Posts Tagged ‘Larry Kaplan’

Don’t Miss The Media Technology Business Summit at the 2016 NAB Show

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Conference Sessions, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 16 2016

Media Technology Business Summit

1:00pm – 5:00pm, Sunday, April 17, 2016

Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N249

Open to all 2016 NAB Show Registrants

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2016 Devoncroft NAB Media Technology Busienss Summit

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Conference Agenda

1:00pm – Strategic Industry Analysis: Valuations, M&A, and Equity Finance

  • Joshua Stinehour, Principal Analyst Devoncroft

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1:25pm – Follow the Money: Trends Driving Media Investment

  • Joe Zaller, Founder & President Devoncroft

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1:50pm – Change is the New Normal: Transforming for Business Success in the New Media Landscape

  • Ulf Ewaldsson, SVP, Group CTO, & Head of Group Function Ericsson

 

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2:10pm – The Vendor C-Suite: Strategies for an Evolving Market

  • Louis Hernandez, Jr., President & CEO Avid
  • Charlie Vogt, CEO Imagine Communications
  • Larry Kaplan, Founder & CEO SDVI
  • Dan Castles, CEO Telestream

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2:50pm – The Broadcaster C-Suite: Trends Driving Investment Decisions

  • John Honeycutt, CTO Discovery Communications
  • Renu Thomas, EVP Media Operations, Engineering & IT Disney/ABC Television Group
  • Richard Friedel, EVP and GM Fox Network Engineering and Operations
  • Håvard Myklebust, CTO TV2 Norway

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3:30pm – Leveraging Hyperscale IT Infrastructure for Next-Generation Media Workflows

  • Michelle Munson, President, CEO, and Co-Founder Aspera, an IBM Company
  • Michael Koons, VP, Worldwide Systems Engineering Cisco Systems
  • Tom Burns, CTO, Media & Entertainment EMC/Isilon
  • Ulf Ewaldsson, SVP, Group CTO, & Head of Group Function Ericsson

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4:00pm – Service Provider C-Suite: Perspectives on Industry Trends

  • Chris Walters, CEO Encompass Digital Media
  • Ramki Sankaranarayanan, Founder & CEO Prime Focus Technologies
  • Avi Cohen, CEO RR Media

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4:30pm – AWS Keynote – “All In”: Cloud Transformation of the Media Industry

  • Alex Dunlap, General Manager AWS CloudFront
  • Sam Blackman, CEO and Co-Founder Elemental Technologies

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We look forward to seeing you there. Additional information on the Summit is available from the Devoncroft Partners website and the NAB Show website.

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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Arista Networks Files for $200 Million IPO

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, Broadcast technology vendor financials, SEC Filings | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 02 2014

IP switching vendor Arista Network has filed for an IPO and plans to raise as much as $200m.

The company has garnered a great deal of attention from leading broadcast technologists because one of its products enables frame-accurate switching of uncompressed HD-SDI video over IP (SMPTE 2022-6).

Arista, whose core customers are high-speed financial traders and cloud computing firms, had revenue of $361.2m in 2013, up 87% versus the previous year, and its net income doubled to $42.5m.

Based on these results, it’s clear that the company is aiming for data center and financial clients rather than the much smaller broadcast routing switcher market.

Nevertheless, Arista has made friends in high places in the broadcast world.

At the annual SMPTE technical conference in October 2013, Artista founder Andy Bechtolsheim co-presented a paper with Thomas Edwards, VP of Engineering & Development at FOX NE&O called “Video Processing in an FPGA-enabled Ethernet Switch,” which described how Fox has tested Arista’s product in its lab.  Although Bechtolsheim was careful to note that the demonstration was a proof-of-concept rather than a product, Edwards said that Arista products showed great promise, by performing extremely well and not dropping a single packet.

At the time of the 2013 SMPTE conference, Edwards said “FOX NE&O believes that professional media networking is the future of the broadcast plant, including the networked transport of our uncompressed high-definition live video streams. We believe that converging our video streams onto the Ethernet infrastructure will provide enhanced agility and flexibility to our business, and also it may potentially bring savings by allowing us to purchase more COTS hardware and thus benefit from economies of scale. The broadcast industry is at a very early point in this technological transition, so FOX NE&O greatly values Arista Networks’ contribution to this proof-of-concept to help test out some of the basic video processing requirements of professional media networks.”

Fox is not the only proponent of moving towards a truly IP-based infrastructure, governed by software defined networking (SDN). Indeed this shift may be one of the biggest technology trends over the next 5+ years, and bring major changes to the industry as a result.

Last month Eric Wolf, VP Technology Strategy at PBS told the audience at the HPA Technology Retreat that his company’s new disaster recovery center that’s based completely on virtualized IT systems, along with “little bits” of traditional broadcast gear.  Although this new facility is not yet based on SDN or cloud enabled, it’s the first step on the path.  DR is a great test facility so it’s a positive step along the way, “but as we look at our next big playout system, the big question on the table is whether we can go all IP for all the routing in the plant and the suspicion is that we can.”

Speaking at the same event, Fox NE&O EVP and GM Richard Friedel said IP is “well along the way towards becoming real. We do have IP-based routers in our plant today, and IP technology is just going to proliferate.  If you walk into any of our equipment rooms at the moment, there is almost no classic broadcast vendor anymore. Instead you’ll see rows of Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Cisco. We’re really in an all-IP world now. We’ve got huge virtualization farms already and this is coming. In five years no one will build a plant of our size that’s not based on IP concepts.”

But it’s not just IT companies who are pushing software defined networking.  Traditional broadcast vendors are also embracing SDN and applying it to the broadcast infrastructure.

Last week Imagine Communications (formerly Harris Broadcast) introduced MultiService SDN, which the company says is “a SDN framework that creates a fully virtualized network fabric for deploying advanced services, and enables the video bit flow to be software-mapped, simplifying the network architecture of media companies operating in hybrid environments with both baseband and IP workflows.”

Another notable example of this trend include a Silicon Valley start-up called SDVI, led by Omneon co-founder Larry Kaplan, who said last year that the focus of his new company is to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry.

Belgium-based SDNsquare, whose CEO and co-founder, Lieven Vermale, is the former Director of Technology and Innovation at the European Broadcasting Union, is another start-up operating in this area.

One important group in the transition to IP-based broadcasting is the EBU-SMPTE-VSF Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM), a cross-industry group of broadcasters and technology vendors working to define the future of the all-IP broadcast facility. You can download December 2013 JT-NM whitepaper here.

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Related Content:

Arista Networks S1 (IPO) Filing — March 31 2014

Press Release: Imagine Communications Introduces Software-Defined Networking and Workflows

EBU/SMPTE/VSF Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) Gap Analysis Report, December 2013

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

Press Release: Arista Networks and Fox NE&O Debut Network Integrated IP-Video Processing Proof of Concept

Software Defined Networking – Coming Soon to a Broadcaster Near You?

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

TVTechnology Article: Larry Kaplan, Omneon Co-founder Launches Media Software Company

SDNsquare

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Software Defined Networking – Coming Soon to a Broadcaster Near You?

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 09 2013

In a recent article, titled As Software Takes Over, Network Gear Could Be in Jeopardy, Barron’s columnist Tiernan Ray describes how “software defined networking” (SDN) may enable software-based systems to cannibalize the market for traditional hardware-based network switches sold by companies like Cisco, Juniper, and Alcatel-Lucent.

Although the article focuses on how SDN might impact major IT networking vendors, Ray could have just as easily been writing about broadcast technology.

Take for example, the first two paragraphs:

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“A decade ago, I asked a venture capitalist in computer networking if dedicated network gear would ever be replaced by software running on a standard computer. My hypothesis was that as general-purpose computers became more powerful, they could absorb functions that previously required specialized computer hardware, the way many functions can be performed on PCs today that once required mainframes. The venture capitalist assured me it would never happen, for a variety of reasons, even if it became technologically possible.

“Fast forward 10 years, and the computer networking world is abuzz with talk of “software-defined networking”— software that can perform the same functions as dedicated hardware, but instead runs on an Intel-based server.”

 

Ten years ago much of the broadcast industry was dominated by bespoke hardware, and it would have been hard for many to imagine that these products could be replaced by software running on generic IT hardware.

But this is exactly what happened as the broadcast industry transitioned to file-based workflows. Video servers replaced tape machines, graphics & branding became increasingly software-based, software-based transcoding became ubiquitous, and traditional master control functionality slowly began to be replaced by integrated playout (channel-in-a-box) systems.

Although the broadcast market has undoubtedly seen tremendous change during this time, it’s likely that we are still in the early innings of the true “ITification” of the industry.  So what’s next?

To get an idea of what the future might hold for broadcast, one only has to look at the of the (significantly larger) IT industry, where investor Marc Andreessen famously wrote that “software is eating the world.”

The IT industry has gone through massive changes – with SDN being one of the latest – driven by new technology; the availability of on-demand cloud-based computing power; low power, high performance semiconductors; falling memory prices;  end-user mobility; and customer demand for greater efficiency, automated operations, and better analytics.

Sound familiar?

The same “external forces” that have changed the IT industry are also impacting the broadcast and media technology business.   If/when these changes take hold in the broadcast industry, there will be significant ramifications for both end-users (broadcasters and media companies) and technology vendors.

The TV business has changed dramatically over the past ten years, particularly on the distribution side. While it’s easy to focus on consumer-oriented statistic such as the amount of video being consumed on phones and tablets, and the consumer’s desire to have an anytime, anywhere media experience; these trends often don’t directly impact most broadcast technology vendors.  They do however impact the customers of technology vendors (broadcasters and media companies), who are making plans today that will let them take advantage of new technologies, and as a result radically change the landscape of the industry.

It remains to be seen how radical these changes will be.  However, another look at the IT industry again provides a glimpse of what might be in store.

Writing in Barron’s, Ray describes some of the implications for traditional IT switching hardware:

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“A more prosaic battle is playing out, as Cisco and others are already cannibalizing the network switches they have long sold, providing what are called “virtual” switches that are just software programs that run on a server.

“A network switch or router is a specialized computer with specially developed chips that perform calculations to determine how to direct bits of data between computers. As complex as they are, some of those calculations can now be efficiently performed in software running on Intel processors.

“The virtual switch movement is already having an impact on network equipment, shaking up the rankings of who’s top dog in individual categories of switching.”

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According to Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa, who follows the IT industry, this means “an entire class of switching equipment may go away.”

Could this also happen in broadcast?  Time will tell, but a number of vendors are already working on solutions to make this a reality.

Ray goes on to highlight another major force that has impacted the IT networking industry, Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), which delivers virtually unlimited computing powers that can be “elastically provisioned” on an as-needed basis.

According to Gartner’s Skorupa, AWS has major implications for makers of hardware-based networking gear.

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“Amazon Web Services can become a buyer of tremendous power, and one thing it may do is buy a lot more networking software than hardware, they opine.

“The immediate result, says Skorupa, is that switch software should cost less than hardware boxes, which means lower revenue for networking vendors.”

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Could the same thing happen in the broadcast technology space?

If so what are the implications for both end-users and technology vendors?

Major broadcaster and media companies realize they can gain tremendous efficiency advantages by leveraging advances in the IT industry. Therefore many of these organizations are taking a hard look at how to integrate some of these new IT technologies into their operations.

Some have gone as far as saying their ultimate goal is a “virtualized broadcast infrastructure with in-line processing.”  In other words, they foresee a future where the broadcast infrastructure is housed in an IT data center, and the operations done today primarily by hardware boxes are carried out by software that plugs in to the IT core.  And by the way, broadcasters probably won’t be building this facility.  Instead, they’ll rent computing power on an as-needed basis from AWS or some other cloud-based service provider.

Sound far-fetched? That’s what the venture capitalist told Barron’s Tiernan Ray ten years ago about the software replacing network switches IT industry.

Today there is evidence that the broadcast industry is already moving in this direction. For example, all 29 Hearst stations are using Signiant’s a cloud-based advertising spot delivery, Vizrt and NVidia are collaborating to virtualize broadcast graphics using Nvidia’s grid technology, and at NAB 2013 Fox announced that it intends to move master control to the cloud in collaboration with Snell.

So perhaps it’s inevitable that, like the rest of the world, the broadcast industry will also be “eaten by software.” When this happens, it will be important that software applications are both fit for purpose, and interoperable.  Fortunately, work is being done today that will hopefully ensure interoperability between next generation broadcast systems and applications.

The Video Services Forum (VSF), along with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and SMPTE, have brought together a group of leading broadcasters, media companies, and technology vendors and created a Joint Task Force on Networked Media.

The VSF Task Force — which is being led by Richard Friedel, EVP & GM, Fox NE&O and VSF President, VSF executive director Brad Gilmer, Hans Hoffman of the EBU, and Peter Symes of SMPTE — is not a standards setting body. Its vision is to enable new business opportunities through the exchange of professional media across networks, taking advantage of the benefits of IT-based technology at an affordable price.  The Task Force, working in an open participatory environment, will map out a strategy for developing a packet-based network infrastructure for the professional media industry by bringing together manufacturers, broadcasters and industry organizations (standards bodies and trade associations) with the objective to create, store, transfer and stream professional media.  Anyone who wants to join this important initiative should contact Bob Ruhl at the VSF.

The VSF Task Force is moving quickly in order to ensure that a common framework, focused on interoperability, is established before hundreds new products, which might otherwise be incompatible, are introduced in the coming months and years by both established vendors and newcomers.

These firms believe they have significant opportunities to leverage advanced IT technologies, including SDN, into their broadcast-oriented product lines. As a result, it’s likely we’ll see an entirely new category of products and services being introduced over the next few years.

A notable example of this is a Silicon Valley start-up called SDVI, led by Omneon co-founder Larry Kaplan, who said earlier this year that the focus of his new company is to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry.

Details of SDVI (which is a member of the VSF Task Force) are opaque at this point, but Kaplan (who occasionally blogs about SDVI here), told TV Technology magazine that his new company will “take advantage of advances in IT technology and cloud-based services within the broadcast infrastructure to improve workflow and operational efficiencies,” and launch its first products at IBC 2013.

Although Kaplan new firm and others are already moving quickly to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry, there is still confusion about the technology and what it means for both vendors and end-users.

Indeed there is even confusion in the IT networking world according to Juniper Networks, whose website says “SDN is the talk of the networking world. But as popular as it’s been lately, it’s still shrouded in misconception.”

In an attempt to demystify the topic, Juniper has created an SDN white paper, which can be downloaded here.

Documents such as this are worth reading since SDN may very well be coming soon to a broadcaster near you.

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Related Content:

Barron’s Article: As Software Takes Over, Network Gear Could Be in Jeopardy

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

The Video Services Forum

SDVI company blog

TV Technology: Larry Kaplan, Omneon Co-founder Launches Media Software Company

TV News Check: Hearst Goes To The Cloud For Ad Delivery

TV News Check: Fox TV Network Putting Master Control In The Cloud

Marc Andreessen: Why Software Is Eating The World (via WSJ)

Wikipedia: Software Defined Networking

Juniper Networks Whitepaper: Decoding Software Defined Networking – SDN Information and Strategy

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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