Improving user experience and making products that are easier to configure and operate is a priority, says Worldcast Group co-president Christophe Poulain.
Can you briefly outline your current roles with both Worldcast Systems and Connect, and how your work with one informs the other?
Worldcast Systems and Connect both belong to the Worldcast Group. Our expertise across both companies meet the needs of media and broadcasters with advanced solutions that cover the entire broadcast chain.
Worldcast Systems is an industry veteran with over 60 years of experience in engineering innovative radio and TV solutions for network operators, regulation authorities, and media content providers. Our products meet the requirements from field contribution and distribution to audio transmission, RDS encoding, QoS/QoE monitoring, measurement and telemetry.
Connect, established in 2017, is a software technology company that develops and commercialises an enterprise monitoring and control platform serving TV, radio, satellite, telco and other vertical markets in media and broadcast.
As co-president of Worldcast Systems and Connect, I ensure both companies offer the highest quality solutions at all times and, when necessary, work in synergy to offer complete broadcast solutions to our customers.
Worldcast Systems has been active in the codec, monitoring, measurement and transmission market for decades. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing users in this segment right now?
I think it must be very difficult for broadcast engineers to deal with all the different available technologies, AoIP, RF, IT gear, audio processing, SNMP… that’s a lot to learn and deal with. Improving the user experience with products that are easier to configure and operate is one of our priorities.
Worldcast Systems recently launched the APT Mobile SureStreamer, a unique mobile network access solution for remotes and OBs. Can you explain the context for this release and outline the roadmap for this new product?
The APT Mobile SureStreamer is a Mobile Network Access Point dedicated to transforming the quality of remote broadcasting. This solution brings SureStream technology to the field to improve the performance of most portable codec brands and types with reliable, low-cost IP network connection that ensures optimal latency and zero packet loss.
At IBC2019, we showcased how it streams live video and audio for a new standard of high-quality remote broadcasting.
What were some of your highlights from IBC this year?
One of our major highlights at the show was SmartFM, a patented Artificial Intelligence which is attracting a lot of interest from radio broadcasters worldwide. It is a unique and disruptive solution which, simply put, makes radio broadcasting better! It is a game-changer in terms of energy efficiency by driving energy costs down by up to 40%! And all this at no cost to broadcasters who use it. SmartFM is compatible with new Ecreso transmitters as well as thousands of Ecreso FM transmitters already on the market.
SmartFM is a true revolution in FM and we invite broadcasters, even those who don’t own Ecreso transmitters to learn more.
Another highlight was the latest release of the Worldcast Manager, our monitoring and control software which guarantees the centralized end-to-end monitoring of all IP-connected devices, facilities and networks. There are many significant software enhancements such as the temporal auto-correlation module, an improved root-cause analysis, a new default advanced control module for remote actions over connected equipment (using industry-standard protocols such as SNMP and others), a complete remodel of the Audit Trail, and a new API enabling better interoperability with existing customer ecosystems.
This software platform stands out with its powerful modules to deliver operational continuity across the end-to-end value chain [encompassing] media acquisition, production and distribution in an increasingly digital and IP-environment.
Amongst other news, we showcased the new Ecreso FM 3kW transmitter, which delivers great audio quality and the market’s lowest operating costs, the APT Mobile SureStreamer for high-quality remote broadcasting; the Audemat RDS Encoder with its MPX/Composite over AES capability and RDS2-readiness; and the new Audemat DAB Probe for QoS of DAB, DMB and DAB+ applications.
We’re also proud to announce that the Audemat DAB Probe won the Radio World Best of Show!
If you had to pick out one recent broadcast sector project that illustrates the current capabilities of the Worldcast Systems portfolio, what would it be and why?
Despite the fact ECRESO is an old company created in 1956 and the main supplier of FM transmitters to TDF in France, one of the biggest broadcast operators worldwide, it is only in 2012 we started to promote our FM transmitters worldwide.
7 years later we are very happy to tell we are #1 in Europe with most of the private and public broadcasters relying on our FM transmitters. We have also won some very nice projects in other parts of the world. For instance, we have now around 500 FM transmitters on the air in the USA despite the local transmitter manufacturers. It is a very nice success story showing ECRESO is currently one of the best offers if not the best.
Finally, how do you approach the continued development of your brand portfolio, and how frequently do you expect new product launches to take place going forward?
Our company mission is to help our customers to keep their audience loyal, lower their OPEX, and protect their investments. Each of our products are designed with those three guiding principles in mind. With shifting user and audience behaviour and expectations, it is key that we continue driving the radio and TV market forward with innovations that cater to evolving needs. For this reason, product launches and product enhancements can be expected on a regular basis.
Christophe Poulain is co-president at Worldcast Systems and Connect.