VINOD KRISHNAN, HEAD OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, AWS ON LOCAL DATA CENTRES
With the recent announcement by Amazon Web Services on the opening of three new data centres in the UAE, the region’s digital transformation is set up for growth. Vinod Krishnan, Head of Middle East and North Africa, AWS elucidates how local broadcasters can benefit and adapt to a bright future enabled by cloud computing
Media and entertainment customers face industrywide transformation, with companies reinventing how they create content, optimise media supply chains, compete for audience attention across streaming, broadcast, or direct-to-consumer platforms. With the flexibility, scalability and resiliency of the cloud; media and entertainment organisations can offer new services to end users quickly, implement and experiment with new features easily on a global scale, reaching more customers than ever before.
Viewers today are making their decisions based on features, quality, reliability, personalisation, and the ability to watch what they want, where they want, whenever they want. This is the expectation and companies who do well in this space will be the ones who give their viewers that best experience. Industry leaders such as Netflix, FORMULA 1, Discovery, and Disney use the cloud to pioneer new ways to entertain — launching new streaming services, expanding their content catalogs, and setting new standards with audiences for viewing experiences. In the Middle East, these companies include Anghami, MBC Group, OSN, and STARZPLAY who have been building on AWS to innovate, scale, and deliver the performance needed for the best end-user experience.
AWS offers nine AWS Services, eleven AWS Solutions, dedicated AWS appliances, and more than 400 AWS Partners — against five solution areas to help M&E customers transform: content production; media supply chain and archive; broadcast; directto-consumer and streaming; data science and analytics.
Cloud technology has helped MBC Group speed up innovation and rapidly expand into a wider range of scalable and reliable digital services, including SHAHID.net, MBC.net, and GOBOZ, MBC’s Video on Demand service for kids. Anghami has grown today to over 70 million users, offering instant access to over 57 million songs and relies on our infrastructure to cope with its rapid, global growth.
EMBRACING CLOUD IN PRODUCTION
Having a cloud-based video infrastructure promises several advantages for the production and distribution of content:
Pay-as-you-go: AWS bills for services on a pay-as-you-go basis. Customers pay no upfront capital expenses and pay for only what they use, meaning they are not left with bills for unused capacity or overprovisioned systems.
Scale up or down: Cloud-based infrastructure can scale resources up or down automatically in line with demand, eliminating time spent provisioning resources and avoiding the need to guess capacity requirements, or over-provision infrastructure for peak viewership.
Build and adapt quickly: The cloud allows low-cost experimentation and the capability to provision and deploy new video services within minutes. In addition, AWS provides modular services, such as machine learning (ML) tools that allow for the quick introduction of new capabilities to the video workflow. Go global in minutes: The AWS Cloud can deploy resources like media storage, database services, video encoding, and media packaging, as well as content delivery network (CDN) distribution, anywhere in the AWS global footprint.
Focus on content: By using cloudbased video services, organisations can set aside the undifferentiated heavy lifting of acquiring and maintaining video infrastructure, instead focusing their personnel and financial resources on creating and delivering high-quality content and pioneering video services that delight their viewers.
Support new technologies: As new device types, video codecs, and streaming formats reach the mainstream, having a cloud-based video infrastructure keeps media organisations ahead of accelerating technology trends without investments in costly hardware replacements.
AWS has been investing and expanding its presence in the Middle East for many years. The new AWS Middle East Region in UAE, that will launch in the first half of 2022, will comprise of three Availability Zones (AZ). This is the second data center region in the Middle East with the existing AWS Region in Bahrain, giving customers more choice, lower latency, and flexibility to leverage advanced technologies from AWS. The upcoming data centres is a continuation of AWS’ investment in the UAE, which includes two Direct Connect locations and two Amazon CloudFront edge locations launched in 2018. The Middle East office was opened in 2017 and has been growing teams to directly engage with AWS. Having an AWS Region in the UAE means customers can run workloads locally and serve endusers across the region.