PlayBox Technology sells a range of products that sit around its playout server AirBox. These include the program chain with graphics insertion and storage. Back-office systems include MAM and traffic. Installing such systems requires specialist knowledge that is not always found with national resellers.
Don Ash, director of sales at PlayBox, explained “many systems integrators don’t have the experience of integrating PlayBox.” To better support integrators (SI), resellers and the end-customers, the company has recently set up a broadcast systems group.
“The systems group is there to help the SIs with their proposals and with the installation. We are aiming to complement rather than compete with SIs,” says Ash.
The systems group will help broadcasters develop their ideas and will work on RFIs, RFPs and tenders. Once orders are received, the group will manage the project and its integration. The final step will be helping with training and support.
The group is based at the company’s UK facility at Brookmans Park, just north of London. Scott Adams, manager of the systems group, said “a lot of the SIs and resellers come to us, ask to design and deploy the system and handle the training, while they are still involved on the business side.”
Since Adams has joined the group, the systems side has been incubating with Adams building up this new arm of the company and working with the dealers on larger projects.
PlayBox has 15 company offices around the world with the capability to manufacture the AirBox and other servers. The sales teams at the national the offices can sell and ship single channel-in-a-box systems, but for more complex sales, the Brookmans Park facility will act as a central engineering resource.
They will prebuild systems and ship them to site as prewired racks. Adams explained, “This will save time onsite, and make it easier in, for example, African countries where there may not be much local infrastructure.”
One further service will be the handling of third-party interfaces. Customers for EdgeBox, PlayBox’s remote playout system, often need integration to traffic, MAM, plus hardware like routers.
The move mirrors the general issues around new installations. No longer are broadcast systems a series of boxes linked by video cables, but a hybrid IT/broadcast system. The installation needs the specialist skills of the manufacturer and systems integrator working in cooperation to achieve a speedy deployment with the minimum of holdups.