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NAB New York 2022 Tech Chat Theater — New Technologies Create Opportunities for Content Monetization

Creating More Content For A Multimedia Audience

 

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For broadcasters, sports organizations, and other rights holders, the hunt to find new sources of audience-building content – and the associated revenue streams they can provide – is an ongoing challenge. Recent technology advances in the areas of AI-driven systems, private 5G networks, and innovative remote production techniques have the potential to revolutionize the way content is captured, distributed and monetized. Vislink’s acquisition of Mobile Viewpoint has brought it an expanded stable of such innovations. Together with technology partner VidOvation, Vislink discusses how these solutions can deliver all-IP streamlined workflows, increased engagement, and higher returns on live event coverage than previously possible.

TRANSCRIPT:

Emily Reigart:
Hi, I’m Emily Reigart, Senior Editor with NAB Amplify. I’m here today with representatives from Vislink and VidOvation. Hi guys.
Jim Jachetta:
Hey, how’s it going?
Mickey Miller:
Hi, how’s it going?
Emily Reigart:
Jim and Mickey, would you like to take some time to introduce yourselves and your backgrounds?
Mickey Miller:
Yeah. Great. My name’s Mickey Miller. I’m CEO of VisLink. Vislink is a video centric wireless network provider. Any medium, whether it’s proprietary Cofftum, 5G, bonded 5G and 4G, any medium with an AI layer to make workflows more efficient. I’ve been in the tech industry for many years, and have built and sold companies along the way.
Emily Reigart:
Great. Jim, how about you?
Jim Jachetta:
Hi everyone. Thanks for having us today. It was a pleasure to be here. I’m Jim Jachetta, CTO and co-founder of VidOvation. We do quite a few different things. One of the things we’re specializing or featuring here at the show is at home production or Remy production. Producing a show with multiple cameras over an unmanaged network, whether that’s cellular or the public internet. We represent and are partners Vislink, so we represent many of their solutions, wireless from Vislink to their bonded cellular mobile viewpoint products. We also have a line of lower cost wireless solutions, and we’re also working with a lot of media facilities offering enterprise IP TV and digital signage.
So those are some of the things that we’re doing and featuring here at the show today.
Emily Reigart:
Excellent. So you told us a little bit about yourselves, a little bit of an intro about your companies as well.
Mickey, is there anything else you’d like to add about Vislink?
Mickey Miller:
Yeah, so along with what Jim said, remote production is a key trend in the industry as well as leveraging both Cloud, big data AI and 5G, and whatever medium. So when you look at our offering what we’ve introduced for the show, one is our 5G for live solution. It’s a private network that’s used for a multiple of different use cases, whether it’s video uplink, remote camera control, tally, you name it; it’s able to handle across the board.
In addition, we’ve introduced, again, with that theme of remote production, our Terra Link Remy product, which is basically a four camera encoder that allows you to have, again, tally, all the tools that you need to be able to remotely produce an event over SRT, or whatever medium makes sense.
So we find that hugely valuable; it’s a very competitive cost to be able to remote produce a variety of different content. And as you know, content is so desirable in all types of formats that we’re there to help our customers create more compelling and innovative content.
So one of the things we’ve introduced is our click product. This is either 2 1080P feeds or one 4K HVC feed. So, many times you can see it for a camera shot and a shoulder shot. So very immersive; but whether it be motor sports or any type of sport to be able to connect to that really compelling video that a lot of companies are looking for.
And as well as this is our traditional, what we call our HCam. This is a proprietary Cofftum network product that you’ll see everywhere; there were 27 of these at the Superbowl, at major events. You see this type of product and what we’ve added onto it is now a 5G transmitter. So in a 5G environment you can also leverage the encoder from this, so it allows a lot of flexibility for our partners to be able to do it in whatever mode is available.
In addition, we have our bonded 4G, 5G solutions as well. So we’re given flexibility to our partners to be able to create all types of different content because whether it’s fast channels or traditional channels or traditional broadcasts, everybody’s looking for new. This type of product, when you look at reality TV shows, game shows, huge product because it gives you the flexibility. You don’t have a chord and power cord to deal with.
Emily Reigart:
Yeah, content is certainly the currency not just at the show this year, but in terms of anything we’re doing in the media and entertainment business. So can we talk about a little bit what you’re hearing from customers? I don’t know if you both would like to take this question in terms of challenges related to the demand for content and how you’re able to help address it.
Jim Jachetta:
Well yeah, I think in our industry, and I’m sure Mickey will agree, there’s always a challenge with that first mile getting the content onto the network or getting the content into the cloud and Mickey purchased the company to solve that very problem. Their bread and butter is the microwave, getting it from the field to the truck. But if you use cellular, you can bypass the truck, you can do the at home production, bring the video, bring ISO cameras back to your master control; hence the term at home: I produced and show them at my home.
But now with Covid at home has now really become your home; there’s people working from home. So they came up with that term years ago and it’s really applicable now. We’re very pleased to work as a Vislink partner. Mickey mentioned reality TV shows, a reality TV show in Mexico approached us in VidOvation, specified a bunch of this Cofftum technology.
They have a wide variety of products; products with a receiver built into the monitor for video assist, et cetera. So there’s a number of different systems that we integrated into the workflow. At VidOvation, we like to solve problems; we listen to our customers and together we felt VisLink was the best choice and they came up with a solid solution for that.
We’re also excited in partnering with VisLink. They have a bunch of camera AI technology; one product that’s not AI based is called the trolley. The trolley. We have it in both of our booths. So with analyst talent working from home during Covid, they didn’t want a technician coming into the house; wasn’t allowed. So they make a nice little box, you open up the lid, a PTZ camera pops out, there’s a monitor. The operator only has to know how to plug it in and hit the power switch and open a latch and it’s live.
If the talent doesn’t know how to frame the camera as a little remote, they can frame the camera from master control. Then they’re also using AI in the studio and on sporting fields to capture content where in the studio you don’t have the budget for camera operators. So it’s PTZ cameras. This whole event could have been done and right now the AI would know that I’m speaking, so the camera would zoom tight in on me. Then if one of you speak it would go wide and the AI figures out and produces the show automatically. So that’s in the studio.
And then they have the IQ sport, which is a similar concept where they take several 4K images of the field and stitch them together and the AI follows the soccer ball, it follows the hockey puck and they’re teaching it new sports. It’s a European solution, so the European solutions came first. Hockey, football is really soccer but you guys are training it to do football now, right? That’s coming next.
Mickey Miller:
Yeah, we have it at a division one school right now where it’s training it and it learns not only the movement of the ball but also the rules of the game. And what’s interesting now we’ve taken that AI layer and we can say, we can train it to what highlights are. So it knows that a highlight is created. So if you want to say when this happens, it creates a highlight, or if two specific people are in the clip, then it will create a highlight and that highlight can immediately be sent over social or you can mint an NFT with it. And so there’s a variety of things that you can do and it’s all machine driven.
And then downstream, there’s so much content coming in that both news producers, floor producers, everyone’s looking okay, “I can’t look at it all.” Because when you look at what we do, we want to get as much content to that can be remotely produced. But then when you do that, how then do you manage all that content? And that’s where we use our AI to identify, “this is what you’re looking for, this is a highlight. This is what after a football game,” for instance, it automatically creates a highlight reel that you can then send right out to whatever feed you’d like to. And so given that ability to have machines make those decisions and whittle down the decisions that humans need to make, we see a lot of value in our customers see that as a lot of value.
Emily Reigart:
I’m really just struck by how many different trends and buzz worthy topics the two of you have mentioned in the past five minutes.
Mickey Miller:
We’re just getting started!
Jim Jachetta:
Like, “What does that mean?”
Emily Reigart:
I mean I think you’ve been pretty good at staying away from any of the more obscure acronyms, but I mean you’re clearly on the content train, you’re clearly on the next edge and you’ve also been looking down the road at things like what was at home when it really is in your living room and where it’s going next.
So I’m curious if there are any other trends that you haven’t touched on yet since you said that you were just getting started and where you think things are going in 2023 and maybe even beyond for your business?
Mickey Miller:
You want to take there?
Jim Jachetta:
So one of the common questions that I get, I don’t know if you get this question too Mickey, maybe you do. “Well, you offer a number of different bonded cellular solutions. 5G is here, aren’t you going to be out of business?”
So I grew up in New York, so I know traffic, but you don’t know traffic until you move to California, cause they don’t have trains. There’s no trains, no public transportation. So you have to drive and the bus is scary or they don’t have that many buses. So I used that analogy. Since, I’ve been living in California about 13 years now. They’ve been continually putting more lanes on the highway. So you think, “Traffic’s going to go away.” The second there’s a new lane, they fill it with more cars. So I use the same analogy; 5G, they’re going to fill the highway with more bandwidths, it’s going to be more uses, more consumer uses.
The carriers have been promising a quality of service or a private channel for us media vendors to use to get a higher level service. One of these years they’ll figure it out. I mean, fundamentally they could do it if they want to, but there’s restrictions; Net neutrality gets in the way. Then also the other thing is people don’t remember is we’re pushing the video out as a consumer, when we’re using our phone, we’re watching Netflix, Hulu, whatever your flavor of choice, the down link is fast and the 5G that’s out there now it’s 5G from the tower to your phone. The core of the tower is still 4G.
So I don’t remember, years ago when 3G came out, there was litigation. “It’s really 3G light, it’s not…” So we’re not fully 5G yet, and then if we’re talking 5G, it’s the sub six gigahertz 5G.
It’s not the millimeter wave stuff. The really high throughput stuff. We’ve done some testing with Verizon, we’ve done some proof of concept, but where I see the big benefit in 5G is yes, we’ll have more bandwidth, but the latency will be lower. So we can be more aggressive. Cellular needs some buffering because it’s a choppy network. So the network will be more consistent, will have lower latency. And everyone wants…
I mean you do low latency camera systems.
Mickey Miller:
Yeah.
Jim Jachetta:
They want the latency essentially zero. So we can get there, we can get closer to that with 5G for sure.
Mickey Miller:
Yeah, and one thing I think 5G will do over time is not just on the production side but on the distribution side. So as consumers, a lot of our customers want to talk to us about how can we customize specific feeds to whoever your favorite player is, your favorite driver or whatever is of interest to you to customize that.
So 5G in the down link element of that allows you to do many of those things. So it’s going to be about more content, more compelling content that’s customized to the individual viewer. And then how do you stay connected to your customer? That’s what our customers want to know, how we can use technology to allow them to stay connected to their customer beyond the three hour day when they’re at that sporting event?
Emily Reigart:
Yeah, you’re talking about a lot of basic supply and demand challenges. Like with 5G, there’s just going to be more demand driven up and there’s a lot of that traffic cop issue as well. So these are all really great points that you two have raised and I believe we have about a minute left. So if there’s any final words that you guys would like to impart, please take the opportunity.
Mickey Miller:
Well, thank you for coming. We’re very glad you’re here and we’ll continue to innovate, so that all of us as consumers can get that content the way we like it, when we want it.
Jim Jachetta:
Yeah, I think Mickey touched on it. We talked about it earlier too there. I’m encouraged like Amazon doing Thursday night football there. There’ve been some growing pains, some bandwidth challenges. We won’t get into that, but maybe we can solve that for Amazon.
Mickey Miller:
That’s right.
Jim Jachetta:
But more content. So there’s a bigger demand for content. So we do a lot of work with the PGA and for the many of the Masters tournaments, they will use microwave Mickey’s core technology. But for the Korn Ferry, basically like the AAA, the minor leagues of golf, you have to work your way up to get to the Masters; I’m not a golf expert, I’m a behind the scenes guy.
But to work your way up to the masters, there’s lower tiers and there’s not the budget, the advertising dollars, like the masters tournaments as the Korn Ferry tournaments. So we’re doing the Korn Ferry tournaments, we’re getting more content to the golf channel, more coverage to the internet where two, three, four, five years ago, golf fans could not see that content.
So Mickey and I are offering lower cost solutions to capture that content where the budgets for the gear and the personnel are not there and we’re solving those problems.
Mickey Miller:
One last comment about the PGA. 10 years ago, the PGA had one person that handled the IT and comms and video. Now there’s over a hundred people; they want to be able to film every single shop by every single player. So, that’s just one example of one brand, but that’s happening across the board.
Emily Reigart:
And I can second all of that as the sister of a brother who worked for the PGA and the ops. So, that’s it!
You may think golf is a boring sport, but putting it all together is far from a slow paced game.
Mickey Miller:
Yeah.
Emily Reigart:
So thank you both for your time. I’m sure some of you have some questions and you’re encouraged to step over to the networking lounge and say hi to Mickey and Jim and learn a little bit more. And thank you for your time.
Jim Jachetta:
Thank you
Mickey Miller:
Thank you everyone. Thank you.

 

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