SVG Europe sit down: Vislink chief exec Mickey Miller on riding a wave of wireless video innovation
Tackling the role of chief executive during a pandemic is never part of the plan but that’s just what Vislink CEO Mickey Miller did, arriving in January and immediately being thrust into entirely new challenges for one of the industry’s leading providers of digital microwave and wireless video systems.
But he and the team have embraced the challenge on a global scale and is leveraging its wide-ranging customer base, from broadcast to government and military, to move ahead.
“What attracted me to Vislink is they’ve got a great customer base and it’s a global company,” says Miller. “And it’s a really strong, innovative company that has a great history over the years in this market, as well as the military and government market.”
Understanding what Vislink brings to the table is best understood by looking at one of its key customers: MotoGP and Dorna.
The global motorcycle racing powerhouse has relied on Vislink transmitters to transmit high-quality signals from multiple cameras on multiple bikes travelling hundreds of miles per hour. Each bike has four cameras so making the smaller, better, and more effective is an ongoing challenge.
“We’ve been working with them over the years and when we talk about aligning with partners and leverage technology to create more emotion and interesting perspectives,” he says. “And then we can see how that technology can be applied to other sports and entertainment events.”
Miller is also optimistic given that the company has two facilities in the U.S., two in the UK, sales offices around the world and, now, capital to meet the innovation challenge presented by customers.
“What we can we do today is align ourselves better with our partners and our customers so that operations can be more efficient,” he explains. “And we can also make acquisitions as we see opportunities, so we are really excited about that. Our goal is to become very relevant in the market and the other markets we serve. And we do that through both organic and non-organic growth.”
“There’s going to be a lot of unique things that can be done [with 5G] and we’re optimistic that it will allow for a lot more point-of-view and unique camera perspectives.”
Miller says the broader industry move to IP technologies coupled with Vislink encoder/decoder solutions, HEVC compression, and other innovations, will bring new capabilities to its customers across the board.
“We want to allow them to produce events at a lower cost with higher-quality solutions that take advantage of the technology curve,” he says.
One of the technologies that is getting plenty of interest about its impact on the future is 5G. Miller says he doesn’t think the deployment of 5G and its role in the sports production industry is going to be as straight forward as people think.
“It’s certainly a great protocol but for the use cases in our industry you need a lot of uplink capability and a traditional carrier network needs to be asymmetrical and allow for a lot more downloading. But clearly, there will be a very cost-effective ecosystem of components that can be deployed and it’s going to be an opportunity.”
Right now, he adds, 5G is a technology looking for use cases.
“It will develop based on the needs of the customers and how they see the technology can be deployed to solve problems,” he says. “And I think there’s going to be a lot of unique things that can be done and we’re optimistic that it will allow for a lot more point-of-view and unique camera perspectives.”
Vislink, with a customer base that ranges from media and entertainment to military and first responders, clearly is getting pushed to innovate from customers with vastly different needs. But all of them are demanding better products that can capture the emotion of a moment and even save lives.
Looking forward, Miller says expect a lot of interesting products as the development team continues to “crank up the innovation engine. And then, in parallel with that, we will bring in capabilities through acquisitions that we think can really make something happen in the market.”