Cisco is the newest founding member and Innovation Partner for Walt Disney Studios' StudioLAB, an initiative aimed at developing next-generation media and entertainment.
Cisco is the second partner for the StudioLAB, which is based on Disney Studios’ lot in Burbank, California. When the new program was announced in March, Accenture was tapped as a founding member.
“We are aligning with best-of-breed technology companies to support our vision for StudioLAB. Our goal is to jointly innovate and apply emerging technologies to support our production capabilities and help build new entertainment experiences,” said Benjamin Havey, vice president of the Technology Innovation Group at Walt Disney Studios, in a statement. “We are very pleased to welcome Cisco as a StudioLAB Innovation Partner, as we combine the best of Silicon Valley and Hollywood to help our storytellers tell their very best stories. Through this partnership, we can push the boundaries of how content can be created and consumed.”
Cisco’s first areas of focus with StudioLAB will be improving remote collaboration for production and direction teams, improving security for content throughout the production workflow and helping push media production away from SDI and toward IP-based architectures.
David Ward, senior vice president, CTO and chief architect at Cisco, said Cisco has already spent several years working with media production companies, but it wanted to go further.
“We wanted to work with a partner in Hollywood on the lot. We wanted to get more into the production side and in particular on immersive experiences,” Ward said.
Ward said Disney agreed it needed a place where it and technology companies can co-innovate and co-develop, thus the StudioLAB was born as a space focused on building new media and entertainment experiences for virtual reality, augmented reality, theme parks, movie theaters, retail and more.
Ward said Cisco can of course bring a lot of computing power to the partnership, but it also plans to leverage its collaboration portfolio and new social media experiences. The company wants to make it easier for teams working on collaborative and multisite projects as well as push security and IP transition.
Right now, Ward said Cisco is primarily working with Disney’s preproduction teams as well as the Imagineering team. He said consumers and production teams can expect to soon see StudioLAB developments being used in theater lobbies, OTT distribution and production workflows
When asked if StudioLAB developments will become available to other media and entertainment companies, Ward said it really depends project by project. He said the technologies Cisco creates can be freely brought to market, but technologies that Cisco and Disney collaboratively create will remain within the Disney Studios system.
Cisco announced the new partnership with Disney during its XR by the Bay event this week. Ward said the event is about bringing Hollywood and Silicon Valley closer together, adding that the two worlds don’t “cross-pollinate” enough.
Speakers during the multiday event include Hanno Basse, CTO of the 20th Century Fox Film Corp.; Christina Lee Storm, vice president of emerging technology at DreamWorks Animation; and Gary Radburn, director of workstation virtualization, AR and VR at Dell.