By Avinash Suresh, Director at Yusari Filem
The rate of adoption of new media technologies varies across the globe, and Malaysia has traditionally been on the slower end of the spectrum. For example, it wasn’t until 6 years ago that the move from 35mm to Digital Cinema fully took hold. While slow at first, once the benefits and improvements in quality became obvious, it was embraced whole heartedly across the country.
Right now, Malaysia is in a similar place with file acceleration technology. And, though is seems like we are behind, there are actually some advantages to our position. After several years on the market, file acceleration technology has matured dramatically, and the industry is currently seeing a second wave of adoption with the rise of cloud-native SaaS solutions. Countries like Malaysia and businesses like Yusari are poised to skip over the first wave, and catch the much more scalable and cost-effective second wave of adoption.
Yusari Filem was established in 1976 as the first subtitling company in Malaysia. We started our business with 35mm subtitles using hot stamping and eventually migrated to a digital workflow to support Digital Cinema Packages (DCPs). After optimizing our backbone infrastructure and bandwidth as much as possible, the move to incorporate file acceleration was a natural progression and we eventually landed on Signiant’s newest product called Jet.
Jet is a SaaS solution that makes it easy to automate and accelerate system-to-system file transfers. It also incorporates a new intelligent transport mechanism that utilizes machine learning to optimize transfers. Signiant has another solution called Manager+Agents, which has been around for a long time and is used by the world’s largest Media companies to automate transfers between their global locations and partners, but it wasn’t a fit for our size business. Jet provides a tightly-curated set of the same enterprise capabilities, but scaled to the needs and budgets of smaller companies.
Adopting Jet has enabled us to launch a brand-new service called ‘Move by Yusari,’ which will handle our delivery of Digital Cinema Packages (DCPs) to cinemas throughout Malaysia. To describe the setup, a Yusari Move server will be placed in cinemas and this server will be connected to the local TMS. Once a DCP is ready for distribution, it will be sent via broadband to the respective cinemas using Signiant Jet. After transmission, the Move server will perform a check on the package to ensure that there are no integrity issues. This solution would never have been possible without Signiant Jet’s acceleration, reliability and multi-layered security technology. After many months of R&D and closely working with the team at Signiant, we were able to develop a purpose-built solution for DCP delivery.
Delivering DCPs is a core aspect of our business. For the past six years, we’ve been sending DCPs to the cinemas via hard disk drives. We typically use courier services for these deliveries, and that comes with a host of issues such as delays, security concerns, and environmental impact.
One of the biggest challenges in distributing DCPs is that there can be no compromise on the integrity of the data. Each DCP contains a Packing List. All files in the composition are hashed (hash value is the Base64 encoding of the SHA-1 checksum) and their hash is stored in the Packing List. This file is used during ingestion in a digital cinema server to verify if data is corrupted or tampered with in some way. If any one of the files are not consistent, the cinema server will refuse to ingest the movie – the use of hard disk drives for DCP distribution poses data corruption challenges due to bad sectors.
Signiant Jet not only addresses the challenges, it also provides a more cost effective, easier and greener solution – and, of course, it is a world of difference when it comes to speed.
At the moment, we are piloting Move with Yusari with five cinemas, and plan to ramp up to 100 sites by the end of the year. However, on a regional front, there remains a lot of work to do. Malaysian Internet speeds (vs. cost) lag way behind some of our neighbors. Working with Signiant allows us to optimize our network conditions and fully utilize the bandwidth we do have. Additionally, as Malaysian Internet speeds improve in the future, Signiant Jet will allow us to take advantage of new opportunities, regionally and globally.