see a lot of discussions on what master files will look like, how asset identification will happen, what metadata needs to travel with digital assets and how final files will be archived in a way that is searchable and accessible.

2. The New Fast: NVMeTM

If I had to choose the two biggest challenges facing media production today it’s larger content and shorter deadlines. I think this is the first time that 8K is starting to become a genuine fear and a potential reality. It’s no surprise, as 4K is becoming a very viable prosumer technology. However, the current pipeline can’t handle this type of data. Many studios can’t even play content back on an 8K monitor because you need a combination of very advanced infrastructure to even create those pixels, a fast storage medium that can feed that type of data, and network to push that data through. Everyone is looking at NVMe, and NVMe-over-Fabrics, to understand where they can leverage its incredible speeds and multi-lane approach to help them push data faster and push delivery times.

3. AI — from Fantasy to Practical Applications

AI. AI. This has been a buzz word for quite some time, but we are finally moving away from fantasy discussions about what AI is to looking at how it can affect different aspects of the workflow. Predominantly, studios are trying to figure out how to use AI to monetize content, improve quality control, automate metadata and other processes in the production chain. It’s about practical applications to help them be more efficient in managing the data deluge and meeting shorter deadlines. If you want to see a great example, we’ll be showing a demo of one such application in our booth.

4. Abstraction is on the Rise

Over the last year we’ve been seeing a rise of the players working on abstraction – the ability to separate content from the metadata and seamlessly work across different storage mediums, platforms and locations from a single pane. We will see a lot of different approaches to that bring in smart automation of processes and leverage some of the new standardization efforts.

In my next blog, I’ll write about abstraction and why it’s the next big thing to influence media & entertainment workflows. Be sure to subscribe to be notified.

5. The Marketplace Goldrush

The goldrush of streaming services has not seen its end. There are more marketplaces and more places to consume content than ever before, and there’s more content being produced than we’ve ever seen. The abundance of content and its distribution models bring together all the questions raised above – how can studios create content faster and shorten the cycle from funding to distribution, how can they better monetize content across different platforms and how can they efficiently automate their workflows to keep up with new pipelines, distribution and archive models.

Join us at NAB 2019

We build our systems, platforms and solutions with M&E workloads in mind. Join us in booth #SL4616 and see how we can help you design and build your next-generation infrastructure.

Learn more about how we power the M&E industry here.

Erik Weaver is the Global Director of Media and Entertainment Market Development at Western Digital specializing in cloud technologies.