Manufacturer Musings: Janet Lafleur, Quantum

Janet Lafleur, Quantum
Neal Romanek
September 6th 2016 at 10:32AM : By Neal Romanek


Quantum's Janet Lafleur thinks there will be a lot of growth around virtual and augmented reality at this week's IBC Show.


Name: Janet Lafleur

Job title: Product marketing

Company: Quantum

Number of IBCs you’ve attended? Two

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

There will be a lot of momentum around virtual and augmented reality at the show. It was very prominent at NAB earlier this year and it’s only going to grow. The most interesting aspect is the expansion of VR/AR from gaming and architecture into more mainstream live event and cinematic uses. It brings huge potential for getting really creative, and further enhancing the viewer experience.

With productions getting increasingly ambitious, we’re seeing more cameras being used, particularly in live sports where they’ve become a powerful tool to bring insightful new angles to viewers. Examples of this are innovative POV cameras used in the Olympics, GoPros mounted on handlebars in the Tour de France, Fence Cam housed within the frame of the UFC octagon and the increasing use of aerial solutions like Spidercam and drones. It will be particularly interesting to see how governments legislate drone use, now that they have become so accessible to people.

As you’d expect with the emergence of Ultra-HD, more and more 4K content is now available which will help to push the format on to consumers. But perhaps more interesting, and something that’s likely to provide a more noticeable image improvement to viewers at home is HDR, which expands colour precision from 256 shades to 1023 shades. This means that each pixel has more depth to deliver a wider range of values and in most situations, improves perceived quality more than increasing resolution to 4K. HDR on HD also requires less bandwidth than 4K, so is easier to access on existing home connections.

What will Quantum be highlighting at IBC?

We’ll be showcasing our award-winning Xcellis workflow storage system and demonstrating how its unique converged capabilities empower users to boost their efficiency, productivity and creativity. As well as providing exceptional performance and reliability, Xcellis enables continuous scalability that not only reduces the cost and complexity of storage deployment and maintenance but also enables future expansion in an intelligent, sophisticated manner.

We'll demonstrate Xcellis's ability to support embedded applications, which run on the storage system in a hypervisor to streamline operations and reduce the need for dedicated servers for workflow applications, from asset management to transcode to transport.

Another cool thing we’ll be highlighting at the show are integrations of Quantum Lattus object storage with applications that can operate on objects in addition to files. These integrations enable applications to efficiently process content directly from the Lattus object storage without restoring it to online storage or otherwise converting objects back to files.

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

One of the biggest challenges right now is how the industry adapts to the changing purchase model for TV content. There’s an increasing number of new delivery platforms to factor in, but the key to being successful in this new broadcast landscape is knowing which of these new platforms will be the most lucrative. It’s also vital to ensure that your business is not ignored or frozen out by any of these new players as it could be particularly harmful further down the road.

To be ready to capitalise on the new opportunities that are emerging, it’s vital that content producers have a stable and extensible platform to keep pace with – and even anticipate – new technologies. With image quality improving through HDR, 4K and 8K, file sizes are getting bigger, so it’s never been more important to have a clear infrastructure that can store, manage and deliver this higher-volume content.

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

Our StorNext platform helps our customers contain or reduce power consumption, even as the volume of content they manage grows, by tiering content to media like digital tape. Tape requires far less power and cooling than high-performance disk storage, and when managed by StorNext in a robotic tape library, can scale to multiple petabytes while still offering seamless, direct access to content.

Our partners’ workflow applications can run in virtual machines on our Xcellis storage platform, which reduces the need for dedicated application servers and the additional power and space they require. We’ll be demonstrating this functionality which can address tasks such as media asset management, transcoding and QC, provisioning resources in an exceptionally efficient on-demand model on our stand at IBC2016.

Quantum also has a lot of internal initiatives that help its staff to reduce their carbon footprint where possible. These include a flexible policy on people working from home, which helps to cut transportation needs across the workforce, as well as providing reimbursement use for public transport where possible. In my case, they also provide secure storage my bike so that I can ride into the office every day.

What are your top tips for trade show survival?

Because of the size of the RAI, and the scale of the show, it’s really important to plan your time carefully before you travel so that you see everyone and everything that you want to. Scheduling meetings is a good way to ensure that you get the attention you need to get your questions answered.

I’m sure many will have said it already, but you really can’t underestimate the importance of wearing comfortable shoes, as you’re going to be on your feet for a long time.

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

One of favourite memories of my last visit was unwind floating down the canals in a boat as the sun sets. But pedalling back to the hotel after a long day at the show is a great alternative. It also beats trying to squeeze on to the tram!