Guest post by Eva Rio, Product Support Manager at Tuxera Inc.
Mobile devices and wearables have stolen the thunder from large video production companies to give the power of media production to the end-users. We are witnessing an era of data explosion and constant changes in the way content is produced, stored, managed and consumed by users.
For example, Cisco assures that Content Delivery Networks (CDN) will carry nearly two-thirds of Internet traffic by 2019 (The Zettabyte Era: Trends and Analysis, Cisco 2015), driven by cloud-based personal storage and sharing sites, in addition to both copyrighted and user-generated content use. Thus, the future of video entertainment is no longer tied to “Hollywood” and not even to new comers like Netflix. The future of video content is, literally, in the hands of the users.
The Fragmentation Paradigm: Managing and accessing content everywhere
The amount of content users create and have access to online is exponentially increasing. In addition to people’s personal content (music, photos, videos, documents, and many other data), the rise in popularity of applications such as Periscope, Snapchat or Instagram contribute to a massive content generation, making it hard for users to discover, manage and consume their media. Organizing, managing and accessing all these content is one of the main challenges that the next generation of content services are facing.
Along with this content revolution come technical challenges that will pose difficulties for content management. Content created by so-called “social apps”, like Snapchat or Instagram, is stored in various formats, across different online services. Therefore, the way content is stored is moving from a central place (the device’s file system) to multiple cloud servers from different social media providers, which also brings another level of storage fragmentation.
In addition to this, different content creation tools from different providers bring another fragmentation problem: content storage formats. Say goodbye to landscape videos and static photos. Enter the world of portrait videos and animated photos, multiple encoding formats, non-standard resolutions and overlays of emoticons, handwritten text and stickers.
To counter such fragmentation, Tuxera provides software components that enable devices to share data between each other, regardless of the underlying hardware, operating system or applications. From smartphones to cars, routers, TVs, set-top boxes and virtually every device that can store data, Tuxera AllConnect enables devices to talk to each other; to share content with any other type of device without the need of converting or copying the content somewhere else.
Another challenge in the next generation of content services is the existence of millions of devices and systems used to consume the content. User content and data are stored in different devices and services, the array of available protocols for content sharing makes it even more difficult to design a familiar and consistent user experience across different operating systems and platforms, multiple browsers, screen sizes, and devices with different interaction methods. Constantly pulling and pushing media content to remote services is extremely challenging for the underlying technologies. Latency, bandwidth optimization, and encoding/decoding models also affect the overall experience when consuming content across devices.
Without a clear framework for the collection and storage of information, privacy is one of the areas to watch out for when building the next generation of content services. Users are becoming more and more suspicious and distrustful of services without transparent data collection policies, and lose trust in companies when their privacy is handled poorly. The use of massive user clouds like Google, Amazon or iCloud introduce a question mark about user data privacy, specially because the vast majority of content produced and stored in such clouds are typically personal photos and videos with sensitive information, from people who have never read their service level agreement (SLA) on how their data can and will be used.
However, not all users share the same level of sensitivity towards their information, and even an individual user will have a different level of sensibility depending on the type of information that is tracked and collected. Building a platform that truly protects people’s content and avoids exposing such content to big cloud providers at the mercy of infinitely-long-to-read SLAs will be the next key player in the media industry, specially for the majority of content, which is not created by the industry but by the users.
These challenges present a huge opportunity for the next generation of media and content services in many levels, specially for those providing software platforms to support and secure user-generated content. In 2016, we expect user-generated content to continue growing, and a proliferation of services for aggregation and management of both personal and premium content. We need storage software and network protocols capable of managing all user content and move it from one device to another, from one service to another, making it always available.
Being able to protect users’ privacy will be a key value proposition for future content services. Users will be able to build their own private cloud of devices and avoid sharing sensitive content with big platform providers, using a safe network of devices where they can control what is shared, how and with whom.
The array of solutions provided by Tuxera are fundamental for content service providers to ensure that all the user content creation, management and distribution will work at every service level: data storage, hardware- and software-independent network delivery, and content privacy through a trusted network of devices.