Imagine Communications’ Aviator Orchestrator platform for multi-site playout combines capabilities for managing and maintaining redundant channel configurations. It keeps multiple linear playout systems in sync, and manages the signal flow of live sources. It also allows operators to bring on-premises and cloud environments together under a common deployment platform, managing the resources and relationships between channels and live streams coherently.
The Aviator Orchestrator platform applies Imagine’s on-premises playout and automation to its public cloud platform, the Imagine Aviator Plan, Make and Monetise. It incorporates capabilities to deploy, manage and connect Amagi’s CLOUDPORT playout engine and THUNDERSTORM dynamic ad insertion platform – both of which are delivered from the cloud as a service and include the ability to reach OTT and connected TV (CTV) endpoints.
The resulting range of functionality helps to manage the complexity of broadcast workflows and migration to the cloud, even as the viewing habits of consumers change over time. The partnership with Amagi brings with it support for Google Cloud, along with AWS cloud platforms, further extending the reach of the combined system.
“Many of our customers operate linear channels and live linear delivery systems in multiple locations in their country and around the globe,” said Brendon Mills, general manager of Playout and Networking at Imagine Communications. “Furthermore, working with Amagi creates options that expand what is possible with a combined cloud and on-prem system.
“For instance, operators can manage and play out broadcast or OTT channels over IP, satellite and FAST OTT platforms, and send different content and ads based on particular distribution requirements. All of the media ingest, content management, scheduling, playout, caption support, graphics insertion and monitoring are accessed remotely through a web-based user interface.
“With Aviator Orchestrator, such operators now have more effective ways to keep their multi-site systems in sync and ensure they can support the desired channel breadth and reach, with redundancy and disaster recovery strategies, that make operational and financial sense.
“A growing number of customers are using or planning to make use of cloud resources creates added complications both logically and operationally. Aviator Orchestrator provides a much-needed rethink of what it means to establish, use, and maintain these systems.”
Aviator Orchestrator makes it possible to deploy new channels and associated resources such as content, live feeds and routing, as well as set up the needed redundancy and disaster recovery relationships between channels within a physical location, between multiple physical locations, and with resources in the public cloud. The fact that channels are in two or more on-premises locations, two or more cloud regions, or a combination, is no longer a barrier. Aviator Orchestrator makes it possible to maintain synchronisation and make changes to live streams, content and channels as needs change over time.
Rolling out during 2023, the Aviator Orchestrator suite of products works in conjunction with Imagine Magellan Connect, which uses low-latency encoding and secure delivery techniques to enable ground-to-cloud routing control. On-prem sources such as SDI, SMPTE ST 2110 and MPEG-2 transport streams can be routed within a single facility, between multiple on-prem facilities, and from on-prem to the public cloud — all under an integrated routing control environment.
Content destined for the cloud can be encoded for contribution using H.264 and/or JPEG XS and securely delivered using SRT, managed through Magellan Connect. Once in the cloud, sources can be routed to their target destinations, allowing a single source to be shared by many destinations simultaneously.
Aviator Orchestrator reduces the time and effort required to deploy channels by using a template architecture, ensuring consistency when deploying the same types of resources. This approach limits the need for per-instance configuration, reducing the chance of errors. Templates are managed centrally, versions tracked, and active and standby resources clearly visible to administrators. Rolling out new software versions, supporting rollbacks, and managing occasional use and 24/7 resources are made easy.
The Aviator Orchestrator platform supports functionality required to synchronise playout channels, featuring live inputs, clip playout, graphic branding, SCTE decoration, scheduled playout and master control integration. It enables disaster recovery and business continuity, based on redundant channels to be kept in sync regardless of the redundancy strategy applied or the physical channel locations. Synchronisation is essential for migration of content to needed storage locations, updates to playlists, metadata changes and channel status.
Logical and Real Channels
Under Aviator Orchestrator control, a logical channel is created that can have multiple simultaneously synchronised associated real channels and can pull from a pool of available channel engines to back up a primary on-air channel as needed. Aviator Orchestrator makes sure that all content (clips, audio, graphics, captions, and other assets), all data (content metadata and dynamic operational changes to that data), and playlist status (playlists, event status and timing) are in sync.
Aviator Orchestrator works in conjunction with both Imagine’s and partners’ on-premises and cloud routing control and playout systems, including the interfacing to channel automation. The underlying complexity is managed, keeping the operational focus on what is needed to maintain smooth operation and on-air stability. Under normal operating conditions, users see resources and logical channels deployed and managed by Aviator Orchestrator. Operators can drill down to the underlying real channels and manage at that level if needed for situational recovery. These real channel instances can be geographically distributed and deployed on-premises or in the cloud.
Brendon Mills said, “Imagine recognises that media and entertainment businesses are taking many different approaches and routes to reach their consumers. This includes their adoption of the cloud, now or in the future, and how they want to manage and evolve their redundancy and disaster recovery strategies. With the launch of Aviator Orchestrator, we make it possible to achieve those goals in your own way and at your own pace, as well as to change and fine-tune those decisions over time.”
Imagine is showing Aviator Orchestrator and other on-prem and cloud management capabilities at the 2023 NAB Show,16-19 April, Las Vegas Convention Centre. www.imaginecommunications.com