The Centurylink Technology Solutions Blog - Trends in IT Infrastructure

Media organizations must embrace a mobility mash-up

CloudIcon_Larger.jpgConsider: 5.1 billion people on the planet own a mobile phone - only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.


In today's media organizations, user experience is almost as important as the content itself. Compelling content means nothing if the user experience is poor, and the 'it just works' expectation set by the likes of Facebook and Google means content must be delivered in the right way more now than ever before.

Five seconds or less is the time a mobile phone user will wait for a page to load, according to Equation Research, yet 77 percent of top companies' mobile sites exceed this limit.


The first objective of any modern media strategy should be to mobilize existing content, preferably through dedicated mobile applications rather than via a browser. A shrink-to-fit approach to smaller screens just isn't sufficient to grab and hold consumers' attention.


The foundation for any multiplatform strategy must do two things:


1) Meet peaks in demand through cloud enablement

2) Meet customers' performance expectations through application performance management.


Cloud's elasticity makes it the obvious choice for a multiplatform foundation. The media industry is actually ahead of the curve on cloud adoption; many content providers already have a private cloud behind their organizational firewall. Others adopt a "rent first, buy as a last resort" approach to compute resource and have well-established arrangements with third-party infrastructure providers.


A hybrid approach offers the best of both. A hybrid cloud allows organizations to obtain extra capacity from the public side during spikes in demand, while keeping mission-critical services and data within the organization's private cloud.


Using this method, organisations can build agility and controllability into their back-end IT without the huge demands on capital expenditure.


The media industry has an appetite like few others for storage, processing, analytics and management resources. Publishers, media buyers and search providers rely on clicks for a consistent, global measure of value in their activities. This is growing the volume of data for analysis -- especially as the value of media assets change rapidly over time.


The cloud not only offers the compute and storage resources that media companies need to deliver content. It also helps organizations analyze massive amounts of data for insights into user behavior and advertising space.


As traditional media revenue models falter, there is a tendency for some organizations to perceive consumers - with their expectations for free content and file sharing -- as the enemy.


However, the real threat for content providers is growing complexity. Consumers are no longer prepared to fit their lives around linear broadcast schedules or someone else's business model. Social networking has made complex, adaptive demand for media an everyday phenomenon.


The cloud, without doubt, offers the best single platform available for exchanging and evolving media with multiple audiences, using multiple devices in multiple contexts under multiple business models. With great potential to shape the future of the industry, cloud offers exciting opportunities for content providers and broadcasters to transact in real-time with their audience, socially or commercially.


Consider cloud your digital assembly line for delivering large-scale customization of media and advertising services to those in charge -- the consumers. A cloud-enabled media strategy is not just a matter of having the right infrastructure -- it's about delivering the right tools, the right controls and the right user experience.


Andrew McCreath is cloud director, EMEA, for Savvis, a CenturyLink company.

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