Beware the Buzzword: the business of finding value in hot new tech

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By Dan Castles

NAB is always a time good time to reflect on the state of the industry, how the landscape has shifted. Just as important, NAB offers exhibitors a chance find out where our customers want to go next. And you will always walk the aisles and find those “buzzy” new technologies on display, whose names evoke a sense of sizzle. (VR, anyone?)

Would you be surprised how rarely buzzword-technologies and practical, customer-oriented solutions go hand-in-hand?

I was asked in an interview last year whether I ever felt like our industry is getting caught up in buzzwords – words like , 4K, HDR and IP video. Those particular “buzzword” technologies will be everywhere at this year’s show. But the real question is how are they being applied to the problems we are facing?

We do have too many buzzwords in the industry. Where we hear buzzwords, they’re often being used as a smokescreen to cover over a lack of substance. Truth be told, our industry has a lot of growth-challenged, marginally-profitable businesses. Out of a need to survive, buzzwords offer sort of a new raft that drifts by for a challenged business to grab onto, to really hype or remake a company. The need to survive sometimes overshadows the practical question, “Is that a solution – really?”

From a technology point of view, in the space where Telestream plays, the future promise of some new technology without a practical solution today is meaningless. We look at those buzz-worthy technologies, focus on both business challenges and opportunities they present to our customers, and develop practical applications for our customers. We want to show how industry innovation can become a real business opportunity. And our customers are way too smart to buy into a new technology with no practical application for it. We’ve had tremendous success with that as we look at things like cloud, or 4K, or HEVC.

Telestream is a company that is stable, growing, and very profitable. We don’t need to take dramatic leaps. As such, we’re never going to suddenly bet the farm on some new technology for the sake doing what’s new, and for one simple reason: we don’t have to. We want our customers to understand our roadmap, and we want them to see how new technologies fit in our roadmap.

In our industry, companies can play around with the new buzzword technologies, but they need to choose when to play publicly. We ask, “Do we have a solution where we can look a customer in the eye and help them understand how they can deploy (virtualized software or HDR or IP video) today?” That’s what they expect from us. And that’s a good thing: it provides ballast for how we engage, making practical investment decisions in new technologies that really work for our customers.

Going to NAB Show 2017? Meet with us at the Telestream booth (SL3316).

 

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