Ron Clifton


[ 00:00:19 ] Tata Communications is one of the world’s largest companies it’s a $140 billion dollar operation roughly they own about 100 different companies in their in their group. They own a Range Rover and Tetley tea steel companies. And one of the largest companies is that communications. I’m part of the media and entertainment services group which focuses on media and entertainment applications such as Formula 1 motor GP cloud services for major broadcasters. So tatic communications owns either directly or through a consortium about 40 percent of the world’s fiber optic networks undersea cables and on top of that we’ve built in about 25 percent of the global Internet runs on top of that infrastructure. We have about 60 data centers around the world which gives us a global presence on top of that the media and entertainment services group has built services cloud services and connectivity specifically for broadcasters and media and entertainment applications. So for example we have 150 hotspots around the world where we can ingest live broadcast video such as Formula One and we can come out of any one of the other 149 locations and we’re located with major broadcasters along with the major tipping points like BT tower like having Americas like one Wilcher. So we have this connectivity global connectivity. Once we get that content congested then we can do a number of things with it. Ill just deliver it or we can start offering a number of cloud based services that are helping our clients reduce their operating costs move from the capital equipment to cap ex cash intensive model to an on off premises operating expense model. They can also adjust to paper view type of models where they have on demand and flexibility instead of taking a whole one year contract something like Formula 1 is a one week. Something like FIFA World Cup and be a two month activity so its occasional use as well as full time. Why did you get all this credit for this. Amazon and Microsoft Netflix were all customers of ours. They write on our data centers. We are a tier 1 ISP. We are in about 400 different companies countries and we have all made espies.

[ 00:02:45 ] Talk to us are connected all of them as file based.

[ 00:02:58 ] And what if youve got a file and you can inject it into the cloud and then you can pull it out when you want where you want and we interface with the sparen segment and other Those are called File accelerations. So you’ve got a taping or recording of an event. We’ve got his live event as it’s happening we’re bringing back the alternative in the past with satellite satellite has limited bandwidth in our case for bringing back my fiber optics and delivering it over a global network. That’s a game changer.

[ 00:03:31 ] Well like Vice Media as one of our clients you know Vice Media there right here in Brooklyn. So they’re an example where they were gathering so much content they’re absolutely incredible guys go all over the world they bring back their content they shot everything the editors are trying to pull all together. And you saw that in the cloud and it becomes very fair a fair amount of data but bringing it out is also expensive so it’s a game changer. We have something called media centric storage where you do pay for the story but you don’t pay for the ins and outs. That’s a game changer. So in their case they have operations in London and here in Brooklyn and they haven’t spread out through North America. We’ve spread that content around we start like that. We give them access one groups working on the other can pick it up the next time zone. That’s a game changer as an example. Once you have that content there not for them but for others you can all you can do a full broadcast play out in the cloud today. And when you have that kind of global connectivity you can guarantee performance you get diverse fiber networks if one cable gets cut in the odd million likely event in the Atlantic we’ve got a second one running there and in fact got both of those we go all way around the Pacific and come back. So it’s that’s the kind of network applications that we’re able to analyze now. Amazon gets all the kudos they created that market you know in 2008 when everything went to hell in a handbasket. People didn’t have cash so they use Amazon with all this capacity.

[ 00:05:02 ] Right. Christmas everybody is ordering in January and February their servers are laying idle So somebody thought up smart let’s offer this cloud services. They’re the leader in what they’ve done and they’ve got a good public public cloud service that they are offering with a lot of flexibility. We went the other way. We in our case we know that broadcasters and media companies are very risk averse. They want guaranteed performance. They want to be able to call somebody on the other end of the phone all of a sudden I’ve got a problem on the video channel what’s going on. Pick up the phone and you’re talking to somebody who’s been monitoring it or has a reroute or has the ability to answer the question. That’s a differentiator. Now the differentiator is when you start building these and Tier 3 data centers we do three data center means you meet a certain cybersecurity criteria and not only the ISO twenty seven years or one which is a auditable standard that has certain standards around physical security access network and all the rest of it but also things like the Motion Picture Association of America has a set of cyber security requirements now as well. So there’s an upscale Shrem zone you build your own infrastructure you build what you want to do and you build up your support team or you take a private cloud solution which is very specific to media with backup 24/7 monitoring and control. Now you have something as focused and more dependable more reliable. So in addition to storage we also have completely how. We can ingest content in files like a sparrow in addition to the live in storage kind of solution. We also have complete play out service in the cloud so we can ingest content and file based content that’s pretty prerecorded with somebody like aspera we use file Catulus as well in Sydney and others in jest. So that goes into the play of automation system. We also because we have this high quality network you can ingest linear live content. Mix the two through an automation come back out in whatever format you want including old T.T. for a SDI directly into somebody like sling for example that over their network they’re on that with us. So that kind of automation has a service play out as a service. You can build up channels and eat them and tear them down. So that’s a differentiator. You know Kieta this is going with standards of basic file standards and basic broadcast quality and that’s sort of fundamental to the operation. You’ve got to do that all right but if you go to open standards in general for example in the storage arena you have a choice. If you go to cloud storage in general Amazon has three sets a standard and that’s about 50 percent of the market. The other one is called open stacks swift. That’s the model we use which is scalable and is open and allows you to do all kinds of other things around security and the rest of it. But with this approach here for example we do automatic replication. You don’t see it in store with us and it’s either stored in a complete secure area and the same data center or in a different region. When you do that you can offer 11 nines. That’s ninety nine point nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nines after that to 90 percent of your ability. That means one chance and whatever billions that is that we will lose your content if you’re on a network you’ve got ninety nine point nine five bêl ability which means it’s there immediately when you want it. So we don’t lose it etc.. When you write that into a service level agreement which broadcasters are used you now you have a contract and that’s backed up with with back up diversity systems and redundancy and all the rest of it. So that’s how you deal with those kinds of things.

[ 00:08:52 ] One of the joys of my job is you know I bet and ex-CEO I’ve run for companies but I found I was half CTO half C out and about 10 years ago I said I want to be an engineer again this is the dream job. I mean I’ve got customers are leading edge digital cinema broadcasters you name it special events type stuff. And basically it’s helping them understand that there’s a solution for them how to build a risk averse approach to that risk mitigation system to give them a path from where they are today to what they want eventually and to think outside the box sometimes. So we’ve got the tool box and one of the reasons I joined the group at that time was because they have the tool box and now I can work with end users and help them with with solutions. When we first when I first started out in broadcast was in satellite and I remember in the early days one of my first bosses saying hey never forget content is king. The guy owns the content and owns rights. That’s the King. Nobody cares about your distribution platform until it doesn’t work. OK and so that’s a critical value when you’re thinking about what we do. We don’t own content rights mantras have content. Formula One may own the rights we provide the distribution system and we have to have extremely high reliability. We can’t lose a minute of that kind of rebroadcast So it’s we’ve got teams on the ground we offer that web services and we have to provide redundant paths to make sure there’s absolutely nothing is going to go wrong over that one week of set up and and distribution. So that’s that’s the joy of what we’re doing. Well that’s Netflix right. They went a different route. They were distribution CD’s then put it on down. Now they’re making their own content. And so that’s good. Is it sustainable without an advertising model in the long run. Nobody knows their margins are low. Is that sustainable in the long run. We’ll see. I mean they’re making up on volume. But on the other hand it’s a fight they’re looking for market share. So by making their own content very appealing content they’re drawing maybe from their competitors and in the long run of the market you know this number one and number two a Coca-Cola and a Pepsi and what’s the third one Dr. Pepper. Anybody remember the third one is whatever. So that’s going to happen in this industry and we’re still in the early days I mean Netflix is what five 10 years old and you’ll see this all evolve. We’re not we’re infrastructure. We provide the network to deliver the content. We’ve been building value added services on top of that as a differentiator so that you don’t have to if you’re if you’re a Netflix or in their customers of ours by the way. But if you’re somebody like that and you have content you’re trying to get the ear to hear customers. You need infrastructure or you’re going in vesting on premises equipment or you’re going to invest in cloud services so you can change them later adapt as you need to go. And when I first started this there was a mix of satellite and terrestrial. Now it’s more terrestrial satellite as a backup. And then people were wild for going to the cloud let’s keep our primary broadcast on premises and we’ll keep cloud as a backup. Now people are saying wait a minute why don’t I just that in there why do I even bring it back and forth. I’ll leave some in on premises stuff as a backup or have two diverse systems. And as long as I got the right kind of high speed latency type networks low latency networks and I can guarantee performance within That’s how a service level agreement then you’ve got a solution that people can live with and it’s it’s adjustable It varies with time can be changed.

[ 00:12:41 ] I don’t know just from the run right after making the call.

[ 00:12:44 ] Sounds like you guys are doing real well just look at the tagline on my web site.

[ 00:12:54 ] You know it’s you know vision without execution is a dream and execution without vision is a nightmare and you really have to carefully plan these networks out and think them through and make sure that you follow up with with a solution that works. And to me that’s critical when you are leading edge like we are you know pushing new technologies into older applications taking legacy broadcasters and media companies into a new realm. You really got to hold your hand a little bit make sure it works on and off carefully.

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Backstage Conversation Season: 2017