Guest Blog: Lorenzo Fernández, VSNCrea’s Tech Lead

Lorenzo Fernández Rojo is VSNCrea’s Tech Lead. Outside the office, he is a sports lover: football and paddle tennis until injuries left him and, currently, cycling and weightlifting. This Telecommunications Engineer has a PhD in Automation and Computer Vision. Before joining VSN, he spent five years in a research group focused on creating algorithms to build maps of indoor environments using mobile robots and omnidirectional cameras. In March 2015, he joined the VSNCrea team and since 2021 leads our BMS team. With his expert voice, he tells us in this interview about its main features, strengths and the challenges ahead. If you want to know more about VSNCrea, do not hesitate to check here the product information. 

What do you think are the main strengths of VSNCrea? 

Lorenzo Fernández: First of all, I would emphasize that we are talking about a web application, which allows us to access it from any browser. This clashes strongly with the alternatives we find in the market, which are usually desktop applications. It should also be noted that VSNCrea is designed for a multi-tenant environment in the cloud. Its development is designed from the beginning so that several clients with different channels can run on the same server. I would also focus on the integration with different video servers and the complete integration with our MAM system, VSNExplorer, and with our workflow system, VSNExplorer BPM. 

You mentioned the integration between VSNCrea and VSNExplorer. What are its advantages? 

Lorenzo Fernández: For me, one of its main advantages is the fact that with this integration, we can preview directly in VSNCrea a production that you are going to end up broadcasting on your channel. That production is in your archive, in VSNExplorer. In addition, we can segment that content. This allows you to see what you are going to broadcast and also the segmentations at the frame level that you are going to put in each program. All this is transparent to the user. Once you have configured it, when you create a production, an asset is created in our MAM system and once you have uploaded the video, that information appears in VSNCrea and you can start planning and segmenting. I think this is a very interesting addition for our clients. 

How do you think the technology of VSNCrea has evolved over the years? 

Lorenzo Fernández: When I started working at VSN in 2015, we began to think about creating a new solution. At that time, we were using a Java desktop application that was getting old due to the type of use that our clients were starting to use it for. Nowadays, anyone can work remotely, it is not necessary to be in an office and all this is easier if the application is web-based.   

At that point, we started to develop a web application, with a new service, in this case, C#, which was more modern, and the front end used Javascript. There has been an important evolution because we have gone from a desktop application to a much more updated web system. 

Which was the biggest challenge you’ve faced with VSNCrea’s development? 

Lorenzo Fernández: The integration with the rest of the applications to be able to expand the product was a big challenge. We are talking about the full integration of VSNCrea with VSNExplorer, our MAM system, and with our workflow manager, VSNExplorer BPM. This allows us to integrate with any client through our professional services team, which was a goal we set last year.   

In addition, an additional integration has been made with our user system to be able to have shared users in all VSN’s applications. Now your VSNExplorer user is the same as your VSNCrea user. 

Which aspects do you think you have improved over the last year? 

Lorenzo Fernández: During this last year, we have worked with many new customers and done many developments. The non-linear module of VSNCrea has been improved and we will work on it. Ultimately, clients want to upload their content to digital environments like YouTube or Switchmedia.  

However, that doesn’t mean we are leaving the linear part aside. We have also spent hours improving planning, service orders, contracts, rights packages, etc. We already had a very advanced work in progress, but we had to improve it and see it in operation in the clients, which is the actual fire test. We have also done a lot of integration with video servers, which, considering that it is a broadcast application, is fundamental. In the end, what our linear client needs is to be able to create a playlist to insert into a video server. 

If you could spotlight an essential aspect of VSNCrea, which one would it be? 

Lorenzo Fernández: I would say that VSNCrea is a very configurable system. We have a metadata editor that allows you to add any type of metadata to any entity. The users themselves can go in and add any metadata they need. They don’t have to request it from us; they go in, they edit it, and it automatically appears in the service orders, in the rights packages, in the contracts, etc. This is one aspect that differentiates us quite a bit from others. We also have rules for this metadata, so our customers can predefine certain behaviors.   

I would also highlight that VSNCrea is conceived and designed to be in the cloud. This is very remarkable because it allows us to have different tenants for different customers and, in addition, they can manage different channels in the BMS. In addition, they can also manage permissions to control who enters one part of VSNCrea and who has access to another. This allows different teams from the same client to work on the same application without interfering with each other. 

When you plan the development of a product, what is the most critical thing from your point of view? 

Lorenzo Fernández: From my point of view, knowing where the market is going and its trends is essential. The opinion of our customers is also crucial. In the end, it is interesting to understand how they use the application in a real case to improve it. Last but not least, we also have to consider the developers’ opinions, who, in the end, are shaping the product. They have a unique point of view to see what can be added and what can be improved.  

I start with these three premises, but we also have Toni Vilalta, our Product Development Director, who always gives us a superior view of the needs. Not only of those that users present to him but also of his own needs that he can observe in his daily use of our solutions. These are the four pillars on which I rely. 

What are the future challenges you have foreseen in the roadmap this year?  

Lorenzo Fernández: First, we need to strengthen the integration with our workflow system, which, although it is very advanced, we can improve on some points, such as periodic executions, which is a very interesting point to have in VSNCrea. Likewise, we are going to advance in the integration with several video servers. All this added to the continuous work of improving the application to reduce errors that we find and continue adapting to the needs that arise in the market. 

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