Leaving Las Vegas


John Smith TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by John Smith
Issue 112 - April 2016
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What is it about Leaving Las Vegas?

I've had the privilege of being a regular visitor and exhibitor at NAB since the early 1980's. One memorable occasion, our flight home had been overbooked and so an alternative arrangement was made. We wondered why it would take four hours to fly from Vegas to LA? As the pilot turned up in full leather flying gear, including goggles and 20 Sony dealer principals and staff were loaded on to a crop sprayer it became clearer! The request-stop service ended up picking-up and dropping-off additional passengers en-route, however, flying low across the desert offered some of the most stunning views of scenery I've ever seen!

Why keep coming back?

NAB is a global show. Countries from around the world send strong delegations of staff to this one-off showcase. Around 28,000 non-US visitors are expected and this makes NAB comparable in size to some of the other major events held closer to home. In addition, NAB has developed to become far more than just a broadcast exhibition. In all the different halls, different industries converge to demonstrate the latest thinking in technological advancements like no-where else.

For Media Links, NAB also marks the start of our new financial year and we can showcase our very latest IP transport solutions. What we demonstrate lays the foundation for what we will be delivering in September at IBC in Amsterdam.

What Questions do you get asked at NAB?

Most commonly I get asked: 'what do you do and how can you help me?' The only way to answer this is with another question: 'Tell me about your business, what challenges do you face?' To meet a potential client's needs with a sale you need to understand the issues they need to solve. Perhaps the most amusing approach however, was made many years ago, by a visitor looking for a particular product on the booth which his superior had asked him to evaluate. He seemed quite cross when he couldn't find the hardware and waved a piece of paper at me, on which was written one of our competitor's model numbers! We got talking and I ended up selling him our kit instead, as we realised it matched his organisation's requirements somewhat better!

What's your favourite restaurant in Las Vegas?

There are so many! Denny's for breakfast, or I used to love the old school Aladdin Hotel, before they blew it up to make way for progress. The Mexican restaurant in MGM grand and the restaurants in New York New York are lots of fun too.

Most Memorable Party?

Well, what goes on in Vegas must stay in Vegas as they say ...but hosting one customer event in the early 90s at the Motown Cafe in New York, New York, on Karaoke night does spring to mind! More and more people turned up and everyone was having such a great time no-one would leave! The Hotel ran out of beer and had to send out for more refreshments. The party went on all night!

NAB Las Vegas

What are you looking forward to most at NAB?

Getting the chance to meet and talk to so many people from across the globe is always the highlight of the show. We have some new technological developments to demonstrate: our concept of the 'Studio Without Walls' where all content becomes local because it can be transported over IP, over long distances just as easily as if you are moving it to the next room, is exciting. However, it will be the people behind the bunch of boxes which will make the show: customers, distributors and partners as well as the vendors. I think these days, in a maze of technology, often customers don't know who to trust. It's about understanding the issues from a customer's perspective, not what we as manufacturers think they need. Too many assumptions can result in the wrong product, for the wrong customer, even if it is delivered on time at the right price! Meeting face-to-face addresses this challenge and shows we care, we learn to understand their business and can truly deliver the right solutions to match their evolving needs.

What's going to be the Big Topic at NAB this year?

No-doubt there will be several major talking points coming out of the show. For Media Links, remote production over IP is a really big topic. We have actually been enabling the transport of content for live production over IP for a number of years. For example, we provided live content contribution for the Sochi Winter games and World Cup soccer, experiencing 100% uptime and we have an installed customer base of over 1000 sports venues, serving customers on six continents, providing backbone technology behind many major events around the globe. So I am very much looking forward to discussing how we can help more broadcast customers make live production over IP a reality. A step on from this, I am also anticipating talking to people about how moving content in this way can actually become a revenue generator.

Which booths will you be visiting?

I like to visit the ones with interesting applications, I don't get turned-on when someone states that are "unique" as very few things in the technical world are unique. Sometimes, this simply means the company has not done its research, and indeed could be seen as arrogant! I will also be taking a walk by our competitor's booths, where I know I will be welcomed. At odds with such a huge show, this really is a small industry and at the end of the day, sometimes we all need to work together for the benefit of the customer. We might be competitors this year or partners next if the solution is right for the customer.

What bit of Las Vegas would you most like to bring back with you?

Chicken fried steak from Denny's and the best Pina Coladas in the world.

Best bit of advice for someone who's never visited NAB before?

It's a massive show so plan your time well. Remember the booth carpet is thick and plays havoc with your ankles and keep smiling: there is no better place on the planet to be to meet all the great and the good in this industry. If I survive another year, I will definitely be back for NAB 2017!

NAB Las Vegas

Tags: iss112 | NAB 2016 | Media Links | IP | John Smith
Contributing Author John Smith

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