SVG Europe Sit-Down: Mobile Viewpoint’s Michel Bais talks about action cameras and challenges
Headquartered in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, Mobile Viewpoint works worldwide through international sales offices and distribution networks across more than 100 countries. In today’s fast-paced world of changing linear TV viewing behaviour, live streaming to social media and changing business models, the ability to deliver live video is more important than ever before. Mobile Viewpoint offers portable and fixed encoding devices to enable fast and reliable video contribution with just a click of a button. The company’s goal is to help users to go live, edit, stream and share your high-quality live video anywhere, anytime. Our Sit Down with managing director, Michel Bais, began with a description of a key product from the company’s inventory.
You have described the LinkMatrix is ‘the centre of the Mobile Viewpoint universe’. Can you tell us why this is so important?
The LinkMatrix is the control and management centre of all our devices and services. You can remotely access our units and make settings, and by viewing what the guy in the field can see, we can support him in making the right changes. For our multicamera unit, we not only support web-based PTZ control but also, for example, shading and colour correction.
Next to remote support, the LinkMatrix is also the access to all our services like forwarding to social media and connecting video feeds to specific decoders (SDI, MPEG TS and SRT). New in The Linkmatrix is the mixing of video streams, overlays insertion/creation and the scheduling of playout on, for example, social media channels. With these new features, the LinKmatrix also becomes the playout system for your content. We do not see this as a replacement, but a cost-effective alternative for social and other web channels.
Can you tell us more about the 4G action cam you launched at BVE?
Our 4G action cam is named EyeLink. It is a combination of a small bonding system and an action camera. We call it a GoPro on steroids. The EyeLink contains a 1080P camera, two LTE modems, battery Pack, WiFi, storage and WiFi access point. It is also possible to connect Ethernet using a USB converter, but this will jeopardise the water-resistant design.
The camera in the unit is of a swivel design making it possible to use it horizontally behind a windscreen or vertical in your pocket. The video encoder adapts according to the available bandwidth of all available IP connections.
How do you see the move to IP playing out in the immediate and medium term?
We are already doing everything on IP, but the general discussion about the introduction of IP is in most cases important for our decoders. Customers require us to support IP out, next to traditional SDI and ASI. At the moment we are really waiting for the customer who really wants to move forward.
What future developments for over the top (OTT) solutions do you envisage?
OTT television is not something we are directly involved with. However, we try to make the tools and services that enable customers to make OTT. For example, our latest mobile bonded encoder has two video inputs enabling the synchronise transmission of two cameras of which one can be a 360 degrees camera which can go directly to YouTube.
What do you see as the major challenge facing your company when it comes to sports broadcasting demands?
Our products enable by default the live transmission of camera images and within sports this is most of the time productions of cycle events, marathon, triathlon and car sports. The major challenges we see are the requirements for lower delay, 4K, seamless integration with coded orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (COFDM) transmission.
Does HDR have any impact on the services and kit you provide?
We are implementing HDR in our next 4K unit, but that will be later this year.
Tell us more about your recent partnership with CP Communications.
In February we signed an agreement with live event provider, CP Communications, to deliver Mobile Viewpoint’s portfolio of bonded cellular products and solutions in the US. The dedicated IP encoding and decoding technologies will be gradually rolled out in 2018.
This cooperation will enable both companies to complement their core strengths and to push forward innovations for remote video production to the next level using SaaS and IP technologies. The first time the combined forces of our two companies were used at the recent New York Half Marathon. This agreement opens up a whole new market and group of customers for Mobile Viewpoint in the US.