With so many systems with proprietary interfaces in existence, IT-based media projects these days require a great deal of integrations. At Dalet alone, our applications must integrate with more than a hundred different third-party systems. With customers around the world using customized workflows and any number of different tools and solutions, it’s our job to make sure our own platforms can operate seamlessly within their setup. However, this makes solutions very complex and costly to deploy and maintain.
FIMS is the Framework for Interoperable Media Services. This framework simplifies the integration problem through better and stronger standards, which means vendors no longer need to build a custom integration for every single installation. Part of the deal involves developing applications with a standard interface. This could be simple, like transfer services, or more complex, such as the repository interface, which has many operations and options. In addition to these standard interfaces, FIMS employs a data model – a common representation for media assets – which incorporates standard metadata (such as EBUCore) that have been developed separately. The idea behind the set of standard interfaces and data model is to develop a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). By exposing media applications as services and allowing for a flexible architecture, we can leverage standard IT technologies and enable customers to build best-of-breed solutions. As a result, we create an ecosystem of standard interfaces that simplify the design, building and deployment of systems, as well as the maintenance of said systems over time. Because of the system’s flexibility, exposing one’s system as a FIMS system or integrating another tool through a FIMS interface does not require a complete architectural change. For vendors, this means we can build more elaborate integrations at a much lower cost. And because we reduce the number of custom interfaces, the cost to upgrade any given system is also already reduced. What’s more, vendors can offer customers more benefit through improved core applications, as – ideally – the time and money saved by not developing custom integrations can be reallocated towards developing media specific applications. From the media and broadcast company perspective – because let’s face it, it’s all about the customer at the end of the day – FIMS enables much better tracking and task management, as well as the ability to evolve seamlessly over time. For example, if you want to take advantage of a new transfer accelerator without needing to develop an elaborate custom interface, FIMS provides the framework to facilitate this. With new and improved technology being made available all the time, being able to readily integrate new solutions gives broadcasters a huge advantage. So – why aren’t all systems FIMS-compliant? FIMS is an ongoing effort and as such, is not without its challenges. We work in an industry that is undergoing constant change, which makes this effort a moving target. Companies have to agree to build on the standards, meaning that they must agree with the limits they impose. If you were thinking that FIMS sounded too good to be sure, you may be right; a FIMS-compliant system does have its tradeoffs. With the standardization and simplicity of design, cost-savings, etc., comes slightly looser integration and performance. But we see the long-term benefits far outweighing these short-term issues. In any case, for FIMS to fulfill its destiny as a plug-and-play solution for the broadcast and media industry, it’s crucial that every actor in the ecosystem plays the game. By cultivating an ecosystem of applications that can all play nice together, broadcasters will be able to build best-of-breed solutions that can be evolved over years to come while saving them money. Now in its sixth year of existence, FIMS continues to gain awareness slowly but surely. But when it comes to making this solution a widespread reality, it’s in the hands of the broadcast and media companies to make the demand. Want to know more about FIMS? Sign up now to receive our video presentation on what FIMS is, who benefits and why direct to your inbox, as well as our FIMS White Paper, coming this summer.