Monday, July 21, 2014
A Transformative First Year
by Charlie Vogt, CEO of Imagine Communications and GatesAir
This month marks my one-year anniversary with Imagine Communications and GatesAir (formerly Harris Broadcast). I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how the company has transformed into the clear industry leader, and specifically our alignment with the media broadcast industry, our customers, channel partners and prospective customers.
A year ago, I began a quest to reshape our company and the media broadcast industry. To accomplish this goal, we began from the inside out, adopting a relentless customer-first culture. From an industry perspective, we have been laser-focused on innovation, and specifically investing in new business models and network architectures aligned with mobility and cloud-virtualized solutions.
At our inaugural Media Day event in March at Madison Square Garden in New York, accompanied by IBM and Disney/ABC, we formally unveiled Imagine Communications and GatesAir – two market-leading innovators focused on distinct ends of the technology spectrum. We shared our technology vision, product direction and go-to-market strategy for leading our broadcast, multichannel video programming distributor, government and enterprise customers into an exciting new future defined by IP, software, the cloud and TV Everywhere. We also introduced visionary technology architectures including MultiService SDN, Software-Defined Workflows, MediaCentral and LTE Mobile Offload frameworks that will become guiding principles as we migrate and evolve to next-generation media software and video infrastructure solutions and business models.
Transformation begins and ends with culture, backed by a clear vision. Every employee at Imagine Communications and GatesAir is focused on one thing: to enable instant access to moments that matter. In the hundreds of meetings that I have participated in over the past year with customers, partners and prospects, our vision, roadmap, strategy and customer-first culture are strongly resonating with the world's premier creators, broadcasters and distributors of video content. Our customers increasingly value how our team is responding and delivering market-leading innovation and professional service solutions. There is not another technology innovator in the broadcast sector with a more complete portfolio of media software, playout, networking and over-the-air solutions than Imagine Communications and GatesAir – and it is because of our diverse customer base and comprehensive portfolio that we are uniquely positioned to lead the industry into an exciting era of transformative change.
With more than 3 million products deployed across 185 countries, supporting more than half of the world's video channels and managing more than $25 billion in annual advertising revenue, Imagine Communications is directing its $100 million in annual innovation investment towards solutions that leverage the benefits derived from adopting IP-enabled, Software-Defined and Cloud-Virtualized solutions. At the same time, we will protect our customers' current technology investments with a migration path to the future based on open standards and industry interoperable solutions. Imagine Communications is further raising the stakes by facilitating the industry's migration from baseband to baseband-over-IP with a unique Media Orchestration Layer, which ties baseband infrastructures and IP networks together with seamless interoperability.
The technical complexities of broadcasting have resulted in a slower rollout of Media-over-IP compared to industry peers – IT, mobile and cloud-based operators. Storing, manipulating, playing and transporting media files that are orders of magnitude larger than typical voice and data requirements, and must play flawlessly regardless of the destination, create unique demands and requirements for innovation. These advances include compressing files using innovative compression algorithms/technology, improving processing speeds through today's multi-core blade servers, and creating more deterministic and affordable networks.
Imagine Communications has been investing in this future and is uniquely positioned in the media industry. Customers are deploying our media software as a true cloud virtualized solution versus locally managed/hosted. We were the first company to demonstrate our Integrated Playout from the Cloud (Versio 2.0) and are in customer trials with scheduled deployments and general availability by year-end 2014. In addition, Imagine Communications was the industry's first to deploy a complete end-to-end Software-Defined Workflow for Transcoding (Xenio™). And GatesAir was the first to deliver the world's first high power, high efficiency broadband digital TV transmitter that enables the most cost-effective wireless delivery of video content.
At the world's most-watched sporting event this month, Imagine Communications' and GatesAir's media software and video infrastructure solutions were powering and managing much of the broadcast infrastructure and advertising revenue. Irrespective of the sporting event, live TV, news, or other video content that you consume, Imagine Communications and GatesAir are "all in" with regards to our commitment to revolutionize an industry that is undergoing monumental transformation driven by mobility and the cloud.
We are living in a mobile-enabled world, and video is increasingly becoming the center of all that we do. With 7 billion wireless devices, video consumption has rapidly moved beyond the confines of broadcasting, cable, satellite and the family room. This pace of change has catapulted our industry to an inflection point that requires a change in technology, networking architecture and business models. To monetize and capture market-share, the industry must migrate away from inflexible, proprietary infrastructures and adopt IP-enabled, cloud-based, software-defined networks and workflows to improve flexibility and deliver topline growth and bottom line results.
I am ecstatic with what Imagine Communications and GatesAir have accomplished over the past year. While we are delivering "industry firsts" and refocusing innovation in the key technology areas our industry requires, we will be the first to fully integrate advanced advertising solutions encompassing media management applications (sales campaigns, ad sales, rights, scheduling, billing, analytics) with playout, automation and storage – a framework we refer to as "MediaCentral."
We are reinforcing our commitment to our channels partners by investing in new programs and incentives while aligning our strategic directions together. We uniquely remain the industry's only end-to-end solutions provider – providing balance between today, and the evolution and migration path required to achieve tomorrow's media software and video infrastructure network architecture.
What should you expect to see in the coming year for Imagine Communications and GatesAir? Expect to see more innovation across our media, playout, networking and over-the-air solutions that is aligned with our IP-enabled, Software-Defined, Cloud-Virtualized, Mobile technology vision. And expect to see incremental innovation in the areas of Content Anywhere and on Any Device, Advanced Advertising and Media Orchestration.
With an era of transformative change staring right at us, expect more consolidation and sub-scale failure in the industry. We believe that creators of content, broadcasters and multichannel video programing distributors will align and partner with market-leading technology suppliers such as Imagine Communications and GatesAir who have the experience, expertise, financial strength, scale and resources to thrive throughout the transformation.
My goal a year ago was to propel our company and the industry forward, preparing us for the changes that are already underway. At this year's IBC in Amsterdam, Imagine Communications and GatesAir will discuss and demonstrate the media software and video infrastructure solutions required to evolve and migrate to tomorrow's IP-enabled, cloud-virtualized, software defined network and workflow solutions.
I want to personally thank you for choosing to partner with us and for sharing your business requirements, goals and objectives, which have enabled us to align our technology vision, roadmap and global services capabilities with yours. Your commitment and partnership allow Imagine Communications and GatesAir to lead, innovate, remain nimble and operate with enviable scale and financial strength.
I look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam at IBC 2014. Imagine Communications will be featured in Hall 7, booth G20 and GatesAir in Hall 8, booth B10.