Manufacturer Musings: Ian Trow, Harmonic

Manufacturer Musings: Ian Trow, Harmonic
Neal Romanek
September 8th 2016 at 1:37PM : By Neal Romanek


In the 1990's, Harmonic's Ian Trow landed a job with Sony R&D at his very first IBC Show

Name: Ian Trow

Job title: Senior director, emerging technologies & strategy

Company: Harmonic

Number of IBCs you’ve attended?

I’ve been going to IBC since it was held in Brighton in the early 1990s. My first show is quite memorable. At the time, I was studying at the University of Sussex. Some friends at the BBC couldn’t get accommodations in Brighton and asked to stay at my digs. In exchange they gave me a complimentary ticket to IBC, as well as their accommodation allowances. It paid off because I interviewed for and landed a job at Sony R&D while attending the show.

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

Cloud, virtualisation and UHD will all be hot topics at IBC. In particular, attendees will be looking at how the staged demos can be realised in viable delivery infrastructure.

There is increased interest in targeted advertising, with a wide variety of approaches currently being deployed, especially for monetizing OTT and catch-up TV services. Software as a Service and the viability of the cloud as a replacement for traditional broadcast infrastructure will also be popular. Attendees want to know whether the cloud can scale for peak demand. In addition, HDR technology is attracting a lot of attention, as is the prospect of 1080p being a viable extension to current HD services, broadening the format to include HDR.

What will your company be highlighting at IBC?

Harmonic will show how it’s leading the wave of innovation with the latest advancements in video infrastructure, including cloud-native, content regionalisation and monetisation, VR and UHD OTT solutions. A key highlight will be our VOS cloud-native solutions. Harmonic’s VOS Cloud software-based media processing platform and VOS 360 professional cloud media processing service ( are transforming video preparation and delivery, enabling rapid broadcast and OTT service deployment. Leveraging these new cloud-based offerings, content and service providers can increase monetization through advanced capabilities like cloud DVR and packaging-on-the-fly. We’ll also show a complete UHD HDR workflow and new video-quality assessment technology for OTT workflows that maximises bandwidth efficiency while assuring that video quality targets are hit.

What is the biggest challenge facing the TV industry right now?

Profitable service delivery across the burgeoning number of platforms involves opening up additional channel capacity or transitioning from SD to HD for many DTH providers. UHD adopters are looking to clearing spectrum for future services.

Collapsing workflows and enabling service provision on enterprise infrastructure is another issue. The introduction of either a new format or type of service goes hand in hand with IP networking and software applications replacing dedicated video hardware.

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

Power efficiency, density and rack space are increasingly important. The move to software is breaking the link between infrastructure upgrade and hardware replacement. As video functionality comes within the constraints of enterprise infrastructure, virtualisation and distributed processing becomes a reality, breaking down the traditional product boundaries to enable greater power efficiency.

What are your top tips for trade show survival?

Ask for a bath at hotel check-in, take a good crime novel and lie low during booth setup to save your energy for the show. Play down the excesses of the show, and emphasise how much hard work IBC is to maximise family sympathy once you get home. This might give you the opportunity for a much-needed nap.

Your favourite place(s) in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

Quiet restaurants on the outskirts of Amsterdam are the best, though not to be named so they remain that way. Walking back from the show and taking in a bar or two is fun, provided it isn’t raining!