MediaHack with Edit Share and AWS by Rosario Blue

Coding Black Females, EditShare and Amazon Web Services (AWS) held an online event on the 28th November 2020, MediaHack with EditShare and AWS. It involved talks from industry experts and workshops, in which they gave attendees a taste of what AWS and EditShare have to offer. Professional insights were shared, and there was a prize draw and cool swag given out. And, oh, it was all free!

Coding Black Females

It began with an introduction from EditShare CEO Conrad Clemson.

“At EditShare, our business is built on storytelling. We help our storytellers to amplify different kinds of stories and perspectives and narratives. That amplification can take on many forms — it’s really the result of a collective effort of our team … for me, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is a cornerstone for our culture and who we are.”

MediaHack with EditShare and Amazon Web Services (AWS)

EditShare, which operates out of Basingstoke and Massachusetts in the UK and US respectively, considers its mission to be to “simplify storytelling”. They provide media management and smart workflow solutions, and networked shared storage for media, education and post-production. They provide efficient and innovative ways of working and continue to grow and expand every day.

A user can make use of EditShare’s EFS — EditShare File System — and media-centric storage environment to manage and share media and collaborate. They can also use the company’s Flow platform, an asset manager that provides media management and remote access tools. Some of these tools are available on EFSv, EditShare’s cloud platform, which allows for collaborative media workflow using Amazon Web Services and EditShare.

EditShare has customers in various industries, including advertising, broadcasting, education, sports, corporate, production and news. Some companies that use EditShare’s systems include Stratosphere advertising, Japanese broadcasting corporation NHK, Marvel, NASA, Apple, STV, Spotify, NFL Films, and Beijing Film Academy.

After Clemson and a demo of ESFv, the session continued with a presentation by Niall Duffy, partner manager at AWS. He talked about the services his company offers, its culture, and media and entertainment. This provided some insight into the way the company feels and its approach to diversity and inclusion.

Niall also took the time to tell us about Amazon’s “affinity groups”, which are organisations that are supported by the company. Some of these include the Black Employee Network (BEN) [email protected], Amazon Women in Engineering, [email protected], etc.

Watch the MediaHack Event with EditShare and AWS on 28th November 2021

“All of it’s driven by what we call the Leadership Principles,” Duffy says. There are fourteen Leadership Principles at Amazon, which guide the company’s culture and attitude towards its customers and staff.

Niall brought out stats about the racial makeup of leadership and employee roles within the company, highlighting the disparity between the number of leadership roles undertaken by black and other minority ethnic groups compared to the white majority. He also provided advice on joining the media industry and AWS.

We were then introduced to Sinead Greenaway, Chief Technology and Operations Officer (CTOO) at UKTV. Sinead gave a talk about her experience in tech and radio, and her belief in the importance of representation, inclusion and diversity. She provided helpful advice and insights into her successful career spanning over twenty years.

“I’m often in rooms where I am the only female, let alone the only person of any diversity. And look, we’ve got tons better. Lots of production businesses are actually very female-heavy … the events of this year have been just awful. You think about what happened around George Floyd, but it’s sent a tremor, and finally every business — not just in media entertainment — has diversity and inclusion at its heart. For me, it’s about levelling up. I’m a board rep for our diversity and inclusion program … representation is incredibly important.”

Sinead was earnest about the lack of diversity within the tech and radio industry and that there hasn’t been much change since she started. Her experience was even more unique because at the time she was moving up in her career there were barely any women in the industry, let alone women of colour.

“Recognising my white privilege … as tricky as it is being a female in this world, anything else is even more complex … I want us to level up. I want everyone to feel like they’ve got the same opportunity. I want everyone to feel that we embrace difference. I think we’ve got a terrible tick in the industry of acting like we’re fixing people — and actually, this is about behaviour at its core. We as leaders of businesses need to recognise that the best thing that can be happening in our room is we’re looking at people who aren’t like us who have different ideas.”

Her parting wisdom for working in tech and the media industry was to “Keep things simple. [Use] simple descriptions of solutions — lots of questions to get you to very simple language. Don’t feel the pressure of having to know all the ologies and all these fancy words. Actually, business is about what you’re delivering for the business and how you’re pushing it forward. So I think there’s something about not feeling the pressure. And, actually, find the bits you like: don’t feel the pressure of doing stuff you don’t like. Your path will find itself.”

Following these illuminating talks, we tested EditShare and AWS serverless technologies by building a full-stack serverless ride-sharing app with AWS Lambda.

Chris Fane, senior solutions architect at AWS took us through a presentation that covered how everything works and what we would be doing. He talked about the ways computing has evolved over the years, and key trends surrounding serverless technology and some of its benefits.

The advantage of serverless technology is it requires no maintenance, continuously scales up and charges users based on usage.

“These automated services,” said Chris, “take the code you’ve written and deploy it for your users to access it, and then they’ll scale up and down the application if needed.”

This means developers can work faster and focus on problems that require their full attention.

Serverless means you don’t have to worry about the hardware and maintaining and updating it, because there is no server management to worry about. Application scaling focuses on user demand, so it’s flexible. Your code is always running and is spread across several physical computers to protect against single hardware failure. It’s super-cost-efficient because at no point you’re paying for an idle server.

Lambda caters to any programming language that suits you. It has flexible invocation paths and its simple resource model allows you to choose whatever amount of memory you want to use for it; the allotted network and CPU is split proportionately to the chosen RAM. You can use AWS Identity Management to fine-tune your app’s permissions.

You can combine this with other Amazon technologies. Amazon’s API Gateway is a fully managed service for developers to publish and create APIs. The AWS Amplify Console is where you can deploy your web applications, and Amazon’s fast and flexible database service, and you can use DynamoDB to serve your users data. Amazon Cognito is a simple, fully managed service that allows users to sign up and sign in to applications via user pools or federated user identities from providers such as Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, it was helpful to get an understanding of EditShare and AWS. Testing out the various technologies and learning about ways to integrate them into businesses and as tools for smarter working has been eye-opening.

Coding Black Females continue to create real opportunities and events that ensure the tech world’s growth includes black women. It does more than talk diversity and inclusion, it acts upon it, and this MediaHack event is an excellent example of that.

MediaHack with EditShare and AWS was sponsored by EditShare. If you didn’t catch this event don’t despair, MediaHack part 2 takes place on Saturday, June 19 at 12 pm BST and 7 am EST. You can sign up for it here and check out the EditShare company profile page here.

Written by Rosario Blue