Anas Hantash

"This was a real partnership, and I pay tribute to the efforts of the team at du, who worked with us to meet the challenges set by ADM. It's fair to say that both ADM and du were looking to Imagine to demonstrate that we could make premium broadcast playout and multiplatform delivery work in the cloud. That we are now seen as a major partner by du is a testament to the success of this project."

Anas Hantash
Director of Sales-Middle East & North Africa,
Imagine Communications

Imagine Communications has implemented a business continuity playout site, with full premium-channel functionality for Abu Dhabi Media (ADM). The disaster recovery solution uses Imagine Communications' playout, automation, and other software products running on du's Media Cloud platform. In addition to providing ADM with a cost-efficient and fully functional disaster recovery facility, the cloud-based deployment has prompted the media company to revitalize its premises-based playout operations to match the performance and flexibility of the new cloud-based facilities.

The successful launch of the business continuity service in October 2016 was the result of an extended proof of concept phase, during which ADM continually challenged Imagine Communications and du to expand the functional scope of the project. The result was a cloud-native, secure facility that provides all of the functionality of ADM's primary, premises-based operations.

The current workflow is distributed across the two facilities. Schedules and schedule updates issued by Imagine Communications' Broadcast Master traffic system are communicated both to the existing ADC automation platform in Abu Dhabi and to the Versio playout software operating in the du data center in Dubai. Scheduled content that is not cached in the cloud is then called for by Versio, which prioritizes the upload to ensure its immediate needs and provide complete security.

Encouraged by the robust performance of the core cloud-based playout and media asset management functionality provided by Versio and Imagine's Nexio Motion MAM solution, respectively, ADM requested further functionality to mirror the complete capabilities of its premises-based operations. In particular, it needed the remote site to be capable of showing live programs, including news. The addition of the SelenioFlex Live encoder on the live feeds allowed the content to be streamed into the Versio engine, helping to ensure seamless playout of all content.

ADM worked with Imagine and du to fortify the remote facilities with graphics capabilities fully compatible with ADM's traditional facilities through the installation of Imagine Communications' ChannelBrand software. Now, all graphics templates generated over the past nine years can be called and populated by the schedule seamlessly. ADM and Imagine Communications have now entered into a service-level agreement to upgrade the existing facility to the new virtualized platform, running on HPE severs and systems, a preliminary step toward all-IP operations. ADM will work with Imagine to migrate the entire operation – currently supporting 14 channels – over the coming years.