ETC Executive Coffee: Students, Execs Talk Cloud Resources

As part of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series, M&E leaders connected via Zoom with eight engineering students, three cinema students and one business student on October 29. The topic of discussion was “Production in the Cloud for Media and Entertainment; content and experience creation, distribution, interaction, and analytics.” Students were particularly interested in new advances related to areas such as production workflow, asset management, gaming, remote collaboration for live music, and the impact of analytics on content creation.

Cinema production grad student Jacqueline Rosenthal set the tone for the discussion by noting that cloud resources will streamline production workflow and asset management. Junior computer science major Aaqib Ismail added that cloud computing plus high bandwidth enables latency-free gaming, which may make game consoles obsolete.

Cinema production grad student Naomi Shroff-Mehta worked on a 5G-enabled film shoot and described the collaboration, speed and efficiencies that it enabled. Sophomore computer science major Megan Friedenberg is a drummer in a band. She noted that the near-zero latency that 5G provides makes live playing with musicians in multiple locations possible.

Using analytics to guide the decision of what content to make was a hot discussion topic. MBA candidate Christopher Hamrick said he would find the analytics very useful when financing a project, but that the final financing decision should be made by a person and not an algorithm.

Rosenthal would not want the analytics to guide her artistic decisions, at least not in the first years of her career. Senior computer science major Bema Bonsu worries that analytics will further marginalize risk-taking.

At the other end of the supply chain, junior computer science and business double-major Vinura Kotuwelle said he relies on recommendation engines rather than searching on his own when deciding what to watch. Friedenberg pointed out that if algorithms and analytics become too powerful, then it will become even harder for a person who doesn’t fit into one of the algorithms’ molds to get their career started.

For more of the discussion, check out the 10-minute highlight video online.

The ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… Series

The Entertainment Technology Center at USC produced a series of virtual “executive coffee discussions” during the Fall semester. These one-hour discussions provide an opportunity for students and ETC member company executives to connect and discuss topics of mutual interest during this period of remote learning and social distancing.

For each session an executive posed one question or topic, students from across USC submitted brief statements of interest, and the ETC invited between 5 and 16 students to participate in the Zoom meeting. Each session was recorded and an 8- to 13-minute highlight video was produced.

The sessions were hosted by Verizon (September 23), Universal Pictures (September 29 and October 9), Fox Corporation (October 14), Equinix (October 22), ETC execs (October 29), Vubiquity (November 4) and Dolby Labs (November 12).

The videos are available on the Executive Coffee with… page online.