11 Mar 2021

Earth-i delivers geospatial intelligence at scale with big data storage by BASE Media Cloud

Advances in earth observation satellite technology, big-data analytics and cloud computing are combining to position Earth Observation data as a pivotal source of business and organisational intelligence.

A world leader in the field is Earth-i. The UK-headquartered company uses AI and satellite remote sensing data to provide unique insights in support of strategic decision-making for governments and organisations in the commodity markets, precision-agriculture, construction, and transportation industries.

Our Earth Observation specialists and geo-spatial analysts use high revisit multi-resolution data to provide near real-time transparency of global supply chains by identifying changes in features, objects, and activity anywhere on the Earth’s surface,” explains Gary Crowley, Head of Technology, Earth-i. “The data is multiformat including colour video, infra-red and radar from a range of sources including satellite, aerial and drone and varies in size, volume, and frequency. Data storage and processing are mission-critical to our daily operations.”

With its image analysis and AI workloads in high demand, Earth-i needed a storage and processing solution that could flex and scale with its business.

Our legacy storage solution, which was an on-premises NAS with a cloud back-up service, no longer fitted with the way we operate,” explains Crowley. “It was costing us time and money in maintenance, support and licensing. We needed to consolidate and migrate data from our existing solution to the cloud for cost, speed and security reasons.”

BASE Media Cloud provided the full solution design, build, testing, data migration and ingest setup. An initial 30 Terabytes of large-scale image data were migrated from a variety of on-premises storage and other cloud storage providers to BASE Media Cloud using custom syncing workflows.

This enabled Earth-i to mount its cloud storage with BASE Media Cloud to both local and cloud-based workstations and use it like a local shared storage device.

Crowley says, “BASE Media Cloud made it easy to find the solution that best suited our business and our use cases and were on hand to guide us through every step of the process. They assessed our requirements and came back to us with more than one option which we trialled before making our final decision.”

Instead of having multiple data silos and multiple sites of hardware, BASE Media Cloud manage everything for Earth-i as a cloud service. Data replication, redundancy, up-time and support is all provided through BASE, saving Earth-i the overhead in hardware, hosting, electricity and headcount for support.

The key benefit of our new storage and processing solution is transparency to our operational workflows enabling us to continue to access data through the same processes as before. In addition, it is much more cost effective than before with low storage costs and no maintenance required from our side.

He adds, “Earth-i has made a significant transition to the cloud in preparation for upscaling our processes as our business grows, as we’ll be ready to support the vastly increasing amounts of commercial data available from new satellite constellations that are being launched”.

 

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05 Mar 2021

Powering Extreme E’s remote live production

A multi-cloud distribution platform from BASE Media Cloud and Veritone helps off-road racing series Extreme E store, manage and share assets with multiple global partners.

 Imagine a Red Bull air race on the ground. There are certain gates that teams need to pass through but how they get through them is them is down to the skill of male and female drivers on terrain that varies from desert to deforested jungle to deserted glacier.

That’s the premise of all electric rally-style Extreme E, the progressive FIA-backed

SUV racing series which launches next month.

With 30 percent of the planet’s CO2 emissions coming from transport, Extreme E exists to showcase the performance of electric vehicles, and to accelerate their adoption.

As such it needs to marry urgent environmental messaging with as lean a production footprint as possible.  That’s particularly challenging for a live broadcast given that the locations are remote and infrastructure-free.

“We want to shine the spotlight on the climate crisis that we’re facing all over the world through the lens of an adrenaline filled action sport,” explains Dave Adey, head of broadcast and technology for Extreme E. “We’re employing remote production with minimal production staff on site and no spectators at the track, so for us content and fast turnaround is imperative.”

There are four constituent elements to the Extreme E production designed by production partners Aurora Media Worldwide and North One. All race camera sources including drones and onboards are uplinked from a lightweight TV compound on site. Car telemetry is managed by Barcelona-based Al Kamel Systems with AR and VR overlays from NEP in The Netherlands. Everything is back hauled to the gallery in London for production of live coverage across each race weekend plus highlights shows, a 30-min race preview and 300 VOD films for digital.

Given the scale of production, Extreme E needed a system that would allow them to manage content, including the ability to upload from anywhere into a centralised secure storage location. They also needed to be able to manipulate, search, view and download content; and to give this functionality to its authorised media partners.

“We need to find any of the content instantly so the user interface needs to be intuitive and the metadata schema rich but precise,” Adey says. “Once you find the clip you want to be able to view it with a proxy version online. We then may want to manipulate that content or create clips or transcode to different file formats. The system we chose had to do all of this and more.”

Extreme E chose to use a sports multi-cloud Digital Media Hub (DMH) comprising a cloud-native storage and content distribution platform developed and managed by Base Media Cloud with Veritone’s AI-powered asset management system.

After transmission, all live programming and all the rest of the content including VT’s, highlights and digital is uploaded to the DMH for rights holder to search, view and use.

“The DMH provides a dual purpose: to make content easily available to rights holders; and provide a rich suite of assets that rights holders can use to enhance their own content,” explains Adey.

“A key benefit of a cloud-native solution is that the distribution of content is much more cost effective. I don’t have to put up a satellite feed to do a highlights program. Instead, we can create those programs in London, upload them into our content management system and make them immediately accessible via accelerated download for any of our rights owners and media partners around the world.

“It’s also really important that we have very high and very clear, environmental credentials which the multi-cloud sports media solution from Base Media Cloud and Veritone gives us.”

More than 70 broadcasters have bought rights to Extreme E including Discovery, Sky Sports, Fox Sports, BBC, ProSieben Maxx, Disney ESPN and TV Globo. The series launches in April in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and will continue in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Tierra del Fuego.

Read more here.

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04 Mar 2021

Red carpet service for EE BAFTAs

Formidable selected ChilliVault cloud storage and Digital Asset Management solution to deliver content from the EE BAFTAs at the speed of breaking news

In 2020, for the fifth year running, creative content agency Formidable produced video content at the EE British Academy Film Awards on behalf of the title partner EE for distribution to global press and editorial media, as well as social content for EE’s channels. Footage shot on the red carpet and backstage was edited immediately on site, while events were still happening, and required distribution with minimal turnaround time. Formidable produced almost 200 edits and clips over the course of the event and needed a platform that was able to hold this content, quickly generate previews, and allow access for self-serve distribution to hundreds of different users worldwide.

Solid, secure and fast

Time is of the essence when managing red carpet content from prestigious events like the EE BAFTAs. The world is watching to see how celebrities will look and sound. Social media activity around the event is extremely high but interest is at its peak during the event itself.

Is it is critical then for BAFTA, EE and other partner broadcasters, agencies and online content providers/publishers that they can share this premium content to viewers at the speed of breaking news.

“Content for the EE BAFTAs needs to be uploaded and available for preview and download on a central hub in as short a time as possible,” confirms Nik Selman, Managing Director at Formidable. “Also important to us is the ability for users to generate preview proxies of video and stills to further speed their turnaround times.”

The events covered by EE at the Royal Albert Hall included the Red Carpet, Winners’ Photo Area, and Winners’ Press Conference. Formidable were tasked with producing clips from those areas suitable for media to use as required, as well as packages appropriate for publishing directly online. News access highlights of the Ceremony was also made available.

 

Intuitive content management

Formidable selected the new ChilliVault with BASE Media Cloud platform, a unique cloud storage infrastructure and delivery portal with a front-end asset management application fully customisable for the client. This low cost Digital Asset Management service has been built in partnership with Veritone and IBM Cloud and provides an affordable entry-point to enterprise grade cloud services for creative agencies.

Prior to the event, BASE Media Cloud worked with Formidable to tailor the platform to their requirements. This included implementing custom metadata, branding and content categories.  The required library fields were placed within the upload form of the ChilliVault interface, with proxy generation automated in the background.

 

The platform itself was spun up on the day. After a series of checks to confirm file upload in accordance with the designated content categories and specifications like transcoding format, the system was reviewed by BAFTA and Formidable and ready to go.

“ChilliVault is easy to navigate and straightforward to use, making global distribution really quick and efficient,” says Selman. “On the night, uploading to the platform was as simple as choosing the relevant category and hitting upload. A lot of storage and delivery systems don’t add this level of proxy review so to be able to generate preview ready proxies and allow for download of both the preview and high-res media file within minutes was extremely valuable.”

The outcome

Thanks to BASE Media Cloud’s ChilliVault service, Formidable saw a significant increase in content downloads from the previous year’s event.

“The overriding benefit for us is the speed at which the platform can turn around content combined with its ease of use,” says Selman. “Working with an excellent platform like this is very reassuring for our team working under high pressure on a very busy night producing hundreds of individual video edits.”

He adds, “BASE even provided live support, with a dedicated Technical Account Executive at the event on the night to assist in platform use and to ensure the system ran smoothly. We experienced no hiccups at all.”

The solution has many options available to enrich future workflows.

Another option within ChilliVault is to take advantage of AI processing by Veritone aiWARE for example to automatically tag images with a facial recognition algorithm to enhance the ability of clients to rapidly find the content they need. AI in ChilliVault can also be used for logo recognition in order to provide brand measurement statistics such as how much exposure a particular brand receives from red carpet content.

Read more here about ChilliVault.

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