Harris Broadcast Communications — Richard Scott, Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Operations

Richard ScottQ. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2009?

Key trends are likely to include further movement toward broader content distribution models such as digital signage systems, mobile TV, etc. 3 Gb/s infrastructure technology (for 1080p HD/3D TV) will continue to be a hot topic, as will business systems and content management solutions.

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

A lot has changed in our market and the global economy since the last IBC conference. Broadcasters will be coming to this year's show looking for a lot more than new product announcements and gadget updates. Exhibitors need to be clearly demonstrating to broadcasters how they can maximise and monetise their existing assets, and the ways in which they can take full advantage of the latest distribution channels.

Harris will bring a solutions-based approach to the IBC show floor, providing attendees with access to a team of experts who will offer real-world tips for lowering operating expenses, increasing operational efficiency and profiting from existing assets.

Q. What's new that you will show at IBC2009 and that broadcasters should look for there?

Technology demonstrations on the Harris booth will be solutions-based; for example, how a Harris-powered advanced media workflow helps broadcasters compete for viewer attention in an industry moving toward total media convergence. We'll also show how our unique 3 Gb/s-ready portfolio enables broadcasters to affordably transition to digital and prepare for future 1080p. We'll also demonstrate how our multiplatform delivery solutions help our customers leverage emerging business models — such as mobile TV, online content delivery and digital signage — to reach consumers "on the go."

Harris will also introduce the European market to Launchpad — a groundbreaking, state-of-the-art master control environment that uses the full breadth of the Harris portfolio's interoperable capabilities to allow content preparation for playout to a range of distribution methods. With Launchpad, broadcasters can efficiently manage the outputs of their rapidly increasing channels, reduce operating costs per channel and improve output quality to increase their overall advertising revenues.

And, of course, Harris will launch a number of all-new products, as well as developments to our existing product lines at the show. Without giving away too much detail at this point, some of our key product news will be in the areas of transmission, test and measurement, and broadcast graphics.

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

The portfolio of Harris products and solutions is virtually unrivalled and provides broadcasters with assured integration (minimal risk for the customer) and standards-based interoperability among many different hardware and software solutions. Harris is the only broadcast technology supplier to offer integrated workflow solutions that cover content management, automation and business systems (ad sales and programme scheduling). As the business of media and monetisation of assets becomes more and more important, so too does the need for integration between broadcast technology and the systems that manage ad sales, rights and campaigns.

Harris also continues to lead in transmission technology, and our latest transmitters offer best-in-class efficiency and a small physical footprint — these are key criteria for network operators looking to upgrade their transmission infrastructure in both digital radio and television.

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

Harris is a global company with multiple offices on every continent and approximately 15,000 employees all over the world. Our EMEA Broadcast Communications operations are based in the United Kingdom (Winnersh), Germany (Munich), France (Paris) and UAE (Dubai), and we have plans to open a new office in 2009 (to be announced soon). We have numerous other locations around EMEA where our research and development engineers are based.

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?

My first IBC conference was in 1985. My fondest memories are of the days of the tape format "wars." I played on different teams through the various battles and watched tape technology develop from 2-inch analogue to 6 mm DV. I enjoyed hearing endless predictions that tape would die "next year," knowing the predictions were wrong. And today, of course, tape is still very much in use for data storage and archive systems. "Goal posts" continue to move, and storage requirements are growing exponentially. It will be interesting to see what technology will ultimately replace it.

It's impossible for me to single out a single pub or restaurant through 25 years — the best times were more to do with who was there than the venue itself.