Heavenly Storage: How using the cloud can help exhibitors

Features
Technology

It seems like everyone, in every industry, is talking about “the cloud” right now. The cinema industry hasn’t traditionally been known for its embrace of new technology, but cloud computing is becoming a buzzword amongst exhibitors and technology providers too. But what is it? Why should an exhibitor care? And one of the questions we at Arts Alliance Media hear most often: Is it safe? Here at AAM we’ve been working with cloud technology for a while and we’re excited about the possibilities it can offer to exhibitors, so we wanted to explain a little more about it.

What is cloud technology?

Cloud technology is using data and software over the Internet, rather than accessing servers stored locally. Most people use it every day for accessing their e-mail, streaming movies or more, but for enterprise software the traditional model of installing software on one machine has been ingrained until very recently. Now that’s changing–started by companies such as Salesforce, the benefits of the cloud are also being brought to enterprise systems, and we believe it’s by far the best way to manage your cinemas.

At AAM, we use cloud technology to host our enterprise cinema software. Our Producer enterprise content management system, Locksmith KDM management, Lifeguard hardware monitoring system and AdFuser advertising campaign management are all cloud-hosted. We use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provision our software, which as well as bringing benefits to our customers has enabled us to supply cinemas globally and to keep costs down by adjusting to demand.

Currently, we’re working on new revenue-generating software for cinemas and this too will be offered through the cloud, for maximum flexibility for our customers.

What are the advantages of using the cloud for enterprise software?

Using the cloud to offer Software as a Service (SaaS) brings many advantages, such as:

  • Software isn’t installed on customer systems, instead it’s hosted in the cloud and accessed over the Internet. This means customers don’t need to buy or maintain expensive hardware themselves.
  • The software can be automatically updated over the Internet, so there’s no need to manage this in-house, something that can take time and specialist IT knowledge.
  • It’s very reliable. AAM uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide our cloud services, which means we benefit from their scale and expertise. The systems provide full protection against the failure of any component or even a whole data center.

How can it make an exhibitor’s life easier?

For exhibitors, all these advantages are very relevant.

  • You don’t have the upfront expense of buying lots of hardware to sit in your head office. Just connect your systems to the cloud.
  • You don’t need to have IT expertise in house. Setting up a complex hosting system can be time-consuming and expensive. By allowing us to manage that, exhibitors can spend more time doing what they do best–running their cinemas.
  • Support is better. As support providers, AAM don’t need to arrange remote access to customer systems to diagnose a problem, and we can fix issues more quickly, keeping your cinemas running. It is also much easier to upgrade software, so you can benefit more quickly from new features and software improvements.
  • You’re not tied to one place–you can access the information you need from any of your sites, from anywhere with an Internet connection, including mobile devices. So you can see any problems at your cinemas and fix them quickly.
  • It’s reliable. When you need your software to be up and running to make sure you don’t lose shows, having it cloud-hosted means the risk of failure is minimized. Companies such as Comcast, Netflix and Expedia all use Amazon Web Services (and we at AAM use AWS to host and back up our own systems too). AAM can make use of Amazon’s tools and expertise to make our systems much more resilient for our customers.
  • It’s very secure, read on to find out how…

Can I trust it?

Yes, you can. Typically, we hear that there are two things people are worried about when it comes to cloud technology: 1) unauthorized access and 2) the safety of their data.

To address the first point, we take security incredibly seriously, and use a number of techniques to prevent unauthorized access, including VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) or MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), and industry-standard encryption and authentication as used by banks to prevent unauthorized access.  We benefit from all the myriad security protection and processes Amazon has employed in AWS. We also have our software and systems regularly tested by specialized security consultants to ensure they can stand up against the latest threats.

As for keeping the data safe, the cloud makes managing disaster recovery much easier by syncing data and creating multiple backups. Cloud providers are constantly upgrading their data centers to maintain files as technology moves on, which is safer than storing something on physical media at one site.

So you get a system which means you don’t have to worry about the details and just works, plus you benefit from all the innovation and cool new opportunities the software and capabilities provide. Why wouldn’t you embrace the cloud?