Manufacturer Musings: Kevin Fitzgerald, Gearhouse Broadcast
Kevin Fitzgerald, sales manager of Gearhouse Broadcast, has attended an amazing 29 IBC's and has seen countless trends come and go. He thinks HDR will be the technology to watch this year and reminds us that The Beach inside the RAI is one of the best networking spots in town.
Name: Kevin Fitzgerald
Job title: Head of system and product sales
Company: Gearhouse Broadcast
Number of IBCs you’ve attended? 29
What do think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?
The main trends at IBC this year will be IP, 4K and HDR. HDR is perhaps the most interesting as it’s come up quickly on the rails, but in my personal view, it may well be more important in the marketplace than 4K. Because HDR can benefit both HD and 4K, I think it will have a more immediate impact because the improvement in quality is there for all to see, and it will help to drive 4K adoption as you’re ultimately delivering better images. From an operational point, HDR is attractive as it requires less bandwidth and manufacturers are prepared for it, having developed solutions like cameras and vision mixers that are HDR-ready. I also think that we’ll see a migration away from the conversion of SDI to IP into a more IP-native environment.
What’s will your company be highlighting at IBC?
Gearhouse will be working with Aperi at IBC and we’ll be running a demonstration on our stand in hall 10 to showcase a new approach to IP infrastructures for live production using data centre-based virtualisation.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the TV industry right now?
From an SI point of view, the industry needs guidance on the best way to proceed with IP adoption. There is confusion around some of the new technology that is being released, and that is putting people off making infrastructure decisions which isn’t helpful to anyone. Our clients want futureproof solutions and they want to see that everyone is heading in the same direction, which at the moment is not the case. IBC will be a good opportunity for manufacturers to address some of the questions about IP that many felt were not answered at NAB.
Given the RAI is two meters below sea level, what is your business doing to address climate change?
Our clients have become more aware of the need to reduce their carbon footprint. There’s now a big push for manufacturers to deliver solutions that use less power, but it’s not just power consumption that can have a big impact as some systems, especially those operating in hotter climates, also require extensive air conditioning in order to keep them cool, which can dramatically increase a carbon footprint. There’s now talk about new technology emerging such as liquid-cooled servers which will help to reduce the amount of power that’s needed, but we’re in the very early stages of that. I think that over the next couple of years, we’ll see new methods of cooling equipment down emerge, especially around computer servers which we are using more and more of, particularly within broadcasting.
What are you top tips for trade show survival?
Take in a lot of liquids, just not so much beer, which is easier said than done.
Your favourite place(s) in Amsterdam to unwind and why?
From a networking point of view, the IBC beach bar at the RAI is a great place to go. You should spend at least one evening there during your stay as you’ll meet a lot of interesting people. Otherwise, Amsterdam is a city full of nice restaurants so getting a good steak, Chinese or Indian meal is never a problem.