Raj Yadav, Regional Sales Head-South Asia, Imagine Communications
Imagine Communications empowers the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation. Broadcasters, networks, video serviceproviders, and enterprises around the world rely on the optimized, future-proof, multiscreen video and ad management solutions every day tosupport their mission-critical operations.
Through continuous innovation, the company is delivering the most advanced IP, cloud-enabled, software-defined network and workflow solutions in the industry.
On technology trends
In India, broadcasters are transitioning from SD to HD. Also there is a discerning shift toward IP technology and virtualized playout systems. As the economics of commercial IT infrastructure for television gets better every year, broadcasters are eager to access the benefits of IP technology. The question is not if, or even when - it is how. Specifically, how do broadcasters transform their installations to achieve the benefits of IP with as little risk and disruption as possible?
IP technology is playing a big role in India as customers are showing interest in adopting this technology. All major broadcasters are exploring this technology as it is easier to install and maintain, and is less time-consuming compared to legacy systems.
In India, due to budget constraints, there is polarity. A balance needs to be maintained and customized solutions designed for the players who want to move from core legacy to IP. We have customers who still run analog systems while others run digital systems - both in SD and HD. Many wish to move to the next step while others are keen to leapfrog from core legacy systems to advanced IP and virtualization. For the next 3-4 years, all these technologies will go hand in hand in India.
On product portfolio
At Imagine Communications, we have been involved in every step of the media industry's migration to IP - from the earliest demonstration of IP transport of television signals to the development of the latest SMPTE standards. The company this year has invested a lot in R&D for IP technology. Our IP innovation builds on existing technologies, while providing a bridge to next-generation infrastructures. Broadcasters can migrate to IP or the cloud with no effect on operational workflow.
Versio is a powerful integrated playout solution that combines the best of the world's automation, branding, graphics, file server, storage, and master control capabilities in an entirely software-based environment. Versio simplifies the creation and management of channels and enables media companies to extend their brands and content with more freedom, visibility, and control than ever before. With Versio at the heart of channel-enablement, broadcasters and media companies are able to accelerate new services and improved operations.
We also have an application we run on cloud. For example, we have integrated with Microsoft Azure. The new cloud offering for on-demand workflows provides agility and scalability for global multiscreen deployments - enabling media companies to stream broadcast-quality content to virtually any device, anywhere in the world. It also supports additional input and output codecs and file formats such as 4K ultra-HD (UHD) in AVC and closed captioning. This solution streamlines the ability to deliver across all classes of outputs from mobile to broadcast. Users can opt for either a CapEx or an OpEx model; we provide both solutions for playout.
On the baseband side, we have recently launched EPIC multiviewer (EPIC MV), an operational monitoring solution. EPIC MV is a software-based, UHD-ready IP multiviewer, optimized for hybrid and high-powered production, acquisition, origination, and distribution requirements, providing broadcasters and other media companies a single solution for SDI, IP, and hybrid environments. Powered by Zenium, the groundbreaking media processing platform from Imagine Communications, EPIC MV is designed to seamlessly scale and evolve to meet future monitoring requirements.
The EPIC MV offers the full features of a class-leading multi-image display system. Featuring exceptional video quality, rich graphics, tally, UMD, timers, clocks and interfaces to a variety of third-party systems, EPIC MV delivers all the capabilities expected for monitoring and monetizing content in high-value production environments. The new multiviewer runs on Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) servers and other standard commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms, leveraging hardware-acceleration options to provide the density and performance required for facilities of any size. Designed to simplify monitoring environments as broadcasters migrate to IP, EPIC MV is a true hybrid solution that natively supports low-bandwidth compressed streaming formats, including MPEG-2 and H.264/AVC essence. Hardware acceleration provides advanced display processing, along with Imagine Communications' own pluggable input modules for high-capacity SDI over IP, and 3G-SDI baseband video reception.
We have also showcased Nexio Channelbrand, which is a multichannel branding platform that provides four channels of standard branding with digital video effects (DVEs) and an unlimited number of layers. It is a cost-effective, multichannel branding solution, combining integrated branding and video playback functions all in a single, flexible platform. It simplifies the creation, display, and maintenance of a consistent brand, allowing broadcasters to get to air quickly and simply, with data-driven content, logos, time/temperature display, rolls/crawls, and EAS information.
Available in a scalable channel density, Nexio Channelbrand can be deployed as a standalone solution; connected to a larger Nexio playout solution and ADC or D-Series automation; or integrated with third-party control and automation systems. Content can be created online or offline and includes L-bar effects, multilevel animation/still insertion, and data-driven elements for template-based playout. Offering both two-channel and four-channel versions, Nexio Channelbrand provides a flexible solution for all broadcasters.
On the Indian market
2015-16 was a good year for us in India and we had some significant deals during that time. We anticipate that 2016-17 will also be fruitful and will show steady growth for our business in the region.
For the Indian market, we are working with customers on exploring solutions for playout and concluding major implementations on the client site. We are very optimistic about the India market going forward. As a business, we continue to develop solutions that meet the ever-changing needs of our customers in India and help to streamline their workflows, drive operational efficiencies, and profitability as their business changes.
On major customers
India is a priority country for us. We continue to invest in our infrastructure and expand the level of support we offer to our customers across the country. In fact, we have opened new regional offices and have increased our workforce to serve our customers' needs more effectively.
We are working closely with all the major broadcasters and DTH players in India to ensure that we exceed their requirements as they move into the new world of software-defined IP and virtualization.
On plans for 2016-17
The main trends for 2016-17 would be virtualization and transitioning to IP platforms. We make major investment in R&D and support customers' ongoing requirements by launching new products and developing the existing product and solutions in our portfolio. Much of the development is underpinned by Zenium, our groundbreaking software framework that enables media companies to protect and extend their infrastructure investments through seamless and continual integration of new technologies and formats. Additionally, we have comprehensive, future-proof, multiscreen video and ad management solutions that support our customers' mission-critical operations every day around the world. Through continuous innovation, we are delivering the most advanced IP, cloud-enabled, software-defined network and workflow solutions in the industry.
Every broadcaster and facility is different, as is their speed of IP transition. Our goal is to help all of our customers develop their own migration plans, and to be ready to help them every step of the way. We want to help our customers build on the infrastructure and the operational plans they already have, while working toward the software-defined, virtualized, and IP future.