A state-of-the-art digital media hub has sprung up in Dubai, designed to meet the demands of a tech-savvy and digitally-immersed Arab audience. With a focus on delivering content optimized for her engagement online, Vijaya Cherian is exploring this new-age facility integrated by Ideal Systems Her Group. There, every space becomes a potential production set.
In September, Dubai welcomed a new media venture aimed at catering to the Arab world’s Gen Z and Millennial demographics. Blinx is a brand new digital storytelling hub that occupies the entire second floor of Building 2 in Dubai Media City (DMC), creating engaging news and relevant short-form content across multiple platforms, from social media channels to the web. We aim to produce and distribute. , television, wearable devices, and the metaverse.
Central to Blinx’s vision is a 16,384-square-foot state-of-the-art facility that includes a pioneering Metaverse/Augmented Reality (XR) studio, state-of-the-art production equipment, and a control room. The entire office is designed as a set, with 6 studio cameras and about 15 ENG cameras installed. The studio is equipped with the latest live production tools, including AI-enhanced features aimed at helping content creators create virtual media content.
Blinx is the brainchild of Nakhle Elhage, a well-known general manager in the broadcast industry. His core team includes Chief Operations Officer Ruba Ibrahim and Chief Creative Officer Fadi Rady, who are currently part of his team of 160 employees working out of his Blinx headquarters in DMC. is leading.
“Our goal is to attract Gen Z viewers and Millennials who prefer to get all their information on social platforms, whether it’s news or entertainment today,” Elhaj says. “We are bringing live production experiences to multiple smart devices and screens, creating a comprehensive on-demand social ecosystem where MENA youth audiences can instantly discover culturally relevant content.”
The core of Blinx’s operations relies on an end-to-end 4K-capable audio and video chain facilitated by the latest NDI and Dante tools. The system was designed and implemented through a partnership between Blinx and system integrator Ideal Systems Group, which also worked closely with other solution providers.
An important aspect of social media content hubs is their focus on news operations. Targeting a young, digitally savvy audience, Blinx’s strategy relies on modern infrastructure and high-end production workflows. We have leveraged the potential of cloud, AI and data technologies to gain a strategic advantage over other media platforms.
As a result, the media entity has reported impressive numbers on its @blinxNOW and @blinxNEWS social media handles in just one month since its launch, with the former boasting an impressive digital footprint of 184 million users. I have a print. Early last month, the digital hub also launched @blinxNEWS, which provides extensive and exclusive news coverage of events in the Arab world.
“Some of us at Blinx come from the broadcast industry and know the value of content,” explains Ruba Ibrahim, COO. “We also know that digitally native young people need out-of-the-box content in the formats they prefer, and research supports this. A recent report from Vizrt found that Gen Z viewing 84% of respondents prefer to watch graphic-heavy content for storytelling, 75% want content optimized for mobile viewing, and 37% watch all content on their mobile phone. In the Arab world, approximately 55% of the population is under the age of 30 and they consume almost all content on their devices. They are our primary audience. Most of our staff and storytellers are young and best able to communicate with Gen Z and Millennial audiences.”
CCO Fadi Radi elaborates: “Traditional broadcasters often use a one-to-many communication model. However, digital platforms leverage personalization and interactive features to engage viewers more directly and meaningfully. Blinx is data-driven and uses AI extensively to reach audiences through scientific methodology.”
Coming up with a completely new concept that didn’t exist in the Middle East, Brinks provides studio lighting, file-based infrastructure, IT infrastructure, IPTV, video walls, XR studios, production kits, graphics, MAM and NRCS systems, and Editing suite.
“They wanted something that stood out and was unique compared to other projects in the market, and Blinx had some firsts,” said Ideal Systems ME Managing Director Director Ayman Alkhatib explains. “For example, this is the first NDI-based social media hub in the MENA region. They wanted operators and journalists to be able to access the system and operate production tools remotely. Additionally, traditional studios We wanted to set the filming standard to UHD quality, utilize every space within the Blinx facility as a potential filming location, and fully automate studio production. was part of the obligation.”
Blinx’s core video infrastructure leverages NDI technology to seamlessly transmit video signals over IP-based networks. At the same time, Dante technology over IP underpins the audio infrastructure, ensuring a seamless and efficient production process. A Sony 4K camera with Fujinon 4K broadcast lenses powers the studio set. For audio, Blinx uses Sennheiser Dante-based wireless microphones and his IEM system, perfectly meeting the studio’s audio needs.
The core video backend is anchored to the Sienna NDI infrastructure and provides a comprehensive suite of NDI processing tools. Blinx uniquely integrates Sienna’s redundant NDI routers with Densitron’s control system, providing seamless routing capabilities and allowing customers to establish redundant Tier-1 broadcast cores using his NDI technology. In the audio domain, Blinx employs a native Dante-based audio console and SSL processing module to provide an agile and adaptable audio production platform.
A notable feature of Blinx’s setup is that it incorporates Liantronics’ XR studio set and LED screen, providing a cost-effective solution for XR/AR production. “We worked with Liantronics, a supplier of fine-pitch LED displays, to build his XR production studio that utilizes the latest LED technology and tracking systems,” Alkhatib explains.
To meet its PCR production needs, Blinx relies on Viz Vectar, Tricaster panels, and Mosart automation. The creative team’s production and operational requirements are met through Vizrt’s graphics component.
For seamless video conversion, Blinx uses AJA and Kiloview NDI gateways and converters to provide smooth transitions between SDI, NDI, and HDMI. In addition, Blinx is equipped with a hybrid MAM and NRCS system to support story creation and media content production operations. For media storage requirements, we utilize solutions from GB Labs and Object Matrix to ensure all media production needs are met with efficiency and reliability.
Blinx’s studio complex is equipped with a hybrid MAM and NRCS system supported by AWS cloud and AI services. These systems enable Blinx to effectively create and manage media content and provide a better user experience. Scale to any number of users using a hybrid storage infrastructure between on-premises nearline storage and cloud-based archive.
This part of the project, along with project management, system architecture planning, and implementation of an integrated cloud newsroom and media production workflow, was carried out by Kunnusta, part of Fonn Group, with support from Ideal Systems.
Mimir is a cloud-based video collaboration and production tool that forms the backbone of Blinx’s editing suite. Dina, a cloud newsroom tool, powers news and editorial workflows, while Vizrt powers graphics, virtual studio, and playout automation tools. Videos and images can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and can be reused across multiple applications within Blinx. This includes ingesting video content via NDI, finding and adding media to news articles in Dina, and publishing articles with videos, graphics, and images on multiple platforms.
“Our cloud-based infrastructure allows us to cost-effectively scale to support a variety of platforms by customizing graphics and video production for each platform, allowing our staff to work from anywhere in the world. You have access to daily newsroom and video production tools. NDI technology ensures flexibility and scalability at a lower cost than traditional broadcast infrastructure,” explains Radi.
According to reports, Mimir offers robust features, extensibility, and integration with various AI and production workflow tools when it comes to video management and collaboration. Integrating AI into her Blinx operations enables content recommendation and creation, personalization, automatic tagging, and metadata generation and enrichment. AI helps improve searchability and optimize content for search engine rankings by enriching video and media assets with metadata. Videos can be easily transcribed into any language, making it easy to find assets based on spoken words in the transcript, object and face detection, and many other AI-generated parameters.
To cater to users who prefer graphics-heavy content, Blinx employs Vizrt tools to create high-quality virtual sets, augmented reality (AR) graphics, and interactive elements. Remote production and automation tools allow Blinx to produce his 4K-ready content in the cloud, allowing it to be viewed on a variety of devices in viewers’ preferred formats, each with different graphics for each device. will be set. Deploying a futuristic, fully digital infrastructure, Blinx represents the future of news and content consumption, delivering a modern media hub that leverages personalization and interactivity to engage audiences. Data-driven and AI-enabled technologies are transforming content consumption for young audiences, making content more engaging and interactive. Blinx’s workflow between tools and automation supports easy virtual production, enhances the storytelling experience, and is well-suited for live production. At its heart, Blinx is a force for change in the media landscape, catering to the evolving tastes of younger generations and harnessing the full potential of technology and innovation.
Blinx has introduced 16,384 square feet of new Metaverse space designed by Tech Mahindra. This digital version seamlessly mirrors a physical office in the Metaverse, providing users with an immersive and engaging experience.
At the heart of the project is accurate 3D modeling to faithfully represent Blinx office spaces, creation of realistic 3D assets, and seamless interactivity including voice and text chat, screen sharing, video embedding, and event hosting tools. various elements such as integration. Additionally, Metaverse space harmoniously blends with Spatial technology to ensure accessibility across different devices and platforms. Users can interact with his Blinx app content such as videos and sections in 2D format within the Metaverse and enjoy real-time streaming of events. An expanded amphitheater space can accommodate large audiences for viewing parties and events, while interactive non-player characters enrich the user’s experience.
The implementation process includes platform compatibility, rigorous testing to ensure performance, responsive content delivery from Blinx apps, and protection of user data and privacy, especially where user authentication and access control are concerned. We focus on robust security measures.
The Blinx Office Metaverse project is a cross-platform virtual environment that combines a visually appealing design with a technology stack featuring Unity, Spatial, and VR/AR tools to provide adaptability and extensibility in line with its goals. Create a. Users access this virtual space through an easy-to-use interface, customize their avatars, and interact with NPCs. This space is further enhanced with realistic 3D models and animations, real-time voice and text chat, avatar personalization options, and project management tools that facilitate collaborative development.