As IBC2016 gets closer, 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 big annual trade show. Ken Frommert is general manager of ENCO Systems.
Ken Frommert is general manager of ENCO SystemsRadio World: How has business been for the company since IBC2015?
Ken Frommert: Business continues to be brisk across TV and radio. The radio business is seeing an interesting evolution with the incorporation of more “new media” platforms and technologies, notably on the streaming side.
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?
Frommert: Two thousand and sixteen was the year that radio broadcasters really came comfortable with adopting well-rounded streaming initiatives. This is partially because of the evolution in technology, but also because they see a clearer path to stream monetization. While over-the-air remains the most ideal model to deliver radio content, we expect to see further adoption of streaming models, and tighter integration with traditional automation workflows. ENCO is driving that initiative through our new partnership with StreamGuys, a CDN that serves radio and TV broadcasters.
RW: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend, generally speaking, at IBC2016?
Frommert: Like last year, we anticipate that IBC will be all about IP and the cloud. Broadcasters have become very comfortable with using IP as a means to distribute content, whether moving program audio and data between studios in a local facility; or externally to remote studios and transmitter sites. In regards to the cloud, broadcasters are now applying these technologies in the real world, and finding there are real efficiencies to leverage between lower operating costs and higher flexibility.
RW: What new products will your company be showing?
Frommert: Visual Radio has arrived, and is really representative of how radio broadcasters are enhancing their streaming models. This product was first developed in response to interest in specific international regions, but this is really starting to evolve into a global interest. Additionally, our enCloud suite will be shown in Europe for the first time, giving our customers a set of flexible tools to use in the field for mobile journalism, remote control and other applications.
RW: How is this new product (or products) different from what’s available from your past products, and elsewhere on the market?
Frommert: Visual Radio excels by bringing all the pieces together into a singular platform for tighter integration. Most video for radio systems rely on disparate components and workflows to stitch everything together. We are removing that burden from our customers. enCloud is significant because it does not require that radio stations establish a VPN. This is important because many radio stations don’t have knowledgeable IT technicians in house. So there is greater simplicity in putting these very refined web-based tools and mobile applications to use very quickly.
RW: What’s your favorite thing about the IBC show Your least favorite?
Frommert: There are many things we like about IBC. First, the show and the venue are fantastic. There is a more gradual pace to the show that makes it easier to have meaningful conversations with customers. That is not always easy at some other shows with a more hectic pace.
RW: Do you have any suggestions that would make the show a better experience for exhibitors and/or attendees?
Frommert: I always thought it might be interesting if the show dates were moved to Monday–Friday. We have heard from some of our customers that the weekend dates actually make it harder to attend, and they choose to come Monday and Tuesday. This makes it harder for them to see everyone.