Clear-Com—Simon Browne, Director of Product Mgmt.

Q. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2012


In the voice communications and audio sector, I would expect to see an increase in intercom, audio and video share distribution technologies, with further industry participation in common standards of audio and video over fiber and networks. Outside our sector, I would expect to see more second-screen production technologies.

Q. Any thoughts on how the current economic climate will affect the show?

We saw only a slightly muted response in the last European recession because infrastructure projects with intercom systems got pushed back, but didn’t generally get cancelled. For that reason, I do not expect a reduction in interest at this year’s IBC.

Q. What’s new that you will show at IBC2012 and that broadcasters should look for there?

Clear-Com will be showing our latest and most radical update to the Eclipse digital intercom system together with a means to pipe intercom with audio and video over fiber. We will also show our innovative HelixNet Partyline product, a digital, networked partyline communications system; the new Tempest2400 MasterBelt, a compact system that is both a base station and belt station; and the enhanced Tempest2400 system with its new Seamless Roaming feature for wireless communications across an expansive coverage area.

Q. How is your new product offering different from what’s available on the market?

Clear-Com’s new products at IBC, combined with our existing offerings, further expand the capabilities of our Hybrid Network. By coupling traditional digital audio-routing techniques with innovative low-latency IP technologies, the Hybrid Network provides high-performance intelligent voice communications over local wired and wireless devices, third-party production systems and IT networks. Clear-Com is truly a one-stop shop for intercom systems, enabling complete communications in any broadcast production environment.

Q. Last year I asked whether 3D was Hope, Hype or In Between. This year I want to know similar thoughts on “social media and broadcasters.”

I think that social media will replace the EPG and serve as the preferred means to select favorite media. We are already seeing that with video-sharing sites; and I think that “viral” will come to replace “ratings.” I wonder also if “pulled” playlists will replace “pushed” broadcasting.

Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?

In regards to me personally, after working more than a decade at Clear-Com’s U.K. office in Cambridge, I recently moved to the headquarters of our parent company, HM Electronics (HME), which is located in Poway, Calif., a city in San Diego County. The company also has branches in Alameda, Calif.; Beijing, China; and Montreal, Canada. Many of the company’s regional sales managers and application engineers also work out of their home offices, which allows them to be closer to the customers we serve around the world. Further, Clear-Com products are distributed globally by a large network of 800 dealers, distributors and other resellers.

Clear-Com and HME are co-recipients of the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for pioneering the first distributed beltpack system and wireless intercom for live production, respectively.

Q. How many years have you been going to the IBC show and what’s your fondest memory? What’s your favorite restaurant or pub?

I started coming to IBC before it moved to Amsterdam, when it was in Brighton, U.K. I remember very little from my trips; I suppose such is the intensity of the nightlife in both Brighton and Amsterdam! But I do recall those happy times in the pre-LinkedIn days when, because of IBC, I was able to connect with former colleagues and business associates. As for my favourite pub; it’s anywhere that will serve me late into the night to meet up with friends. That’s what makes Amsterdam great.