IBC Q&A: Harris Broadcast’s Brian Cabeceiras touts company’s future roadmap

Since being acquired by The Gores Group in February, Harris Broadcast has finally been freed up to plan out its future rather than worry about the present. After an arduous two years on the selling block, Harris Broadcast looks to have a renewed vigor at IBC2013 under newly named CEO Charlie Vogt. The company laid out a new roadmap and infrastructure that organises the company into four key sectors: Media, Playout, Networking, and Transmission.

In addition, Harris is highlighting the success of its Platinum IP3 router. Unveiled in February and promoted heavily at NAB2013 in April, the Platinum IP3 accommodates separate video, audio, and data paths within the same frame, supporting baseband and IP signals for future hybrid baseband and IP infrastructures.

SVG sat down with SVP of North American Sales Brian Cabeceiras at Harris Broadcast’s IBC booth to discuss the company’s new roadmap and how it looks to ease the rapidly accelerating transition from baseband to IP delivery.

First, how is the transition coming along now that the acquisition is finalized?
It’s going really well. We are seven months into it now. Coming out of NAB, we hired a new CEO, Charlie Vogt, who brought in a very different energy. He is changing how we are organised.

I think we had gotten a bit confusing over the last few years because we had built so many of our own products as well as acquired a lot of companies. We are now moving towards being organised around four key pillars: Media, Playout, Networking, and Transmission. It’s not just a superficial marketing thing; it’s about spending our R&D money in the right places. One pillar can be one group of people with one budget and one goal. We are trying to simplify the portfolio to make it easier for customers to understand.

How are those reorganisation efforts catering to the sports-production market specifically?
We are looking closer at exactly where our place in sports is right now, and we are excited about it. We have always known that we sell to a lot of leagues and teams and networks, but it was not really until now that we sat down and looked at what exactly they were using us for. When you put it all together — leagues, teams, sports networks, rental houses — it’s at least 15% of our overall business, maybe more. So we have put a priority on that, and part of that was moving Rich Zable in to run our sports segment.

Where are you seeing the biggest growth in the your sports business this year?
We are doing really well with trucks right now. We have made a lot of advances on our Platinum IP3 router. The whole point of that is to have video, audio, and a datapath through the router. We are starting to merge baseband and IP. Video over IP is obviously very interesting, especially inside of the truck. From our side — routing and conversion to and from baseband to IP — I think we can be totally ready [to move from baseband to IP] in the next 12-18 months. As soon as the camera piece is ready.

IP is a huge market for us. There is so much op-ex savings in not having to send a whole crew out to every single remote. Just have the camera guys and few others go out [on-site] and leave the bulk of your [crew] home.

Any other major trends you have seen in the sports-production sector recently?
It’s interesting to look at the [sports-production] ecosystem and exactly how much value you get out of a single camera feed these days. The camera at an average NBA or baseball game is feeding a variety of outlets: the game film; the coaching analysis; into the control room for the venue videoboards; out to the truck, which can be servicing [home and away] feeds; and more beyond that. There are a lot of mouths feeding off of a single camera and a lot of value that can be gained from that. It’s all about getting the different constituents to work together to help each other’s op-ex and workflow. That’s something that we are looking at very closely from a technology perspective.

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