After two intense years of the pandemic that has completely changed the media landscape, things finally look like they're going back to normal. Hans de Heus (CEO) and Pepijn Over (CTO) discuss recent developments in the platform and their vision for MediaLab in the coming year.
New features and partnerships
MediaLab's roadmap for the coming year is twofold, Pepijn explains: "First of all, we'll keep developing our platform and adding new features. Last year we’ve started focusing on live content instead of just pre-edited content. For example, we've been working on integrating a livestream feature into our platform. Accelerated by the Covid pandemic, we'd been receiving more and more questions from our customers about whether we could facilitate an online screening room or pressroom. So, there was a gap in the market that we were able to fill with our agile and innovative platform."
The reason for implementing such a defining new feature in such a short time was a big one: the US-Russia summit in Geneva in June 2021. "One of our Dutch partners, EMG, contacted us to set up the entire environment in a matter of days, including livestream and online pressrooms," says Pepijn. "After that successful project, we were asked to do a screening for a new HBO series. So yes, the screening room feature will definitely be a standard feature in the MediaLab platform this year."
MediaLab's second-leading goal for this year is creating partnerships, Hans states: "We've used the past year to evaluate how we want to position ourselves in the European market. We've put a lot of effort into directly approaching potential clients but realized this process is very time-consuming and inefficient. So instead, we'll be focusing on creating a partner network in Europe, with media partners that see MediaLab as an added value in their portfolio."
Shift towards a hybrid platform
Part of further developing the MediaLab platform is the shift towards a hybrid cloud. Where a cloud-first strategy used to be the norm for most companies until about 2-3 years ago, we see the focus has been more on hybrid lately. Hans: "This has been an important change in the market. Many media companies migrated to the public cloud completely, only to find out one or two years later that reviewing and commenting on media files in the cloud is a very costly process. Bandwidth usage is often an important factor in cloud providers' pricing. So, these media companies are looking for a cost-efficient way to set up their infrastructure, which often means going back to a (partly) in-house solution. MediaLab can make the difference for them by setting up an infrastructure with the right configuration and adding value with our proactive attitude."
Deploying a new infrastructure has become a lot easier in recent years, Pepijn explains: "That's just a few mouse clicks. But media companies are looking for an easy and user-friendly way to manage their hardware and infrastructure. That's where MediaLab comes in handy. Other parties who offer a similar solution present themselves as being very technical. Our platform offers all the technical features under the hood, a clean look and the best user experience on the front end."
According to Hans, transparency is key here: "Many suppliers say: 'you can use our platform, but you'll also have to store your data here". That's not how we want to work with our clients: we want to find the best solution together, whether that's our datacenter, their own datacenter, or even the public cloud."
Creating a partner network
MediaLab aims to create a partner network and is looking for ways to service clients throughout Europe with the personal touch that they're known for. Finding the right partners to do so is crucial, says Hans: "It's important for potential partners to be able to sell and support a service like ours. MediaLab isn't a tangible product, so a hardware reseller probably isn't the best partner for us. What makes our platform special is how easily it can be integrated in existing workflows and work alongside other media software, like Avid or Adobe Premiere ."
For many companies, compliancy also plays a significant role in their choice of platform and data storage. MediaLab always complies with European legislation, Pepijn illustrates: "We see a lot of clients that don't want their data to leave Europe. MediaLab focuses on the European market, so our clients are always in control of their own data. And all of the software integrations we offer comply with European user agreements. This way, we can guarantee a secure platform for everyone."
For Hans, this proves the value that MediaLab can add to customers' media workflows: "It is our personal touch: we sit down with a client, talk to them, and know better than anyone how a media workflow works. That's where we make the difference. And with our partner program, we're looking for partners who can convey this story as well as we can."
In the coming year, Hans will be mainly focusing on expanding MediaLab's partner network: "I'm looking forward to finding interesting organizations to form partnerships with this year and optimize our platform to serve our clients even better. MediaLab is a small and personal organization that operates a very specific niche. We plan to retain and expand our footprint in the Netherlands and implement our vision in other European countries."
As a CTO, Pepijn focuses on the platform's ongoing technical development: "A personal highlight for me last year was that several existing clients opted to take the next step with MediaLab and migrated to on-premises and hybrid platforms for better integration with their existing infrastructure. My goal for this year is to expand on MediaLab's unique technical solution. We want to offer a solution that's easy, safe to use, and meets our clients' demands, but also one that's innovative and does things that no other platform can do."