TL;DR Streamlining your workflows in Ci allows you to save money, time, and hefty operational overhead. 

This is big. Very big. But before we tell you where we’re going, it’s important to understand where we started. Ci began with a simple mission to help media focused teams collaborate and share content seamlessly no matter where they were. We wanted to shorten the amount of time it took for the content to flow from production to post-production or from capture to air to allow teams more time in the creative process. In realizing this vision, we quickly learned that regardless of the type of content created, our customers had a similar set of core needs.  They wanted high-speed uploads, automated transcoding, secure sharing, and seamless collaboration. And that’s what we’ve tirelessly focused on, making refinements month after month, never satisfied and always striving to give teams more time to do the work they love. 

The more they used Ci, the more content they amassed, which brought its own set of requirements. Automated archive policies. Granular search. Metadata enrichment. As team after team benefited from these enhancements, Ci became more and more ingrained into multiple workflows. But there was a problem. And it wasn’t one that could be taken lightly.

What happens when you want to allow other teams to work on your content? You could invite them to your Workspace,  but maybe they should only have access to certain content.  And what do you do when different groups need different levels of access to that content?  It’s easy enough to copy files to other Workspaces. Yet that can quickly get out of hand when you’re dealing with larger organizations. You can share content in a MediaBox, but then the recipients have to manage a copy in their own system. And what about the fact that downstream workflows have different metadata needs? Marketing doesn’t need to know the camera used or the date b-roll was filmed  like Post doesn’t need to know the name of the French ad campaign Marketing is working on. What we learned was that Ci Workspace’s focus on low-friction security worked great for teams but was challenging for enterprises. 

So we took that insight along with a lot of customer feedback (thank you all very much – you know who you are!) and added a brand new way to organize content in Ci. It’s called Ci Catalog, and it expands Ci beyond collaboration and into the realm of enterprise media management.

When content needs to be made available beyond your team and sharing files doesn’t cut it, simply publish it from your Workspace into a Catalog. Inside a Catalog, granular access controls can be granted to make sure the right people get the right access to the right content. Metadata can be separated to support downstream workflows without impacting their upstream brethren. Creative teams maintain the freedom to move quickly and creatively while the broader organization can pick up and begin their work creating promos, ad spots, trailers, marketing posters, whatever they want.  It’s instant and seamless. No duplicating files and no wasting of storage space. No more silos. One platform – supporting the entire enterprise.  

Read on to learn how Workspace and Catalog will benefit your media workflows.

The Benefits of End-to-End Media Management On a Single Platform

The requirements of an on-set production team and a digital media sales team vary significantly – yet enterprises need to fulfill both use-cases. This disparity results in departments sourcing their own media solutions that fit their bespoke needs and workflows. Ci offers a new way for enterprises to manage media content across departments – a single platform for end-to-end media management.

Replace up to 5 systems with Ci

With the addition of Catalog to the Ci platform, companies can now replace up to five separate systems including accelerated file transfer, transcoding, collaboration, asset management, and archive.

Accelerated File Transfer

Ci offers built-in Aspera which means you can transfer large files and folders without buying and managing your own Aspera infrastructure. Additionally, if you have Aspera nodes spread around the world, you can use Ci’s ‘Send to external target’ to deliver content to them directly.

Transcoding

When video files are uploaded, Ci automatically generates high-quality proxies without any manual operation. You can also set up custom render profiles that match your own specifications and let Ci do the heavy lifting, saving you time and money. All proxies rendered by Ci are instantly available for preview, download, and can be shared in a MediaBox.

Asset Management

Workspace and Catalog work seamlessly so Ci can become your organization’s single ‘source-of-truth’ to store and manage files from every stage of the media life cycle. Custom metadata and powerful search ensure that every file and clip is discoverable. Ci Catalog’s granular access permissions serve diverse internal and external users while Workspace’s open access model enables creative teams to work without constraints.

Collaborative Review

Ci’s VideoReview app can replace ‘review and approve’ one-trick solutions. Stop copying files from your media management system into a review system.  VideoReview features frame-accurate annotations and comments that you can export to your favorite NLE. For the ultimate screening room experience, Ci’s LiveSession add-on enables members to watch videos together. Synchronized playback and live annotations means you can say goodbye to those painful low-resolution screen shares.

Archive

Ci’s built-in archive functionality allows you to move content between storage tiers to let you minimize storage costs and maximize access. Files archived in Ci are always accessible for preview and can be restored in just a couple of clicks. If you have your own AWS S3 bucket, Ci can point to it and give you the access and control you never knew possible. Built-in storage management policies let you automate your archiving and keep your spaces neat and tidy. 

In addition to the five systems that our platform can replace, Ci also features built-in tools and apps for clipping, logging, and storyboarding.

5 real world benefits Ci provides today

Benefit 1: Save money

Replacing up to five separate systems with Ci has a massive benefit to your bottom line. Purchasing or building these systems and managing and supporting them on an annual basis comes with a hefty price tag. 

Here’s what an enterprise could pay for these five systems: 

License FeeAnnual Support
Accelerated File Transfer$100,000.00$25,000.00
Transcoding$150,000.00$37,500.00
Collaborative Review$200,000.00$0.00
Asset Management$500,000.00$125,000.00
Archive$750,000.00$25,000.00
First Year Costs$1,700,000.00$187,500.00
Estimated pricing in US Dollars

In comparison, Ci’s Enterprise+ plan is available from $10,000 per month and features more media-centric tools and features on top of these core services at a fraction of the price!

Benefit 2: Save time

In modern digital workflows, files are exported, transferred, transcoded, and rendered countless times. Each time, the process leaves an end-user staring at a progress bar or worse, pausing other bandwidth-hungry operations. Ci enables every user in your enterprise to bypass this non-creative step because Ci automatically initiates this transcoding when a file is first ingested.

For example, when files in a Production team Workspace get published to the Marketing team Catalog, the source file and all of its custom renders are instantly available without exporting or downloading or re-uploading. This seemingly tedious task can accrue to save hundreds of hours at the enterprise scale.

Benefit 3: Future-proof your organization

As a cloud-based offering, Ci is fully flexible to your enterprise needs. Ci’s enterprise offering has no user limits so your price tag doesn’t multiply every time you onboard a new team. Everything auto-scales so you can forget about buying more servers or worrying about where to place them.

Benefit 4: Auto-magical APIs

In addition to a beautiful and simple web browser experience, Ci has a robust portfolio of integrations and APIs that you can leverage to ‘plug-in-play’ with your existing systems. Plug your project management solution directly into Ci and automatically close tasks when files are uploaded. Integrate with your downstream supply chain without having to move content. Automatically send out share links when new content that meets the right criteria arrives. The opportunities are endless… 

Benefit 5: Ci is available to try today

As a SaaS offering, Ci is ready for you to try today. There’s no development, testing, or deployment downtime which means you can rebuild your enterprise media management strategy in hours (not months). To learn more about how your organization can benefit from Ci or for a demo, contact us here

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Yoshie Fujita
Marketing Communications Specialist for Ci (pronounced “see”) at Sony