OmniBus Systems — Ian Fletcher, Chief Technology Officer

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

I think in the current climate the smart manufacturers are doing all they can to give broadcasters tools that meet the need to do more for less. One of the best ways of doing that is to find efficiencies by moving away from proprietary hardware wherever possible, and using powerful and flexible software in an IT hardware environment. Broadcasters are increasingly realising that gluing 'best of breed' components together is not the right way to build an efficient and adaptable infrastructure for a rapidly changing media landscape.

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

If it is anything like the previous two industry shows (NAB and IBC2008), overall visitor numbers may be down a bit, but in fact that's worked well for us because the real top decision-makers are still coming, and we have been able to spend more time with them. When you are talking about a full-featured product that offers a radical departure from the conventional method of operating, that's a good thing from an exhibitor's point of view.

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

We're bringing the full OmniBus product range, but the most interesting developments are certainly in the iTX transmission and automation platform, where there are a lot of big advances including real-time 3D graphics, a powerful new audio processing engine, and the integration of extra functionality by third-party development partners. We've added over 130 new features that extend the system's huge range of capabilities and make it easier to integrate legacy components like scheduling systems, servers and graphics kit into the iTX transmission environment, for those broadcasters that want to make a gradual transition.

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

There really is nothing else like iTX in the market. It's the most advanced and powerful way to transmit highly crafted primetime channels for television, Internet and mobileTV, and the only full-featured, enterprise-class transmission platform using IT hardware. There are other IT-based products, but they offer only very limited 'channel-in-a-box' functionality. OmniBus iTX is actually more powerful, adaptable and versatile than any conventional transmission chain. It takes the market awhile to grasp the potential of a breakthrough product like this, but major broadcasters in the United States, Europe and elsewhere are leading the way.

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

OmniBus is headquartered in Leicestershire, U.K., with bases in Denver, Colo., and Kuala Lumpur. The company has around 130 employees. We've been at the forefront of automation and transmission technology for over 20 years, but for much of that time, we've been working towards the next generation approach — one using IT infrastructure for all the benefits that it provides, with specialised software that delivers all the functionality of a conventional transmission chain and adds a good deal more besides.

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?

Longer than I care to remember! Probably since 1984 or thereabouts. As a memory I suppose it's hard to beat the excitement of my first time as an exhibitor, bringing our own products to the market. Back then, we used to build our stand around a red double-decker London bus. Favourite restaurant: believe it or not our favourite meal is the traditional post-show extravaganza at Macdonalds, Schipol Airport because it means it's all over and we are heading home!