From Tapes to Bits: Digital Asset Management

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According to Avid, the fact that WGBH was able to integrate its products into the reference architecture on its own is evidence that Avid’s products are easy to integrate. But Rantanen and MacCarn would prefer that companies adopting the reference architecture and Avid products need not go through the extra steps currently required to make Avid a part of the system.

In response, Rantanen says she and MacCarn have been trying to "wrestle Avid to the ground." They meet with Avid CEO David Krall every six months or so in a practice that WNET’s Devine (who also attends the meetings but who wouldn’t name vendors) refers to as "applying torque from the top." In the meetings, they try to convince the company that it will sell more products if it interoperates. They cite conversations they’ve had with other Avid customers in which those customers have said they wished Avid supported more open formats. And they mention the smaller vendors trying to make it in Avid’s space that would fall over themselves to be cited as fully integrated in the reference architecture.

Rantanen and MacCarn say they’re seeing some progress. "We’ve just now seen this past year some third parties like Telestream being able to support Avid formats so that there’s somebody other than Avid that can do some of this converting," says MacCarn. "That’s a good sign."

They also add that Avid has become more cooperative since WGBH got one of its competitors, Apple, to join the effort.

And as the reference architecture picks up steam, Rantanen says it’s becoming easier to get more vendors involved. "We have this illustrative group of referenced vendors, and now people don’t want to be left out."

Senior Writer Meridith Levinson can be reached at mlevinson@cio.com.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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