Somu Patil, Vice President Sales-Asia, Grass Valley, a Belden Brand
This is an exciting time to be in the broadcast and media businesses and we are energized by the challenges our customers are facing. This energy helps us focus and continually improve.
Broadcast and media production technologies are maturing, and manufacturers are propagating this message to customers through more reliable solutions and services. The progression of 4K UHD and IP deployments is making way in many regions. Other technological changes, such as high dynamic range (HDR) and wide color gamut (WCG), which were seeing proof of concepts in the past year, are now deployed with customers in the field. We have been working hard behind the scenes to support those tests and bring to market products that will add value to these technologies in real-world production. We are seeing many customers take concrete steps toward 4K UHD and IP, and our experts are working closely with them to ensure they have the information they need to plan their projects. This business is driven by content, and our advanced portfolio empowers customers to create, control, and connect content wherever, however, and whenever it is consumed.
It should also be noted that many customers are still dealing with the transition from SD to HD/3G for their productions and infrastructures. It should come as no surprise that while Grass Valley is leading the industries it serves with the latest imaging technologies, it also continues to serve those who do not yet find themselves at the cutting edge. By using software-upgradeable solutions, our customers can purchase the formats and functionalities they require today, with the knowledge and security that they can upgrade to more advanced formats and functionality on their terms, when they (and their markets) are ready.
The technology supporting advanced format enhancements has also progressed, particularly in the area of IP, thanks to the efforts of the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS). Many of our customers are waiting for AIMS ratification of SMPTE 2110. They have a view that they are more comfortable with an IP-based solution due to the work of AIMS and its members pushing an interoperable standard forward in the market. Open standards are critical for success in broadcast, and Grass Valley is proud to serve as a founding member of AIMS and to be heavily involved in the ongoing work of the group around the world.
In 2017, in India, we are looking to build on the success we have had over the past few years. We have executed a number of projects with key broadcasters that demonstrate our ability to help all our customers prepare for the future. For example, we recently partnered with Times Network to provide them with a solution, where GV STRATUS – our video production and content management system – will transform their production workflow into an agile and cost-efficient operation with the ability to scale, based on future business and production needs. Another major project we executed this year was from the newly launched news channel, Republic TV, and we are one of the biggest contributors in terms of cutting-edge technology.
Grass Valley is one of the very few companies in this market to provide Glass-to-Glass IP solutions. They are called Glass-to-Glass because they offer video-over-IP connectivity (SMPTE 2022-6) across all the key stages of production, from acquisition to control room monitoring. This spans cameras, routing, gateways plus control and monitoring, along with servers, production switching, and multiviewers. TICO 4:1 visually lossless compression is also supported in our cameras and production switchers to enable 4K UHD in both SDI and IP infrastructures.
Being part of the Belden family of companies gives us an added advantage. The stability and influence of Belden, a proven strategic presence in the broadcast space, enables us to scale and provide a level of support to the market that cannot be matched. This stability and strategic direction are the pillars upon which our future-ready commitment rests.
We are currently working on IP deployments with a number of customers. One unique technology being deployed in many of Grass Valley's IP-based 4K UHD solutions is the use of TICO. The ISO JPEG group is developing JPEG-XS as an ISO standard codec, providing low-latency, low-power, and low-cost hardware/software implementations. TICO is the baseline codec for this standardization effort. Where IP endpoints can still be expensive, TICO allows for a practical application of technology to make both IP and 4K UHD affordable.
As expected, Grass Valley experienced strong international growth. In the United States, our open-architecture IP solution continues to gain momentum, and is being selected by the largest live sports and news broadcasters.
We continue to enhance our relationship with Dell EMC and leverage the power of Isilon storage solutions to enhance playout and news production. Many of our customers employ a Dell EMC Isilon storage solution as the primary store for valuable broadcast media, and its new Isilon All-Flash storage platform complements Grass Valley's iTX on-demand solution. This enables broadcasters and content owners to deliver tailored VOD content to multiple platforms in advance of playout for pre-recorded shows, or to reduce the turnaround time of a live event from hours to just minutes after it finishes airing. In news production, many of the same requirements apply. GV STRATUS is also now qualified for the Dell EMC Isilon X410 storage system, which means that users have the peace of mind when choosing this combination for their operations, no matter the size or budget. Dell EMC Isilon has also proven to be an ideal solution for real-time editing of content with Grass Valley's EDIUS nonlinear editing software.
We are also working with Cisco and have expanded our relationship to develop IP workflow solutions for broadcast and media that will improve our combined customers' business agility. This relationship creates an environment for widespread collaboration between the two companies, covering IP networking, virtualized computation, and security solutions. Of particular note is the more immediate plan to develop a solution that combines the strengths of Grass Valley's Broadcast Data Center architecture with Cisco's Media Blueprint solutions comprising IP-based, virtualized. and media-aware network infrastructure and applications based on open IP standards. By working together on these collaborative solutions, Grass Valley and Cisco will provide broadcasters and media organizations with an integrated offering from playout to transport over IP. As the industry makes the move to IP, both of our companies are committed to creating solutions that solve the business problem of moving to IP, without radically changing the workflow of the operator or saddling organizations with proprietary solutions that will add complexity and interoperability issues down the road.
This is an exciting time to be in the broadcast and media businesses and we are energized by the challenges our customers are facing. This energy helps us focus and continually improve. Over the past several years, we have aggressively pursued opportunities to provide IP solutions to help improve the business agility of our customers, and introduced a wide range of 4K UHD solutions capable of telling a story with stunning visuals. Now we are introducing expansive plans for HDR across our product portfolio, more virtualization, and ways to accommodate the huge influx of user-generated content. Our holistic approach is one that only Grass Valley can offer due to the breadth of our product range.