TV TECH: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trends at the 2022 NAB Show?
CIARÁN DORAN: The continued move toward software applications that can be virtualized, sometimes in the cloud, is an area that Rohde & Schwarz is watching closely, working on and delivering to those customers for whom it makes sense.
The pandemic forced our industry to work in smarter and more flexible ways, with a pressing need to enable production, playout and creative staff to work from any location. Now that customers (and their employees) have had a taste of freedom they want more—it is not just that they want to be able to work remotely, (often the opposite); it is the fact that they now see the benefits of changing workflows to create content or playout/deliver that content to viewers in smarter, more efficient ways.
TVT: What will be your most important product news?
DORAN: As part of a wider strategy to deliver an end-to-end, cloud-based and hybrid ecosystem, we are developing a fully modularized video server software that will run on any cloud platform and allow studio-based production teams to handle tasks such as ingest, transcoding and quality control (QC) workflows in the cloud, along with monitoring and multiviewing on premise or in the cloud, too. The software modules are standards-based, support a range of signal formats from SDI to SMPTE ST 2110, as well as streaming formats like NDI and SRT processing.
Providing cloud capability through our video server and storage platforms means Rohde & Schwarz can meet the rising demand for remote production and deliver truly collaborative workflows that allow creative staff to work from any location without compromise.
TVT: How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?
DORAN: The major hesitancies around moving to cloud revolve around the need for rock solid robustness and security, which customers are used to and can rely on with traditional hardware on premise workflows. We are giving them this security and reliability along with the flexibility and scalability that the cloud offers.
We acknowledge that any change process is challenging for the operators, which is why we make all our solutions available through a familiar user interface (UI)—the same interface whether the solution is on premise or in the cloud. This gives operators confidence that their shows can be seamlessly produced today and tomorrow. The cloud-ready software modules will give customers all the flexibility, scalability and reliability that they are familiar with from existing on-premise products such as the multi-codec media server, R&S®VENICE. We are also providing a user experience that customers will be familiar with from SDI environments as they move into the world of streaming.
TVT: How has the pandemic affected your company’s business over the past two years and how will it impact how you exhibit at this year’s show?
DORAN: The disruptive OTT and VOD companies, who adapted rapidly to the new reality, delivered a shock to mainstream broadcasters who now need to catch up. Humans often need a wake-up call before they’ll adopt change, even if they already knew it was the right thing to do. For our business, the broadcasters and the end consumers, that’s a good thing. We’re busy helping both traditional broadcasters and the OTT and VOD companies develop those changes needed to deliver more content to consumers faster and more efficiently.
With almost no face-to-face interactions with customers and industry colleagues for two years, we all had to adapt to keep engagement going. We are used to that now and while tradeshows will still have a role to play, it will be different, with more networking and relationship building as the focus. We expect smaller events in 2022 versus 2019 with fewer but the more important customers and exhibitors in attendance. Gone are the days of the gravy train to Vegas and Amsterdam—highly focussed buyer-meets-seller networking events is what they will/should become.