Please wait, authorizing ...

Don't have an account? Register here today.


The Multimedia Industry (Latest Installment)

There are a lot of independent multimedia industries, with their own ecosystems, but increasingly related. Multimedia information composed of video, sound, graphics, text and animation or any combination of two or more of them, is common to these vertical business systems.

Enterprise-wide computing

The phrase "enterprise-wide computing" refers to the transmission of a correlated set of information and computing services deployed throughout a large organization. If organizations are compared to biological organisms, the computer system is the nervous system and the main parts of the brain (memory, calculation, communications, etc.). The systematic aspects of this highly evolved environment dominate the design and philosophy of the products and services in this category.

Early centralized computing centers, which based their operation on a powerful mainframe, had to provide remote connections to provide data input and output capabilities from strategically distributed business points. To act as the nervous system of the organization it was necessary for information to flow to, and from, the limbs and major organs. This is why administrative control infrastructures have always had a strong network and communications component. As smaller and more powerful products were introduced, the tangle of connections increased and many workstation products were delivered, and still are delivered, with all the hardware and software needed to connect to a corporate network. In contrast, personal computers have operated in relative isolation, requiring additional components and software to achieve some connectivity.

The emphasis and concentration on interconnectivity established a philosophical framework very different from that of stand-alone computing. On the one hand, the design of architectures and internal skills of a computer is secondary to its ability to integrate into the entire commercial system. Each of the multiple nodes of a complex system offers different services and capabilities, but the sense of its individual value is diminished when compared to the entire network. A kind of "connectivity culture" has now developed that fosters and depends on open architectures and interactive operation throughout the system. This culture is diametrically opposed to the stand-alone computer community whose idea of infrastructure is completely defined within its computer.

- Publicidad -

Far from the remote limits of the computing empire in the enterprise, alliances have been formed based on the low final cost of the business. As the power of independent computers accelerated, such systems became more attractive to users compared to fixed and centralized ones . Cheaper products were soon able to perform many similar tasks but at a cost that was now attractive to a huge new market of small and medium-sized organizations.

Low-cost local networks allowed small groups of computer users to break into a new electronic community that, in many cases, began to stimulate the need for more expensive centralized approaches. This community developed its own standards and imposed new rules. Once connected via a network, individual systems were "lame" and sometimes lost their difference in features and performance, as they all shared the same printer with the same performance and were forced to use the same network applications in order to exchange information and maintain software compatibility.

Enterprise-wide computing includes cabling microcomputers, workstations, mainframes , servers, coaxial and fiber optic cables, routers, gates, interfaces, protocols, and hundreds of additional components. Network content and bandwidth enable fabulous additional capabilities while imposing a solid limit on system-wide performance. The complexity and associated costs mean it's not easy or cheap to modify them to add new capabilities.

In this way the role of enterprise-wide computing is evolving towards the exchange of information between people (as opposed to data storage and retrieval). Multimedia plays an important part of this new role, as people need to exchange real-world information and communicate better using the elemental human senses (vision and hearing). The potential or limitations of each of the programming platforms are just one step in adopting the power of multimedia for connected environments compared to the nature and capacity of the network that unites them. The synchronization requirements and huge multimedia bandwidth far exceed what is available on local or wide area networks in this era. Thus, the results of networking and telecommunications exceed computational challenges as multimedia capabilities are introduced into enterprise information systems.


Before, the words multimedia and network were never articulated in the same sentence. Bandwidth requirements for sound, images, and video always posed a threat to almost every type of existing data transport. Even commercial television, the basis of very different types of networks, was long ago declared a "scarce resource" that governments must manage and monitor very closely.

Now and as a result of higher speeds, new compression technology and dramatic reductions in technologies for data transport, networked multimedia is a common theme. The factors that govern the evolution of networked multimedia are now controlled by the development of new business models and changes in the regulatory environment and not, surprisingly, by technological advances.

- Publicidad -

The first forms of telecommunication, i.e. the technology to transmit information electromagnetically, began as coded signals and now include voice (radio and telephone) and images (fax and television). Recently, data communications have constituted an increasing percentage of electronic communications. In a sense communications went long ago from the representation of "data" to multimedia-rich formats and it seems that they are now returning to encoded (digital) data. Some reasons for these changes are obvious: older multimedia-rich telecommunications systems tend to be "point-to-multipoint" or broadcast, while interactive services are necessarily "point-to-point" communications. The economic differences between a system that has a one-way "source" with passive receivers and two-way communications (full duplex) are many and serve to formulate the fundamental difference between commercial programming and what we see today as our communications infrastructure.

In essence, telecommunications systems carry information in real time. Historically they have been designed to allow people to come into contact over long distances. The business consists of bridging physical distances with electronic "piping". Telecom providers have been disinterested or legally prevented from engaging with traffic influencing their lines, and instead emphasize system reliability and multipoint access for new types of services and capabilities in constant development.

The pipe "diameter" of most communication systems was set for the human voice or, in reality, less than its spectrum in terms of bandwidth, but enough for people to hear and understand each other clearly. With lines that have limited bandwidth, the cost per mile to lay them is lower than if they had to carry more information (for example, systems with copper wire pairs and their associated amplifiers and switches are cheaper than coaxial cable systems).

The conversion of analog to digital audio signals in telephone systems produced various cost improvements and utilities, but did not materially affect the basic service that the average customer could see or use. The existing digitally multiplexed lines greatly increased traffic over existing lines and significantly improved signal quality.

Although designed for voice, fax machines and modern computers use analog telephone transmission for digital information. To achieve these feats in communications, digital bits are translated into almost analog signals, sent by lines of sound as screams and delirious squeals, and then converted back into digital data. The limited bandwidth available on voice lines, along with the factors involved in conversion and error checking when moving from digital to analog and back to digital, create something akin to the "speed of light" barrier where, With increasingly sophisticated technology, it is possible for products based on telecommunications to add more and more multimedia skills, without ever being able to achieve the maximum over existing telephone cables.

Obviously, the demands of data communication in a high bandwidth have led to the development of new technologies for communication lines that, when compared, may have fewer capacities. These systems form the backbone of networks for voice and data communication. However, these high-volume digital lines are not cheap and are beyond the reach of the average consumer or small businesses. ISDN, ADSI or ATM services, which transmit with a much higher data capacity than the service of the "old ordinary telephone", cause costs much higher than that of the standard voice service.

- Publicidad -

At least until very recently, the services offered by telecommunications companies have been computationally silent. That means that the service provider does not intervene on the transmitted information (except during the initial connection and registration processes) and there are no expectations about a sophisticated computational process or protocol to maintain the basic connection.

Systems for digital communications typically establish the data connections and issue the complex protocols only after making the basic connections. This means that telecommunications services have been relatively simple and are not expected to send or receive complex details.

Multimedia networks

The markets for multimedia networks for businesses and for consumers have a notable difference in technical and economic criteria to succeed. Although the network versions seem confusing and can be treated as abstract problems valid for the two types of applications, the reality is that they are very different environments and markets.

Connecting networks for business provides privacy in information and data transport. Each component of a business system is designed to solve a certain collective need and must be justified on the basis of an enterprise-wide contribution. Therefore, the addition of multimedia capabilities must correspond to true business needs that are justified in cost and that are 100% compatible with existing information technology infrastructures. Examples include computer-based collaboration, which is basically an improved means of communications, and image and photo networks for news magazines or other publications whose business depends on quick access to high-quality multimedia details.

Of course, there are hundreds of possible business applications whose fundamental nature is multimedia. However, the differences between companies determine completely different requirements of applications. The effect is that companies are evolving more and more, each at its own pace according to its own needs. Existing applications are gradually being adjusted to add multimedia capabilities to business applications around the world, but these are not the same capabilities and do not necessarily employ the same technologies.

Adapting networks for existing businesses to multimedia has been difficult. Only in recent years have the exact requirements for multimedia applications begun to be fully understood. In order to direct some of these results, the Association for Interactive Multimedia (IMA) began work on its compatibility project and developed a technology request for multimedia system services for distributed environments. The resulting theory and model illustrate the challenges and changes that multimedia demands in today's systems.

Consumer Multimedia Networks

The disturbing competition between cable and telecommunications companies, along with lower costs and technological barriers, as well as the prospect of softer regulation, is driving the construction of huge multimedia networks for the new consumer. The products and services offered by these groups will be launched initially to the general public and then in niche vertical markets. These companies cannot afford to lose their primary customer base.

The kind of services that are likely to drive this sector are, of course, entertainment and customer services (e.g. shopping, banking, etc.).

What many do not understand is that the deployment of sophisticated interactive multimedia networks for consumer applications is no longer regulated by technology. In contrast, service models, which define a basis for investment along with new government regulations, now have the greatest impact on technological and topological decisions. The classification model is mainly valid for consumer network systems (currently dominated by cable companies, but under the intense gaze of telecommunications companies).


Business applications for networked multimedia develop very fast as relatively remote islands. These islands will have different degrees of multimedia content and will reflect the organizations that will use them. It is likely that in the near future these systems will be interactive, although it is possible that in most cases the subject will not matter.

The biggest growth in multimedia networks will come from cable and telecommunications companies' attempt to protect and grow their consumer products and services. Entertainment and new interactive services will drive topologies in conjunction with government regulatory changes. Over time and as the scale of investments increases, consumer networks and technologies will generate vertical applications in business.

Finally, by combining the evolution of consumer and business networks, relatively high capacity will be available by the end of the decade, thus driving the need for synchronized, symmetrical networks with secure two-way bandwidth.

The impact on various industries

All vertical industries in the multimedia continuum have their own economic constraints and stories to limit the procedures in which they can take advantage of new media trends. As each strives to understand these unknown markets, they face new sets of problems and different roles that are culturally discordant and often disruptive.

The entertainment industries face the challenge of a new digital media infrastructure that will have a direct impact on the food chain of what they call "software", from creation to fully digital high-definition presentations in homes. They also face totally new transport systems, means of distribution, and the least clear of all, interactivity.

Those who distribute the networks face enormous opportunities and great risks mitigated by legislative constraints that may well disappear or change significantly in the coming years. Cable companies will be faced with fending off phone companies invading their businesses, just as cable adds capabilities to the communications system.

© 1995 by Butterworth-Heinemann. Reproduced from Philip V.W. Dodds' Digital Multimedia Cross-Industry Guide, with the express permission of the publishers.

No thoughts on “The Multimedia Industry (Latest Installment)”

• If you're already registered, please log in first. Your email will not be published.

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User
Suscribase Gratis

Visita a MEDIA5 durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con MOISES MARTINI Empresa: MEDIA5 Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023

Visita a LIVEU durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con JOSÉ LUIS REYES Empresa: LIVEU Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023

Visita a LEYARD durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con DIMAS DE OLIVEIRA - CAMILO MADRIGAL Empresa: LEYARD Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023

Visita a LAWO durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con Noach Gonzales Empresa: Lawo Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023

Visita a IGSON durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con IGOR SEKE Empresa: IGSON Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023
Load more...

Ultimo Info-Boletin