Broadcasters are constantly analysing their performances and trying to circumvent workflow bottlenecks, and to do so they are relying on datasets that are getting larger and larger, says Connect director of sales and product strategy Mathieu Yerle.
Can you briefly outline your history with Connect, and explain your approach to the monitoring and control solutions space?
I joined Connect in early 2017 when the company was created to help build its strategy and lead the global business development efforts. Today I continue to oversee the operations from sales to project delivery and support.
Monitoring and control solutions have always been part of our group’s DNA. In fact, even prior to the creation of Connect, most of our engineering team was already developing very similar solutions for a sister company of the group, Worldcast Systems.
At the time, however, the solution [in question] was a proprietary one and could only integrate hardware products also manufactured by Worldcast Systems. In fact, the idea of building enterprise-grade M&C solution was born there as we noticed that many vendors develop their own monitoring systems, but these are usually only compatible with their own products. We thought it would be extremely helpful to build monitoring and control systems that would be vendor-agnostic so they can integrate with any product from any vendor.
The product positioning has evolved logically as we are now offering a global and unified platform that manages complete infrastructures from content production to distribution – overseeing the wide variety of products and brands typically found in these environments.
In what primary ways have customers’ expectations of network and infrastructure monitoring and control solutions changed over the last few years?
I think the main change we have been seeing is tied to the very particular attention our customers are giving to the ‘user experience’ – and even more so as they are considering enterprise solutions that oversee entire operations and onboard many user groups and teams across organisations.
Customers now expect tools that are easy to use yet don’t lack any advanced features. The days of complex-but-clunky solutions are long gone, and anything that can alleviate day-to-day operations and provide clear and simple pictures is usually well-received.
One of our obsessions at the company level is to build powerful solutions that are both technically deep and effective, while providing a simple-to-use interface that hides the complexity and only provides contextual data in a clear and simple way so that even non-technical users can operate it.
The amount of data to be managed and processed is increasing all the time. In what ways are you helping broadcast customers to stay on top of their data requirements?
We are seeing an acceleration in the industry towards data collection and analysis at scale. Broadcasters are constantly analysing their performances and trying to circumvent workflow bottlenecks, and to do so they are relying on datasets that are getting larger and larger.
Part of our mission is to help them capture that data, but also to help them give that data some sense and value. To achieve this, it is absolutely critical to deeply understand the workflows, tools and processes that our customers are deploying.
Our team is composed of industry veterans and broadcast experts who understand M&C operations and can provide guidance on what parameters to monitor, what readings to collect, and how to best use that data to gain insights that will result in actions to boost performances and ROI.
Can you briefly outline your latest solution geared towards media and broadcast monitoring and control, with a particular focus on any new or innovative features?
We recently deployed the latest version of our KYBIO Media solution with a customer in the United States. This new deployment [involved] the latest evolution of our correlation engine, which has become the keystone of that customer’s workflow for incident prevention and to greatly accelerate resolution.
The correlation engine can serve multiple purposes – the most widely known being the identification of incident patterns and root-cause analysis when moving to the troubleshooting phase. However, and in addition to these [elements], the correlation in that case was also applied to our Ticketing and Operation Management module to speed up the engineers’ response time. To achieve this, our engine analyses the data tied to any ticket and provides links to other ongoing or past tickets or incidents that present similarities. The goal here is to put forward resolution paths that may be relevant to the situation at hand.
Connect has recently rebranded its M&C operations to KYBIO Media. Can you explain the reasoning behind this move?
The change reflects a major acceleration in our mission to serve beyond radio to embrace all media verticals including TV, live (sports, esports, OBs), satellite and telco. Our company was founded as a spin-off of a major actor in the radio broadcast space so naturally we started our story with a deep knowledge of that specific area of the business, which initially resulted in many deployments in that field.
However, after years of global expansion and many more projects steering away from radio-only deployments, our team has gained a deep expertise in these other markets and verticals. Our product has also evolved to become a much more comprehensive and relevant solution in these markets.
With the solid reputation acquired along the way, we decided it was the right time to rebrand the product so that it better identifies with our customer’s expectations and the shift in our positioning.
When a broadcaster approaches you today about a bespoke monitoring installation, what tend to be their greatest concerns and priorities?
Great question! I think that in most cases, and especially during the last couple of years, broadcasters have been trying to break their silos (content creation, post-production, content processing, playout & distribution, etc). These silos have been consolidated over the years and [may have become] extremely problematic in the changing media landscape as more content has to [be delivered], in a wide variety of shapes and for an increasing variety of outlets.
With this challenge there is also an increasing difficulty of finding a monitoring & control solution that can overlap the entirety of a broadcaster’s operations, from content production to transmission or delivery. [Hence there is a need for] a solution that can bridge the gaps and be the glue in-between teams and tools. [Broadcasters also require] the ability to interface with a wide range of products and equipment, and connect seamlessly in complex enterprise systems (ERP/CRM, scheduling, automation, PAM/MAM).
A broadcaster’s main concern once that solution has been found will be to ensure it evolves with their needs and technical infrastructures. With interoperability becoming a key word in the design of the equipment landscape, it is critical for broadcasters to select solutions that will not only address their needs today but tomorrow as well.
Finally, can you outline your plans for IBC 2019?
We’ll be at IBC introducing KYBIO to modern broadcasters and media powerhouses who are looking for a very flexible and adaptable end-to-end monitoring and control platform which improves operations and insight-driven decisions. We look forward to showcasing KYBIO’s new enhancements and smart modules that help broadcasters meet their critical challenges of capturing, producing and distributing quality content across the globe – while remaining fully adaptable to their evolving needs.
Mathieu Yerle is director of sales and product strategy at Connect.