Edge computing is one of the hottest concepts in technology today, but is it just another buzzword or does it offer a real potential to transform broadcasting in the years to come? PILOT, in partnership with PILOT member Verizon Media, engaged Kearney to help sort that out. We talked to more than a dozen NAB member companies across the broadcasting business to discover whether, how much and when we can expect edge to impact broadcasting. Spoiler alert: the answers are yes, a lot and pretty soon.
But first, what is edge?
“When applied to broadcasting, edge is defined as data and compute processing at the tail end of a broadcaster’s IP-based networks, including next- generation terrestrial and digital, with processing on the devices themselves for select applications.”
And what are these select applications? Our research yielded more than two dozen use cases that are ripe for transformation by edge. The use cases span all parts of the broadcasting business – from creating content to distributing it to measuring it. It unlocks new revenue-making opportunities such as increasingly personalized and targeted advertising and content. It helps reduce costs by enabling remote-control production environments and streamlining workflows.
Notably, these applications are not unique to television or radio broadcasting – both halves of our industry have a lot to gain by leveraging edge. Our research showed that while awareness and planning around edge is a little bit further along in television than radio, radio is further along than some might expect. Some of the features unlocked by edge may actually find even more rapid adoption as radio broadcasters look to augment their terrestrial feeds with personalized digital offerings.
In the coming years, we can expect broadcasters to work collaboratively with each other and with partners outside of the broadcast industry to find new ways to compete in the increasingly competitive market for viewers and listeners. Through edge, broadcasters will unlock new revenue streams and boost profitability while better understanding, measuring and engaging with audiences.