The even newer “new world” of remote video editing access

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the world can be turned upside down in a matter of days, if not hours, or even minutes. After all, what we thought we all had as a global society seemingly fell short in a moment: the ability to access files from anywhere, anytime was for many just a myth.

So why is that? For everything the cloud has promised for more than 15 years, paired with all the hype about security, speed, accuracy, and the list goes on—apparently that was all a lie. Or, at the very least, a tall tale that was spun from too many digital transformation ads full of themes such as “the future is now,” and so on.

What really happened in the midst of the global pandemic can be boiled down to one thing and one thing only: the lack of preparedness. Now, as I say those words let’s not go off on tangents about food caches in one’s basement, along with fantasies of the Walking Dead come to life. I’m talking about business preparedness. And yes, that could be framed as business continuity, but I’m referring to something a little deeper: the idea that businesses shouldn’t fool themselves with the promises of vendors and technology that just doesn’t do what it says it does.

Here’s the perfect example. The single greatest challenge that needed to be overcome by so many companies in Q1 of 2020 was the ability to enable real remote access. Notice I used the word “real.” The reality versus the idea seemed to elude many—although their technology clearly stated the inherent ability of anywhere, anytime access.

But look at the reality of that situation. For our industry—Media and Entertainment (M&E) and specifically video editors—the concept of “just logging in and grabbing a file” is downright absurd. For one, it’s never about a single file. This isn’t the same as someone needing access to a Microsoft Excel file, or a PDF, etc. It’s also not like logging into a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform to complete single user-centric tasks. In this case, it’s about multiple editors needing the same file simultaneously, all while ensuring security of the assets in question.

So why is that hard? Well, what we are really talking about here is seamlessly recreating the internal LAN experience, but in a completely remote environment. The fact is—or at least was—no one could make that happen.

Just the criteria alone for true remote access for the M&E industry needed a much bigger solution than what existed. For instance, it was a must that full control of content has to be enabled, and let’s not forget full support of all clients. Then, of course, added to that was high application responsiveness, ease of set up—oh, and if it could have no unpredictable costs that would be great, right? A tall order in the midst of a global economic shutdown due to a pandemic.

More so, none of the aforementioned criteria needed for M&E even remotely resembled the promises of digital transformation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Digital transformation for this task literally translates to months, if not years, to implement, high costs, and a lot of time and effort for all involved. So, what’s the answer?

Well, we decided to solve it—all of it.

Just last month, we finished a product: a 1U Linux appliance designed to be the perfect gateway for remote clients to access on-prem storage. Aptly named RAP (Remote Access Portal), we set out to create the most economical, flexible, solution that supports all resolutions for remote editing.

Now, the M&E industry can be enabled with remote clients seamlessly accessing content on the on-prem storage in the exact same way they would when connected to the internal LAN—connecting securely through HTTPS. And, to further the experience—one that ensures no lag times or slow connectivity, and so on—the remote client’s hard drives act like a large cache, enabling only modified content to be synced back to the RAP infrastructure.

As Dave Chappelle once said, modern problems require modern solutions. Since a solution like RAP didn’t really exist, creating it was, for us, both a (necessary) stop-gap measure and a vision for the future. And, all global issues aside, digital transformation shouldn’t be hard, shouldn’t be expensive, and shouldn’t be so cumbersome that it makes it too much to even consider.

In a world that promises a new world of remote access that rarely comes to fruition, the even newer “new world” of remote access is where problems are solved, businesses thrive, and productivity shines.