Ooyala and DPP’s Metadata Exchange for News
Steve Gibson, Senior Manager, Global Solutions Engineering, Ooyala
Ooyala and the DPP are working together, alongside other technology partners, to advance global news-industry standards for the use of metadata. The DPP’s initiative, Metadata Exchange for News, is designed to help establish common metadata specifications for application in every step of delivering news content – from planning and newsgathering to production, distribution, display and archive.
Teams from both companies recently put together a proof-of-concept where integration and end-to-end workflow were configured and demonstrated. In this post, we reflect on the process and results.
Ease of implementation
When it comes to configuring the Ooyala Flex Media Platform, it's important to remember that there isn’t any “secret sauce” that an Ooyala Solutions Architect might use that isn’t also available to our customers. Configuration, in most cases, is simply a matter of modelling metadata schemas and workflows using drag-and-drop designers. For the DPP’s Metadata Exchange for News project, we split the configuration into 3 areas: ingest, curation, and delivery.
- During the ingest phase, we needed to get content into the platform, insert the metadata into an appropriate schema, and organize the assets and data into an appropriate hierarchy. In practise, that meant (1) designing a DPP Acquire & Finish schema, and (2) configuring a workflow to read the XML data into that schema and import the referenced assets into the hierarchy.
- The curation phase was even easier. OoyalaMAM automatically picks up and displays the configuration from the ingested assets and hierarchies and presents them as new menu items for operational users to interact with - no additional configuration required.
- Delivery required a second workflow in order to package up the finalised metadata and assets into the DPP Delivery format and to export the final package. The Ooyala workflow engine has full capability to access metadata in the system, and can easily pick up and format that metadata into whatever schema is required. Our delivery workflow utilized this capability to organize our curated data in order to package and shift out to the Reuters Connect publishing system.
OoyalaMAM displaying imported metadata
Use of cloud storage
Cloud storage was used throughout the entire workflow. Given that this Ooyala Flex Media Platform environment was already configured in AWS, it made sense to use S3 cloud storage to make use of IAM EC2 instance profiles, and the fast Regional Endpoints. Again, we see 3 main areas of operation:
- During ingestion, the Ooyala Flex Media Platform received DPP Package assets and metadata sidecar files in an Amazon S3 bucket. Ooyala Flex, using its virtual file system (VFS), read the files directly from cloud storage into the configured metadata schema. Given that the Platform provides this VFS abstraction layer, we don’t need to deal directly with complex authentication or storage API mechanisms - it is all taken care of by Ooyala Flex Resources.
- For our curation step, we were actually able to keep the files in their original ingest point - we call this an “import in place”. Our prototype workflow was not focussed on clipping, editing, or transcoding and so we were not concerned with moving files around at this stage.
- Once curation was complete, we used a separate cloud storage bucket, shared between Ooyala and Reuters, to pass assets and metadata formatted in the DPP Delivery spec. This was once again securely handled by the VFS layer and so required no additional configuration.
Ooyala Flex Media Platform - Import and Publishing Workflows in action
Time to integrate with Reuters Connect
The most complicated part of any integration is working with outside factors such as unfamiliar APIs and changing metadata formats. The beauty of using a common specification is that the work of implementing the integration is performed once and can then be reused each time in the future. So effectively during this project, we were integrating not only into the Reuters Connect system, but into ALL systems which accept the DPP Delivery format.
Additionally, developing integrations on top of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform, especially those involving only a simple metadata export, is quite straightforward. Once the metadata had been ingested and curated within OoyalaMAM, it only took us a short time to add the export and format logic to our workflow (about an afternoon including testing).
Of course every system can be improved, and this prototype is no different. In our case, the quickest path to end-to-end functionality was by using a hot folder integration on both ingest and delivery. A full API level integration has a number of benefits such as two-way communication for receiving progress or feedback throughout the process and status reporting up the chain to content suppliers or planning systems.
There are also a number of practical applications that can be combined with this type of specification: AI systems can be used to enhance metadata, perform facial recognition, and generate subtitles. Media processing tools (such as Ooyala Flex’s own built in Stream Processor) can add watermarks or bumpers, and videos can be formatted and delivered based on rights information included in the specification.
There are plenty of benefits to a fully-featured and robust system like the Ooyala Flex Media Platform implementing a well-defined data specification like the DPP Metadata Exchange for News. Ease of integration, leveraging a library of existing plugins, smarter publishing using incoming metadata to drive workflow business logic, and reduction in costly and time-consuming human error through the use of automation and intelligent decisioning. In summary, the goal is to seamlessly publish to front-end systems to get more content out to viewers, faster.