IBC2015 Q&A: Net Insight’s Karlsson on Why ‘Live Is King’
Net Insight arrives at IBC with plenty of big news to share, headlined by the recent acquisition of ScheduALL and the launch of mobile self-service app Nimbra Connect. Both moves are designed to simplify complex operations for customers — especially when it comes to live sports productions. SVG sat down with Martin Karlsson, CTO/VP, product portfolio, Net Insight, to discuss the big announcements, how the company is servicing the rise of IP and the growth of “at-home,” or remote, workflows for live sports production, and its recent headlining efforts in the sector.
Net Insight’s acquisition of ScheduALL is big news. Why did this deal make sense for the company, and what does ScheduALL add to Net Insight’s portfolio?
It is indeed big news for both of us, and we are very happy to welcome the ScheduALL team and its customers. ScheduALL is a really great fit for us in many respects. The companies have complementary products targeting both media companies and service providers, and we share the same guiding principle of simplifying complexities for our broadcast and service-provider customers. We already have a joint SDN (Software Defined Networking) solution for service providers and together can offer end-to-end media service and workflow orchestration to our customer base.
Aside from the ScheduALL deal, what is Net Insight’s biggest news at IBC this year for live sports production?
The live-sports-production market is currently undergoing a huge transition with lots of changes, from the introduction of new technologies for 4K to new ways of working, throughout the entire media ecosystem. We already provide many solutions that support these changes, such as native 4K transport, IP-based transport with guaranteed quality, live contribution over the Internet, and our Nimbra MSR platform, which has successfully supported hundreds of live events through enabling remote production. We also have a lot of product and solution launches at this year’s at IBC, which will further help with the transition that live sports production is undergoing.
Starting with the shift to IP, we’re strengthening our solution for IP live production with multiple product launches related to SMPTE2022. From IP-based video access to media transport over wide-area networks and JPEG2000 interoperability. Our customers have used IP-based solutions for live sports production successfully for many years, but, with these launches, we can provide them with the tools to help them shift even more of their productions to IP and begin to deliver more and more of the type of content that television audiences today value and demand.
Another hugely important transition that is ongoing is the shift to remote production. We have been at the forefront of this trend for years, and we are now strengthening our offering with functionality for multicamera synchronization.
Synchronizing all video and audio feeds in a remote-production setup means that high-quality production is made easier, with guaranteed clean video and audio switching. There have been workarounds in place before, but we can now take remote production to the next level of simplicity, something we understand our customers value.
Finally, we are launching a solution for file acceleration-as-a-service that will allow broadcasters, media producers, and service providers to combine live and file-based workflows over the same infrastructure. Today, more and more time-sensitive media production is going file-based, and, with this, the timely exchange of broadcast-quality content is key.
Our solution provides guaranteed time-of-arrival for file transfers, which means it is suitable for near-live production of, for example, post-event content. Combined live and file-based infrastructure, together with guaranteed file-transfer time-of-arrival, makes it easier than ever to create added value for live sports.
Is there a specific sector of the M&E industry that you see growing recently? Is sports a growth opportunity for you right now?
With the abundance of content options available to viewers today, we see that the key for broadcasters is to activate their audiences and really provide a user experience that is worth paying for. One part of the industry that we are seeing strong growth in is the production of live and local content. The saying used to go that “content is king.” Today, we would say that “content is content, but live is king.”
We know that live event production is being driven by sports, and that is where we see many of our larger projects. We are seeing that, in terms of 4K and remote-production adoption, too, where sports production is also driving the market.
Can you point out a recent sports-related project/event Net Insight worked on that reflects how the company can best service sports clients?
Yes. We are working closely with our customer The Switch in supporting and expanding their Nimbra- and ScheduALL-based Five Nines service. As reported by SVG, The Switch has had extremely successful seasons with MLB, NBA, and NHL, serving the transport-service needs of several major customers. Recently, we have also been supporting them in gearing up for the new NFL season.
In the UK, we have been working together with SIS LIVE in extending its sport fiber network to 13 Rugby stadiums and all English Premier League football grounds, which is another example of our pedigree in enabling live sports coverage.