The IBC show in Amsterdam is approaching. Between now and then Radio World will conduct several short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the big international trade show. Andreas Hilmer is director marketing & communications for Lawo.
Radio World: How has business been for the company since last year’s IBC show?
Andreas Hilmer: Business has been good, and the future looks bright too. IP-based products and software virtualization are hot topics driving the broadcast industry at the moment, two technological horizons on which Lawo is at the forefront. We’ve been involved in lots of high-profile projects since IBC 2016, such Lawo gear chosen to outfit OB vans for NEP Australia, Gearhouse USA and ACS Hungary. We’ve also seen quite a lot of radio and TV projects at commercial, educational and state broadcasters around the globe, live sound installations at important venues like the “Philharmonie de Paris” and the “Elbphilharmony” in Hamburg, and the use of our products at big international sporting and musical events, such as the Latin Grammys.
Radio World: 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?
Hilmer: Broadcasters are very eager to grow their audience across all segments — TV, Radio and online. We expect to see plenty of growth this year in cross-platform media, made possible by production systems that are flexible and efficient enough to supply content to consumers no matter the delivery system.
Radio World: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at IBC2017?
Hilmer: AES67! Broadcasters are all clamoring for IP-based facilities and IP-connected gear, and they’re especially keen on open AoIP standards — they don’t want to be put in a box by someone’s proprietary networking scheme. We also think that virtualization will gain momentum, as engineers affirm the value of scalable, cost-efficient software running on COTS computing platforms, versus racks of expensive, single-purpose hardware.
Lawo’s latest radio mixing console, ruby, is an excellent example of how combining AES67 with software virtualization can give broadcasters more power and flexibility, even while reducing installed costs.
We’re also hearing a lot about remote production and production-in-the-cloud, both of which have already become reality for major international sporting events.
Radio World: You’ve been active in the consoles and routers market for 47 years. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing users in this segment right now?
Hilmer: Operational efficiency. Today’s broadcast environment demands that content be produced with less staff, and on a shorter cycle, than in the past. To meet this challenge, broadcasters need consoles that are intuitive and easy to operate, while also being feature-rich, with automated functions and customizable workflows that help speed content production. This applies to every broadcast segment, whether you’re talking about Radio, TV, live sound, or even theater operations.
Radio World: How has IP technology affected your company?
Hilmer: IP has been an integral part of Lawo’s product set since it first came on the scene. In fact, we were a charter and sustaining member of the committee that developed and ratified the AES67 standard, as well as founding members of the MNA and AIMS. We’ve been planning for the convergence of IP-based audio and video systems for years, which is why all of our product lines are IP based.
IP is amazingly powerful. Never before have broadcasters enjoyed the ability to integrate systems, share resources and reduce costs in the ways IP has made possible.
Radio World: What new products will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit your booth?
Hilmer: We will have a lot for visitors to see on our booth 8.B50! Lawo will present new features for the mc² console family, the world-standard for live-audio production. Our new ruby radio console will debut at IBC, featuring a streamlined physical worksurface with context-sensitive touchscreen functions. We’ll also be introducing a new set of Virtual Modules for V__matrix, our software-defined video IP-routing / processing platform. And we’ll be talking with clients about the industry’s current migration to Broadcast 3.0, which is based on the cornerstones of IP transport, software-defined processing, orchestration and seamless control of network resources, and automated workflows.
Radio World: Is the IBC Show a good investment?
Hilmer: Yes. IBC is the biggest trade show in broadcasting! It covers all corners of the industry, big and small, and there’s plenty of innovation and fresh thinking on display. As such it’s a big catalyst driving the future of our industry. And it’s also a great place both to make new friends and connect with longtime clients.
Radio World: What’s your favorite thing about the IBC show?
Hilmer: All of the new ideas buzzing around the halls, and the commitment of everyone who’s involved.
Radio World: Social media is the new marketing frontier these days. Is it affecting the way your company does marketing/business?
Hilmer: Social media is great for quickly informing existing and future clients about important news and product information. Lawo uses it extensively.