SVG Europe Sit-Down: SIS LIVE’s David Meynell on future challenges and the potential of remote production

SIS LIVE’s managing director, David Meynell

SIS LIVE is a leading provider of global critical connectivity services, and its technology and team deliver content to millions of viewers worldwide via comprehensive satellite and Anylive fibre infrastructures. As well as supporting broadcasters like the BBC, Channel 4, Five, ITV, Sky Sports, and clients in many territories, its team connects brands such as Red Bull, Audi, and McDonald’s and their audiences with experiential live events and social network streaming. We kicked off our Sit Down with Managing Director, David Meynell, by looking ahead to IBC 2018…

What can we expect to see on your stand at IBC?

Our stand will have an all new look and feel that reflects the advances we’ve made in the past 12 months, including additional meeting spaces to accommodate the volume of detailed new business conversations we expect to have.

There will be a focus on the substantial increase in connections of our Anylive fibre network. We’ll be discussing our involvement in professional cricket and rugby league, both of which we started providing connectivity for in the past year and is going extremely well.

We’ll also focus on how the resilience of our Anylive network is going to help us achieve even more growth – particularly for remote production applications. We will also launch some new remote production services as well as Anylive connectivity at a number of new venues that will be added to our network.

Taking all of that together, it’s going to be an exciting IBC for SIS LIVE.

What do you see as your major challenges for the next 12 months?

We designed our fibre network infrastructure for longevity, resilience, and growth – all of equal importance.

The in-built resilience of our ring architecture enables us to re-route all of our traffic if necessary, bypassing any node. The upshot of that resilient architecture is that it enables us to acquire additional bandwidth, which in turn gives us plenty of room to expand.

It’s not unusual to see growth as a significant challenge. But in our case, it’s not a question of how to grow, but how to manage that growth in a way that enables us to remain flexible, nimble, and approachable as market dynamics continue to evolve. We have grown considerably in recent years, and my challenge – and that of every one of my colleagues – is to continue to find the best ways to provide reliability, flexibility, and value to our customers as we continue our expansion.

Has the increase in remote production had an impact on your business?

A profitable return on remote production projects is largely dependent on getting the on-site technology and connectivity service absolutely right in a way that offers clear value. There’s no point in adopting remote production unless there are tangible benefits to be realised from it.

Frankly, if you ask ten knowledgeable people what remote production is and what opportunities it presents, you’ll get ten equally knowledgeable, but often disparate, answers. The challenge is to ensure that we understand precisely what remote production means to each customer, and what they want to achieve. It isn’t always obvious to either party at first, but that’s where our depth of experience comes in, and it’s why existing customers come back to us again and again, and new customers arrive based solely on our reputation.

More generally, has is the use of IP Technology been as you anticipated?

IP is clearly an enabler for many new technologies and we’re beginning to see IP-based workflows everywhere. IP enables us to do much more, which in turn enables us to give our customers a greater range of options, more of which you’ll hear about at IBC.

IP is not being adopted by everyone yet, but the indications are that the market is clearly moving that way, which is even better for SIS LIVE and Anylive as the critical circulatory system for the beating heart of the IP movement.

I see you are hiring. Do you feel that the colleges and other similar institutions are turning out the kind of graduates that understand connectivity technology?  And if not, what can be done about the situation?

We are blessed with exceptionally talented people, many of whom have been with us for a long time, in part because they are extremely adaptable to new technologies and ideas. They never stop learning, which is a mind- and skill-set of huge value to any company.

The alchemy of experience coupled with fresh perspectives is a magic combination that adds massive value when you get the chemistry right. The key is to maintain and nurture the blend of individual skills that add value to our business and continually strive to channel that maximum value through to our customers. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of getting that blend right.

Your Facebook page reveals that SIS LIVE has been involved in a great number of projects over recent months. What is the secret of your success?

The keys to our success are no secret. They are our values of integrity, teamwork, focus, accountability, and passion. These values are not dissimilar to those stated by other companies, but we truly live and breathe them. However, our success is further derived from three principles beyond those core values.

Trust is massive at each and every level of our organisation. We trust each other, and our customers have the same level of trust to deliver precisely the right solution for them.

Flexibility is also crucial. As some companies grow they can become inflexible and difficult to deal with. An inflexible supplier is very, very frustrating. Success is great. We all want to succeed, but not at the expense of flexibility. We take active steps to ensure that doesn’t happen to us.

And trust and flexibility are the cornerstones of innovation. All of our teams work tirelessly with on-site technical, operational and back office teams to ensure a full understanding of what the customer requires and using that information to make sure everything works in order to achieve their goals, often through innovation and creativity.

I’m proud to say that these company values are shared by everyone I work with every day. They are exceptional people with exceptional skills and I truly value their contributions. We wouldn’t be where we are today without each and every one of them.

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