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Appear Founders Petter Jrgensen and Thomas Lind on the Evolution of Live Production Technology

21/05/2024

Appear founders Petter J rgensen and Thomas Lind on the evolution of live production technology By George Bevir

Thursday, May 9, 2024 - 12:46

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As part of Appear's 20th anniversary celebrations - and ahead of the company's title sponsorship of SVG Europe's Create Share Engage event founders Petter Jorgensen and Thomas Lind share their thoughts on the evolution of live production technology and the origins of Appear.

Can you tell us about your journey before Appear, and what led you to co-found Appear?

Petter Jorgensen I started my career in the mediatech industry at Tandberg Television in 1996, like the other founders. I embraced a variety of roles, which provided me with extensive insights into product development and the customer perspective in our industry.

Thomas Lind All 11 founders were former Tandberg Television employees and had been working in the professional live video distribution within sales, technical sales, and development. Due to internal restructuring, we saw a unique opportunity to start from fresh with a completely new product design concept that we believed would revolutionise the way professional live video was distributed to consumers.

Appear founders Thomas Lind and Petter J rgensen

We had a clear business plan for how we could start by converting digital video to analogue based on a hardware platform that could be expanded to cover all video processing ports to distribute digital and analogue video to consumers.

Thomas, what were the initial challenges you faced in the early days of Appear, and how did you overcome them?

Thomas Lind Apart from the well-known challenges of securing funding, the main challenge involved building a new hardware platform from scratch with limited financial resources. There were of course a few technological setbacks along the way, but in the end, we managed to deliver what was planned and almost on time. It is heartening to see that the platform we designed and developed 20 years ago is still being used by operators around the world.

Petter, you've played a crucial role in the development of the X Platform, Appear's flagship product launched in 2016. What was the initial concept behind this platform and what impact has it had on media processing and delivery?

Petter Jorgensen The X Platform, our second generation hardware, was designed for high performance, low latency and with flexibility in mind as the core design drivers. It was built upon the groundwork laid by the development of the XC Platform. Designed for rapid and independent release cycles for the different capabilities to be hosted by the platform, this design is key to prevent bottlenecks in the product development cycle and thus get new products to market quicker.

At the time we launched the X Platform, the entire industry was talking about cloud workflows. However, recognising the unique demands of media processing and content delivery, we ventured into developing a robust hardware-based solution. Our approach with the X Platform was to combine the agility and scalability typical of cloud environments with the reliability and high performance of dedicated hardware.

SVG Europe's Create Share Engage event, sponsored by Appear, will take place in London on 23 May. For more information and to register visit svgeurope.org/create-share-engage

Today, the X Platform stands out for its unmatched spatial and power efficiency, fundamentally changing how our customers deploy media infrastructure. By optimising operational costs, minimising physical footprint, and significantly reducing energy consumption, the X Platform offers a sustainable, efficient solution that addresses the evolving needs of the media industry. This strategic pivot not only distinguished us from the prevailing cloud-centric solutions but also affirmed our commitment to innovation and environmental responsibility.

Looking forward, how do you see live production technology evolving in the next few years?

Thomas Lind That is an interesting question. As with any key new technology, when a new trend emerges, all stakeholders take an immediate interest, but then their vision and use of the new technology becomes more balanced. For example, when cloud computing was first introduced, many thought it would mean the death of hardware dedicated to the production and distribution of live video.

But as our understanding of the technology has grown, this view is now more balanced and the focus is on using the best technology to solve the business need you have, regardless of whether it's a generic cloud, dedicated hardware or hybrid solution.

The key issues that trigger technology choices are the business model (CAPEX/OPEX), operational requirements, utilisation, energy consumption and available network infrastructure. I think the future will bring even more solutions based on a combination of generic computing and hardware acceleration where needed.

Remote production is still in its early stages of deployment, but it will accelerate over the coming years. As the deployment of remote production increases, the technology will evolve and the software and hardware will be optimised to achieve the best performance at a lower cost of ownership.

Petter Jorgensen The multitude of streaming services mean there is a fierce competition for viewer retention and a change of behaviour from consumers. They decide what they want to watch, when and on which device. So, when it comes to live production, I foresee a future where consumers will have more control, such as choosing camera angles during live sports.

With the dynamics of media, entertainment, and sports industries continuously evolving, what role do you see Appear playing in shaping the future of live production technology?

Thomas Lind Appear aims to lead the future of live production technology. It's an ambi
LINK: https://www.svgeurope.org/blog/headlines/appear-founders-petter-jorgen...
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