In conversation with Andreas Hilmer, director - Marketing & Communications, Lawo

Andreas Hilmer, director - Marketing & Communications, Lawo, enlightens us on the latest happenings at 2019’s NAB gala
Andreas Hilmer, director - Marketing & Communications, Lawo
Andreas Hilmer, director - Marketing & Communications, Lawo

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How was the experience at this year’s NAB Show?
Hilmer:
NAB Show 2019 was a buzz for us. Official visitor numbers might have gone down, ours went significantly up. I assume this is mainly due to the fact, that the migration of the broadcast industry to IP has become an unquestionable fact. And as Lawo is known as an IP-native company with a portfolio ranging from audio and video-to-IP interfacing, audio and video processing to IP broadcast control and real-time telemetry and monitoring, we are having a very comprehensive and compelling offering for customers, who either plan a green-field facility or are in the process of migrating parts of their existing infrastructure to IP.

What was different, as compared to its previous versions?
Hilmer:
As the availability of ST2110- compliant products increased, and the rapidly increasing number of real-world deployments show tangible benefits, IP was again be the most-discussed topic on the show floor. What has changed, is mainly the attitude and the according questions. In previous years it used to be a ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ – now, it is just the question of ‘When can we start?’

What is the latest wave of technology doing the rounds of the media industry?
Hilmer:
If you recall the article I wrote some years ago about Broadcast 3.0, I described that the migration to IP is only one out of four prerequisites - for the next generation of broadcast production workflows.The others were about software-defined, function- and format agnostic processing hardware, resource-aware orchestration and control tools, which allow to temporarily map network-based resources to specific productions, and AI-enhanced systems, which allow for automated workflows and technology- assisted productions. At NAB Show, one could see approaches for all of these.

Which technologies did you see more of, at NAB Show 2019?
Hilmer:
One thing besides IP in general, was the quick adoption of HDR and 4k, which we have already integrated into our IP products. These technologies seem to become standard in quite a short time. And as its natural counterpart to 4k video,immersive sound was also a hot topic at the show. Beyond that I was closely following the utilisation of blockchain and AI technology, of which I personally think that these contain a huge and very disruptive potential for our industry.

How do you, as a company, intend to keep pace with the ever-changing tech landscape?
Hilmer:
This is an interesting question. I guess for Lawo as a company, who has always been at the forefront of technological developments, this ‘keeping pace’ is somehow natural. It would certainly be over the top, however, its undeniable that in many cases we were one of the driving forces behind major technological changes in our industry. This goes back into the early days, when we introduced motorfaders or digital control to mixing consoles and it does not stop with the development of IP-based solutions.We are set to help our customers realise broadcast production under the broadcast 3.0 paradigm.

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Where do you see the industry heading in the next 2-3 years?
Hilmer:
We are all on a very interesting journey, both manufacturers and customers. For Lawo, partnership has always been one of the core values, and I personally see this as the key to solve the current challenges on both sides. In the next 2-3 years, traditional broadcasters will continue to re-invent themselves, the FAANG players will continue to disrupt media and content owners will continue to become media players on their own behalves. The need to produce more content with the same resources whilst keeping up quality to remain competitive with other media offerings will continue to be a challenge, and I’m glad that we can help our customers already today to build up new workflows and resource-optimised infrastructure. On the other side our customers are very creative as well, e.g. in the use of our technology – so I’m looking forward to the results these partnerships will have created in the upcoming years.

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