Trilogy—Barry Spencer, General Manager

There will be a lot of talk about how commodity IT can replace much broadcast infrastructure, and there is a lot of truth in that trend.
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Q. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2012?

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It is important to remember, though, that there are some things that an off-the-shelf computer cannot do—like provide sufficiently accurate timing references for video synchronisation—and visitors to the exhibition need to understand the importance of specialist broadcast manufacturers, even though they may not be in the most glamorous areas.

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

I have some concerns about this year’s IBC. We know that there are some huge projects in the Middle East at the moment, and their leaders all attended the NAB Show this year. If they have made their strategic decisions they may not feel the need to be at IBC. And, of course, much of Mediterranean Europe is suffering from huge domestic economic problems. So it would not surprise me if numbers were down. But the people who do come will be the ones with live projects and budgets to spend.

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

We have some very clever and interesting enhancements across our intercom and SPG ranges—dedicated hardware that cannot be done by commodity IT! One device we are very proud of is Watchdog, a signal detection and changeover unit for dual redundant master synchronisation systems. As I said earlier, it may not sound glamorous, but if a fault stops an SPG and there is no instant failover to a backup, a whole television station will stop.

Q. How does your new product differ from what is on the market?

Watchdog is designed for the job. It is a business-critical switch for business-critical devices, including dual redundant power supplies, for example, and monitoring a wide range of signals to determine that the main and backup units are healthy. We also put it into a standard 1U or 2U rack frame unit so the systems engineer can put other modules alongside it, like DAs to distribute the sync pulses, without additional rackspace or cabling.

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.”

Of course there are great changes in the way content is distributed, and social media and multiscreening is having a huge impact on the way audiences discover, watch and comment on programmes. But those programmes have got to be made in the first place. Our products—intercoms for the studio floor and SPGs for the broadcast infrastructure—are at the production and distribution stage, when all that matters is that the content is technically and creatively perfect.

Q. Where are you based?

Trilogy is based in Andover, England, and this year we are celebrating 25 years of operation. We have an office in the United States, plus a network of distributors to take our products around the world.

Q. How many years have you been going to IBC? What is your fondest memory? What is your favourite pub or restaurant?

We have been in business for 25 years and have been going to IBC for all of those 25 years. We started back in the bad old days of Brighton: if you did not experience it then you have no idea what a blessing it was to move to a professional and well-run exhibition centre. Favourite IBC Amsterdam pub? I cannot remember what it is called, but you cannot miss it—it is by a canal, near a bridge with lights underneath it.