(click thumbnail)Michel ProulxQ. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2008?
The biggest trend is broadcasters having to deliver content on more and more channels, across more and more platforms. What’s more important is that the new platforms, which include HD, mobile, web and VOD, are somewhat divergent, and that for the moment there is not necessarily large amounts of new revenue coming from these additional platforms.
As a result, broadcasters are having to look at hardware solutions that are more integrated to save capital cost, and perhaps more importantly software and workflow solutions that are more automated so that they can produce and repurpose their content across these multiple platforms, with minimal impact on their operational costs.
Q. What’s new that you will show at IBC2008 and that broadcasters should look for there?
We fundamentally believe in the industry trend I have just described. The need to deliver more channels with less has been driving our developments in recent years.
At IBC, we are featuring a dozen or so new products designed to allow broadcasters to do more with less.
For example, in our interfacing range, we will be launching a single card that combines video up/down and cross conversion with very rich audio functionality, including delay, Dolby E and AC-3 encoding and decoding, Loudness measurement and control, as well as stereo to 5.1 channel up-mixing using technology from Linear Accoustic. We are essentially putting an entire incoming or outgoing feed processing system on one card.
In playout, we will be featuring Xchannel which combines the functionality of a video server and rich graphics to provide full channel branding. What’s different about our solution is that we work closely with third party automation vendors to deliver a best of breed solution.
Backing up this hardware integration is a series of branding content authoring and management tools which automate the creation of branding graphics. These solutions are allowing broadcasters to playout more fully branded channels with less hardware and, more importantly, less operational staff.
On the monitoring side, we again focus on more with less. We will be launching two new system expansion options for our multi-viewers. Also, on the monitoring side, we will be featuring a new solution for our iControl desktop based SNMP control and monitoring system. The iControl Playout manager manages all of the elements in a playout chain (both Miranda and third party elements) and allows broadcasters to manage more channels with fewer operators.
Q. How is your new product offering different from what’s available on the market?
There are many aspects. As I have elaborated, we have really focused on integration: more functionality and fewer devices, without compromising on signal quality and performance.
But this year, I would have to say a key differentiator is the fact that we have done more work with third party partners.
Many vendors in our industry are striving to provide a single source solution. We believe that overall systems remain very complex, and that our customers are seeking best of breed solutions from a small number of suppliers.
We have worked closely with a number of other vendors and have either put their technology within our products, as with Dolby and Linear Acoustics, or we have created rich and specific interfaces with other vendors to provide a better overall system, as with Probel and NVision for multi-viewer expansion, or Pebble Beach, Pharos and Avid/Sundance for the integration of our Xchannel playout and branding device.
Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
Miranda’s main European office is in Wallingford, near Oxford, in the UK, and its headquarters is in Montreal, Canada. The company has more than 400 employees, and is a public company listed on TSX.
Q. How many years have you been going to the IBC show and what’s your fondest memory? What’s your favourite restaurant or pub?
This will be my 12th IBC. My fondest memory is renting a bicycle and getting around town in the same way the locals do.
Favorite restaurant or pub? There isn’t one specifically. The beauty of Amsterdam is its sheer variety and diversity.
Wohler Technologies Inc. — Carl J. Dempsey
Wohler is also delving into a new arena — the intercom space — by launching the new Touch-Comm multiviewer, a two-panel monitoring, routing, and communications device with state-of-the-art touchscreen technology and IP-based communications protocol featuring Intracom software.