“As A Service” (“AAS”) continues to pop up across business – not only in tech but in every corner of industry. GE recently said they would start “boost as a service” to upgrade access to power on-demand for emergency scenarios. Tim Cook’s last shareholder update pointed to services as the core of Apple’s future. What’s going on here? Is it a meme or is something more fundamental and interesting happening?
Let’s break this down a bit. First, it’s a natural progression for workflows and processes in a supply chain to become more efficient over time. In the world of tech, this often takes the form of virtualization or abstraction. Common, replicable solutions emerge, removing friction and creating efficiencies. If automation can be applied to these emerging efficiencies this is the first step to “As A Service.” Automation is a cornerstone of “AAS.”
Once you apply automation to a process then access to that automation is a next critical step to AAS. In tech, digital supply chain processes are ideal for AAS. The efficiencies of are less evident in physical product supply chains: arguably many are simply lease or rentals applied to a physical element vs. true AAS models. But with virtual products, access to automated digital processes can be developed and distributed through Web Services. That access can be distributed to users at scale.
For the service provider, secure access and multi-tenancy become additional cornerstones to achieve a true AAS model. The more users that can access a pool of resources the more the cost and performance efficiencies can be established and maintained – assuming, of course, these resources are liquid and dynamic.
Resource scheduling and allocation – virtually and on-demand – are also important considerations. Virtualized (Cloud) services can be applied against those foundational resources that have already been automated over the years.
From Network to Storage to more specific tech like transcoding, DRM & specific device/format packaging, these foundational resources are ready for adoption in the AAS model.
Most of you are already familiar with these processes. You see it changing the way you manage sales functionalities at your company, the way you move money around, even the way you hail what you used to call a taxi.
Yet a critical value chain element that has eluded automation is user experience, or UX : what actually happens when people interact with their devices and the experiences they seek on them.
We’ve seen great strides in web experience platform automation in the OVP and CMS space and those are definitely foundational to the next phase where OTT experiences will likewise be automated. Like other web experiences before them, OTT experiences are ready for innovation and simplification for producers.
We have already seen a first wave of consumer content producers driving live experiences through consumer grade services. Periscope, Facebook Live, YouTube: the list goes on. This first wave has created the awareness and hunger of consumers for live experiences and connections. Yet it’s done it in the way we expect from first-gen experiences: platform-defined, with all of the limitations that implies.
The opportunity now is to re-imagine these experiences, and to scale and support them with new AAS processes for institutional users.
The final step to delivering a truly industrialized AAS platform is to make sure it can be operated, supported and improved programatically. The Operating System is ultimately where everything comes together and can be managed holistically.
This is the most difficult step, especially if any assets are stranded. In the world of OTT, most everything is stranded: cameras, access points, trucks, Network elements and players. The magic happens when everything works in a unified and federated work flow.
When the complex becomes frictionless across an ecosystem, then we can say we have achieved AAS. At AerNow, with the announcement of our proprietary operating system, CLOE, we’ve taken a big step toward a new, groundbreaking OTT experience.
Soon, video networks as a service will be the foundation of a new wave of immersive visual experiences that free content providers from legacy constraints and enable engagement that will shape the future of what we watch, anytime and anywhere.
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