It is obligatory for every article, blog, tweet or podcast about the broadcast industry to start out by saying it is in the middle of massive change. Yes, we know it is. What we really need to know is how to navigate the choppy waters of change and sail successfully into the future.
We are moving from traditional hardware devices towards software applications hosted on standard computers – in your building or in the cloud – connected over the sort of IP networks that until now you have only used to send documents from your laptop to the printer.
We are also moving from traditional broadcasters who tell us what programmes we are going to watch at certain times, to a vast number of channels, catch-up and VoD services, and streaming to multiple devices – including television.
This means that broadcasters and media companies, and the vendors that supply them, have to change almost completely. And if you are a telco, you probably understand network design, but now you are a broadcaster.
For vendors, the challenges are probably tougher than for anyone else. There is a fundamental shift from a broadcast lifecycle of (1) design and install a system; (2) run it unchanged and largely untouched for seven years; (3) redefine the requirements and go back to step 1.
Implementing media functionality in software, running on standard computers, changes everything. First, the hardware performance will improve, regularly, without you doing anything, which may or may not be a good thing.
Second, you are now expected to develop the product on software timelines, which means a new release at least once a year, and fixes to be developed immediately.
As a vendor, you identify the right direction for your products, identify a brilliant new idea that the market will love, but how are you going to develop the software (and, where necessary, the hardware)? And how are you going to support it once installed?
And now the biggie – how are you going to sell it? Can you reach the new potential markets? Do your sales staff know and understand the new market? Are they fluent in the new technology? Can they reassure your potential customers that you recognise and appreciate their pain points?
As in any business, your most critical asset is your people. This is the moment to invest in them, to ensure that you have the right skills in-house by bringing in fresh thinking. Without the right resources, can you really fulfil your business plan and therefore, potential? Do you risk the cardinal sin of over-promising and under-delivering?
Finding the right people in the right place at the right time is what we do. We have a global reach, headquartered in Europe, and bases in North America, the Middle East and the Far East.
We’re at NAB, on booth SL5130, or you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org