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.