IBC2017 is approaching. Between now and then Radio World offers a series of short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the annual trade show. Charlie Gawley is VP international sales APAC/EMEA for Tieline.
Radio World: How has business been for the company since last year’s IBC Show?
Charlie Gawley: It’s been a year of significant growth. Our new portable codec ViA, which offers support for bonded IP links, ISDN, POTS and much more, has taken the world by storm. There have also been a number of large network installations of our codecs for studio-to-transmitter links.
RW: What are you hearing from your customers about their business outlook this year? In what areas should we expect growth or the most interesting projects?
Gawley: While no two markets are the same, the overall trend is continual growth in IP. There are those that dive straight in with the confidence to use features like our SmartStream Plus IP streaming diversity and bonding/aggregation of IP interfaces using Fuse-IP. Others have taken a “let’s put the toe in the water approach,” whereby they use IP when required and use ISDN for as long as it’s available. We are uniquely positioned as our portable codec is the only one on the market that meets all the above requirements.
RW: How are your European and other international operations and efforts faring?
Gawley: While some markets are challenging, others are quite buoyant. From a European perspective Tieline had had continual growth in sales, coupled with a strengthening of relationships in new and existing markets.
RW: Is the IBC Show a good investment?
Gawley: For Tieline most certainly. We’ve been coming to IBC for around 15 years and for the EMEA market IBC is by far the most effective show for reaching out to customers in this region. It continues to be a source of valuable feedback in terms of industry best practice workflows and the challenges broadcasters face. This often leads to innovations in product design.
RW: What new goodies will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit your booth?
Gawley: Come and see us on Stand 8.E74 where we will be presenting SIP for Report-IT Enterprise the world’s most popular smartphone codec for newsgathering. This new version of the app will support streaming live, studio-quality audio to all N/ACIP 3326 compliant codecs.
In addition to this we have some exciting new features just released in new firmware for the Genie and Merlin codecs. These include a new HTML5 Toolbox web browser GUI for all codec control and configuration, a powerful automated program scheduler and enhanced network security features, plus numerous other new features.
A preview of a new ViA codec firmware release will also be unveiled, with new routing and audio processing options on display.
RW: Codecs look to be a mature piece of equipment, what new technology is next on the horizon — where do codecs go from here?
Gawley: While it’s correct that codecs have been around for years, there are many to choose from with a great variety of solutions. Although some offer the same compression algorithms, no two are the same. There’s great variety in design and the “secret sauce.” Take the ViA codec as an example: It is equipped with three onboard IP interfaces (two Gigabit Ethernet ports), built-in dual-band Wi-Fi and two USB ports for cellular modems. But wait there’s more! An optional module slot will allow an ISDN or POTS module to be added, and we will soon release our 4G LTE module. It is this modular approach that we have adopted in our codecs for over a decade, that allows broadcasters to maximise their return on investment. We can adapt our hardware as technology moves forward.
RW: You’ve been active in the codec market for years. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing users in this segment right now?
Gawley: For remote outside broadcasts, increasingly the talent is out in the field with no engineering support as broadcasters try to do more with less. To cater for this sort of change we have an “Admin Mode” in our new ViA codec, which is switchable to a “Basic User Mode” that is configurable.
RW: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2017 IBC Show?
Gawley: Overall for broadcasters generally, the pervasiveness of IP is the continuing trend. From Tieline’s perspective, we are experienced in this sector and understand that budgets are tight and engineers need to do more with less. In light of this, we have recently developed automated scheduling capabilities in multistream IP codecs, and we believe this will assist engineers to manage their networks more effectively.
RW: You’re a show veteran, what’s your favorite thing about the IBC show?
Gawley: Plain and simple it is getting to talk with customers old and new face-to-face, and learning about the broadcast challenges or frustrations they encounter in their day-to-day lives. I enjoy working with them to develop new and innovative hardware or software solutions.
RW: How has IP technology affected your company?
Gawley: Whilst IP is a buzz in the world of radio and TV broadcasting, Tieline has been enabling broadcasters to conduct live IP broadcasts for over a decade now over the public internet. From the early years we provided support for automatic jitter buffer management, forward error correction, network failover and algorithms with great error concealment and repair.
Increasingly more and more broadcasters are not only migrating their live audio requirements to IP from the likes of ISDN, but they are also adopting audio over IP in the studio, hence why we embraced Wheatstone’s WheatNet-IP IP five years ago. I envisage we will see a greater drive among manufacturers to provide inoperability for AoIP with the likes of AES67 in the studio, as we saw over 10 years ago with the EBU ACIP 3326 standard for interoperability of codecs over IP. Whilst these standards allow for the core elements to pass through, they ultimately don’t deliver the “secret sauce” that pioneering manufacturers like ourselves deliver.
RW: Social media is the new marketing frontier these days. Is it affecting the way your company does marketing/business?
Gawley: Nothing beats face to face and traditional methods such as print and traditional digital media for advertising. Increasingly social media is a space we are becoming more active in, particularly as the engineering demographics shift.