The Record - Issue 15: Winter 2019

68 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om W hat are the biggest changes that you’ve witnessed in the communication and media industry over the past few years? I think the biggest thing is the acceptance of cloud technology. Four years ago, nobody was willing to entertain it.The hacking of Sony had just happened and there was a lot of discussion about how secure the cloud really was. What amazes me is how quickly things have changed – cloud is now part of the mainstream. Everyone is jumping on board for a cloud-based approach when looking to solve business or workflow problems. How far has the industry progressed in its digital transformation? Is there still work to be done? There’s a lot of work to be done, but some great progress has already been made. Our recent announcement with The Walt Disney Studios is a good example. Its production teamwants to move its entire process – from actual filming all the way to the distribution inside the theatres – to the cloud. Read more in our cover story on page 30. It’s a pretty dramatic change, but we’re just at the beginning stages of the process. The media space is so different from the telecommunica- tions space or the retail space. There are many independent software vendors (ISVs) that do different pieces of the production, and the chal- lenge is to get all of them on to one cloud or one blockchain operation. We laid out all the bespoke processes that Disney Studios go through, and there’s around 70 to 80 screen ISV processes they use. We then have to go out and port all 70 of those to one cloud – Microsoft Azure. So, we still have a long way to go in my estimation. But the relationship has exposed massive opportunities to take cost out of the system, not only in the content creation and production phases but, in the future, in the distribution phase as well. Disney Studios releases many movies every year, and the cost of getting each one to the theatres is significant. A film can’t currently be shipped in one go in case some- body steals it. So instead Disney Studios has to separately ship smaller pieces of the movie and reconnect it all in the theatre. With 5G, that pro- cess could become as simple as pushing a button. You put a device in a theatre and the movie plays using 5G, with the whole process being entirely encrypted. That’s just a simple thing that would result in a massive change to an industry. Specifically looking at the year ahead, what further changes can we expect? The biggest thing coming is the potential for regulatory issues for the big cloud providers, particularly in the EU. Already, several cloud vendors have had some large fines against them, one in the EU and one in the United States. Since some of the business models of the cloud providers are based upon getting information from their customers, then leveraging that infor- mation to build additional business cases, any change in the regulation of that data is going to have a dramatic impact on them. For Microsoft, however, the way in which we treat privacy is a key differentiator for the com- pany. When it comes to encryption, we don’t even keep the encryption keys. They go to who- ever the data belongs to. But we have got a lot of big data, and we’re good at anonymising that I NT E R V I EW Bob De Haven, Microsoft’s general manager of worldwide communications and media, explains how media firms like Disney are embracing the cloud and outlines how he believes the industry will leverage technology in the future BY T I M GRAY SON AND A L E X SM I TH Media success in the cloud