As IBC2015 gets closer, we continue our series of short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the annual trade show. Rich Redmond is chief products officer for GatesAir.
Radio World: How has business been for the company since last year’s IBC Show?
Rich Redmond: We’ve experienced growth success in global markets. We have been fortunate to participate in digital radio conversions in countries like Norway and Sweden where they are advancing their DAB platforms. We have also seen broadcasters reinvest in analog FM across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, where they will have significant time to operate FM platforms; and want the best performance and lowest operating costs as they plan for digital radio. We are starting to see a potential expansion of digital radio in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the availability of new FM licenses. And in the Americas, there tends to be a strong mix of HD Radio in North America, and both new licenses and analog network expansion in Latin America.
RW: How has IP technology affected your company and its product development?
Redmond: Over time, we have seen IP go from a curious option to a required product capability. Broadcasters expect products to have Web browsers, remote software updates via in-system programming, and SNMP monitoring and control. Our Intraplex products support that approach and in the case of our products they support that approach and extend to wide-ranging audio transport and networking. From STL and remote broadcasting to embedded IP capability across large DAB networks, we fully support IP as a flexible transport mechanism and networking platform.
RW: What new goodies will your company be showing at IBC? Why should attendees visit your stand?
Redmond: We’ll show advances in IP delivery with a next-generation IP Link featuring synchronous FM operation. We’ll debut our Flexiva FLX liquid-cooled transmitter internationally, featuring exceptionally high efficiency for liquid-cooled solid-state transmission. And we’ll show our high-efficiency Maxiva VHF transmitters for DAB digital radio and digital TV. Also, we’ll co-exhibit advanced transmitter and content monitoring solutions with Qligent, a company that specialized in cloud-based QC, monitoring and signal analysis. Finally, IBC will be the international debut of VMXpress IP, the new AoIP edge device we introduced for multichannel, facility-wide studio networking.
RW: The Internet has changed the way people do business. Some would say that it has rendered shows such as the IBC obsolete. Is this true?
Redmond: The Internet has changed the way customers research and do business. I wouldn’t say it’s rendered IBC obsolete, but the days of people coming to the show to make purchases are mostly past. Similarly, few people coming to the booth are hearing about a new product for the first time due to the significant increase in marketing efforts online and in advance of big shows. The fact of the matter is that visitors are very pressed for time and focused on seeing manufacturers that have solutions to the problems they have, and they are there mainly for that reason. IBC remains the ideal international show to talk to customers new and old from around the world over a short period of time. While our customers can do research on the Internet, that face-to-face value can’t be beat on either side of the equation.
RW: You’re a show veteran, what’s your favorite thing about the show? Least favorite thing?
Redmond: My favorite part of IBC is seeing customers and peers from around the world — some of which we have known for years, and others we are meeting for the first time. Even though we have Skype, IM, texting, email and the phone, seeing the people we do business with every day, sitting down from them across the table and having a conversation is my favorite part. Least favorite part? Standing on concrete for five days. I don’t think anyone enjoys that.
RW: Will you be attending any sessions or looking forward to any events?
Redmond: There are a number of sessions on advanced technologies that look interesting, and I tend to decide on which ones I’ll attend and participate in closer to or at the show. We’ll host our own customer event, GatesAir Connect, on Sunday, where customers and partners can network with GatesAir sales, service and technology experts. The Future Zone is also something I always enjoy visiting. I always find some interesting surprises here related to advanced audio and video delivery, or emerging technical concepts. It’s a genuine “expect the unexpected” experience.
How do the two large shows, NAB and IBC differ? Can they learn anything from each other?
Redmond: NAB and IBC couldn’t be any more different in terms of venues. Customers and participants that come to IBC in general tend to be much more formal in making appointments, for one. Customers tend to set specific meeting times rather than, “I’ll stop by and see you in the next four days.” The show floor is well laid out and sensible, and this is important since people spend less time at the show compared to NAB. IBC is broken down into several smaller halls that offer a more intimate setting, and even the larger vendors have a more intimate stand as a result. NAB also starts with a bang and then dies out quickly, where IBC has a gradual build into the busier second and third days. So overall, the organization and pacing is a little bit different.
Similarly, the towns are radically different. Amsterdam is a multicultural city with many nations and cultures represented in it. Everything in Amsterdam and at IBC is on a smaller scale. You don’t see hotels with 3,000 rooms in Amsterdam, generally speaking. The restaurants are smaller and more intimate, and the center city more walkable. Vegas, in general, is bigger than life, with the hotels, meals, shows and convention centers all playing a role. The shows themselves definitely reflect the personality of the city they are in.