Manufacturer Musings: Ben Davenport, Dalet

Dalet's Ben Davenport
Neal Romanek
Interview
August 19th 2016 at 3:52PM : By Neal Romanek

Dalet

Dalet's Ben Davenport think this year's IBC will see vendors exploiting the cloud in beneficial ways. He also calculates that the delegate travel to and from IBC will have a carbon footprint equal to twice the output of all Dalet's tech deployments worldwide over an entire year.

 

Name: Ben Davenport, director of marketing, Dalet Digital Media Systems

Number of IBCs you’ve attended? 14

What do think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?

For me there’s the “now” and the “next”. This year, “now” is definitely “cloud” – it’s been a buzz word for a while but I think (or perhaps know) that this IBC will see vendors present solutions that truly exploit cloud for the benefit of end users. Next is IP. Again, the buzz word has been around for a while but the reality is that we have some way to go in making full IP solutions really viable – however, I’m really excited to see that all the various groups working towards this (AES, AIMS, AMWA, EBU, SMPTE & VSF) coming together for an interop demo, just down from our stand B77 in Hall 8.

What will your company be highlighting at IBC?

As always, with such a broad portfolio we’ve got a ton of new features to show off, but at the stand we’ll be focusing on three things. The modern newsroom, our cloud-based xN solutions, and how tools including our workflow engine combine with standards like IMF and the latest DPP specifications to get true efficiency in program preparation and delivery.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the TV industry right now?

In short, legacy. Whether that refers to management of archives, or handling fractional frame rates derived from power systems and old chroma encoding mechanisms, legacy defines a lot of what we do and can, if not dealt with appropriately, be a hindrance when looking to address the changing and growing video consumption.

Given that the RAI is two meters below sea level, what is your business doing to address climate change?

This question prompted me to do some very quick and dirty math with interesting results:

Dalet currently has around 450 active video deployments and the same again for radio. Taking into account the average number of servers/workstations per deployment, carbon emissions derived from power/cooling requirements work out as roughly 23,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

Looking at IBC2015 attendance demographics, the mix of train/plane/car travel (for western Europe at least) and the CO2 emissions for average duration of journey for people travelling to the show, just the attendees travelling to IBC generate around 53,000 tonnes of CO2 or roughly 1 tonne per attendee on average.

As with so many things where efficiency is important, it’s critical to take a global view to energy consumption and waste. As a business, that means looking at everything from the usage of disposable water cups to writing efficient code in software that minimises CPU cycles. However, our best chance to reduce waste and energy consumption is by designing efficient workflows and carefully considering choices when deploying projects.

Even things like codecs can have a surprising impact on energy consumption – e.g., using a codec that is highly CPU-intensive on encode or decode could then minimise bit rate, having an impact on network and storage infrastructure, the two must be considered in balance based on throughput and other considerations.

What are you top tips for trade show survival?

First, be prepared. IBC is a pretty exhausting experience for exhibitors and visitors alike - walking to the wrong hall or having unproductive meetings can make it a real grind.

Second, take a night off. We’re really lucky that our hotel does great home-style evening meals and has free on-demand movies, but there are some great casual neighbourhood restaurants in the area around Albert Cuypmarkt where you can grab a relaxed early dinner and enjoy a bit of “real” Amsterdam.

Third, rent a bike. There’s nothing like it in the morning to clear any fog left over from the evening before, and it’s so much nicer than standing in line for a taxi or squeezing onto a tram at the end of the day – even when the weather is less good.

Favourite place(s) in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

I recently took my first ever “non-work” trip to Amsterdam and discovered some amazing places. One that really stood out that I will make great efforts to get to during the show is a restaurant called InStock in the Czaar Peterbuurt area. Their philosophy is to reduce food waste by collecting the odd shape vegetables that supermarkets across Amsterdam can’t sell and create daily menus from whatever ingredients they get that day – they even have their own (really quite good) beer made partly from fermented potatoes.