Broadpeak raises 10 million euros from Eutelsat

Eutelsat Communications  and Broadpeak announce a circa 20% investment in Broadpeak, an industry leader in video content delivery solutions.

Broadpeak is a supplier of CDN (Content Delivery Network) technologies optimising the delivery of video content over terrestrial and satellite networks to provide end-users with best-in-class viewing quality on all their devices. Eutelsat’s investment in Broadpeak is a further step in its strategy to integrate satellite into the Internet Protocol (IP) ecosystem, following the launch in September 2018 of Eutelsat CIRRUS, its hybrid satellite-OTT solution giving satellite TV channels and operators the ability to offer a flexible and homogeneous multi-screen consumer experience.

Eutelsat and Broadpeak will pool their technological resources to expand their respective portfolios of services for telecom operators, media groups and content owners by offering them turnkey video delivery solutions enabling them to respond to the rising demand for video content on all networks. They will also work together on projects aimed at integrating satellite technology into the 5G generation of mobile networks.

Eutelsat’s investment, in the form of shares and convertible bonds, represents a consideration of circa 10 million euros.

Jean-Hubert Lenotte, Chief Strategy and Resources Officer at Eutelsat: “We are delighted to partner with Broadpeak with whom we have been working since 2015. This association with a recognised and innovative leader in video content delivery solutions will enable us to expand our offer in this area. Following the launch of Eutelsat CIRRUS last September, this investment reflects our strategy to accelerate the integration of IP and satellite technologies by expanding the portfolio of technological solutions available to our broadcast customers to distribute content to viewers across multiple channels.”

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Jacques Le Mancq, co-founder and Chairman, explains that this operation is a new chapter in Broadpeak’s development: “This investment by Eutelsat will enable us to strengthen our team and finance the strong growth of our business. We are very excited to develop our partnership with Eutelsat, with whom we will build next-generation services to deliver, optimize and monetize high-quality video experiences for end-users, whether at home or on the move.”

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Zylia Expands Tech and Ops Teams to Address High Demand for Its 360-Degree Audio Recording Tech

Zylia has hired Maurizio Barausse as key account manager, Marek Kabacinski and Krzysztof Klos as software testers, Michal Huflejt as a research engineer, Wojtek Blachowiak as a technical customer service expert, and Lidia Wojciechowska as office manager.

“We are committed to ensuring that even as Zylia grows, we maintain exceptional service and excellence in technical research and design,” said Piotr Szczechowiak, Zylia co-founder and chief operating officer. “From day one, we have been dedicated to making sophisticated audio recording technology accessible and affordable. It is exciting to be adding further talent to the company to support our expanding customer base and to continue developing products that empower musicians and audio engineers to achieve greater creative freedom.”

Barausse has been involved in pro audio since the early ’90s, and he brings a wealth of knowledge to his role as key account manager. He is not only a singer-songwriter and owner of a recording studio, but also a student of sound and video technology with experience in both technical roles and international sales for the broadcast, AV, and music industries.

Both Kabacinski and Klos will focus on testing Zylia products, ensuring top-quality sound and flawless performance. Kabacinski joins Zylia with a degree in telecommunications engineering, and Klos joins the company with both education and experience in music and sound technologies. Huflejt, who will be responsible for research and engineering, has more than a decade of experience in product development, signal processing, and hardware.

With professional experience as a sound engineer and a creative musician in his free time, Blachowiak joins Zylia ready to support the company’s growing worldwide customer base. Working at Zylia headquarters in Poland, Wojciechowska will oversee an array of administrative and operational tasks to help keep the business running smoothly.

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IMSTA FESTA Atlanta to Feature Keynote by Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick of ‘Pensado’s Place’

The International Music Software Trade Association (IMSTA) announced that Grammy® Award-winning mix engineer Dave Pensado and veteran manager/executive producer Herb Trawick, hosts of the weekly audio engineering-themed talk show “Pensado’s Place,” will present the keynote at IMSTA FESTA Atlanta. The celebration of music technology will take place July 27 at the SAE Institute Atlanta.

“Building on their wealth of knowledge about both the craft and business of audio and music, Dave and Herb together bring our community an incredibly valuable — and entertaining — educational resource,” said Ray Williams, managing director at IMSTA. “They put tremendous thought and energy into ‘Pensado’s Place,’ and I know we can expect a great keynote from them in Atlanta.”

Pensado’s mix credits include work with stars such as Kelly Clarkson, AfroJack, Beyonce, Elton John, Christina Aguilera, and Jill Scott. Trawick founded his own management firm, working with artists such as Brian McKnight, Robin Thicke, and Tyrese Gibson, and has consulted with top labels including Mercury, Island, and Def Jam. On “Pensado’s Place,” they pair up to offer viewers an array of interviews, technique demonstrations, and other segments dedicated to audio engineering and the music business.

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Along with the keynote by Pensado and Trawick, IMSTA FESTA Atlanta will feature panels, workshops and master classes, song critiques, demonstrations, and networking opportunities in an environment where music makers can network, interact, and learn from one another face to face.

In addition to hosting IMSTA Master Class sessions, full-time music professionals and experts from the industry’s top music production technology companies will offer technology demos and exhibitions. Featured companies include Accusonus, Antares, Arturia, Avid, Celemony Software, Eventide, FabFilter, FL Studio, Focusrite, IK Multimedia, MAGIX, Native Instruments, NUGEN Audio, PreSonus, Reveal Sound, Roland Cloud, Serato, Softube, sonible, Sprkle, Steinberg, u-he, xils lab, and Yamaha. Exhibitors will offer product-specific tips and techniques and also provide prizes for hourly raffle giveaways.

Live song reviews at IMSTA FESTA Atlanta will give attendees the chance to present their work to experienced industry professionals for one-on-one appraisal. As the day concludes, the most exceptional of these songs will be judged along with other regional entries for the 2019 IMSTA FESTA Songwriting Contest. The regional winner will move on in the competition, earning the chance to win a free trip to Santorini, Greece, to be part of a song camp at Black Rock Studios.

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DVB to Demonstrate Advanced OTT Delivery Features and Deployment Readiness of DVB-I at IBC2019

“The DVB-I suite of specifications is quickly taking shape and will soon be ready for deployment,” said Peter MacAvock, chair of DVB. “We look forward to demonstrating the exciting capabilities of DVB-I to broadcasters and service providers at IBC2019 and discussing how we can support smooth implementation and flawless OTT services on every screen.”

At IBC2019, DVB will highlight the following:

New DVB-I Specifications Improve Video Streaming, Ensuring Low Latency for OTT
At IBC2019, DVB will present the world’s first showcase of DVB-I, a new suite of specifications that is designed to improve OTT delivery, providing increased scalability and cost savings with the same user-friendliness and robustness as classical broadcast delivery solutions. DVB-I enhances the viewer experience for hybrid and broadband television through advanced features like integrated channel lists, interactive content guides, and simple lean-back channel selection.

DVB-I will be showcased alongside Low Latency DASH (LL-DASH) and Multicast Adaptive Bit Rate (mABR), forthcoming standards from DVB. LL-DASH, for which the technical specification has been approved, will ensure that the overall delay for live OTT channels is the equivalent to broadcast, while mABR — still in development — will allow broadcasters and network operators to work together to optimize IP-based delivery to a large number of receivers simultaneously.

Meet the Experts

IBC2019 visitors will have an opportunity to book a one-to-one consultation with experts on a wide range of DVB-related topics. A panel of specialists drawn from the DVB community will be available on the stand, providing advice and guidance on diverse topics, from physical layer transmission technology to audio and video coding, interactive services, conditional access, and more.
The names of the “Meet the Experts” panel will be revealed leading up to IBC2019, and a reservation system will be open on a first come, first served basis.

“In the context of a tradeshow where the emphasis is largely commercial, we’re aiming to provide an opportunity for non-sales-driven advice from a neutral standpoint,” said Eva Markvoort, head of the DVB Project Office.

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Esports Hub Launches Staffordshire University into a New League

By Ellen Camloh

It’s not an uncommon mission statement for anyone in higher education. But what’s not so common is that the jobs Mr. Leese is referring to are in an industry that didn’t even exist just a few years ago.

So when it came time for the University to build a new facility to prepare students for their future careers, he and his colleagues had to put aside equipment that had worked for decades in the past.

Instead, they focused all their attention on future-looking technology—technology that didn’t even exist, just a few years ago.

Ahead of the Game

Take one look at the course curriculum for the newest addition to Staffordshire University’s business school, and you’ll see it’s not like any other management programme in academia.

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Year One compulsory modules:

  • Competitive Gaming Culture
  • Resourcing Esports Events
  • Esports Ecosystems
  • Single Player Esports Event
  • Esports Events Experience
  • Esports Broadcasting

That’s because the University’s brand-new course—started only in September of 2018—is anything but typical.

In fact, it’s the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, focusing strictly on the business of an emerging industry that in 2019 expects to see record revenues, thanks in large part to the influx of companies and investors getting into the market.

With a growing sector and high-profile brands rushing into a new space, Staffordshire University looked into the future of its graduates, and saw an opportunity for them to be on the leading edge of a USD $1.1bn (£844 million) industry.

And the Bachelor of Arts in Esports (Honours) was born.

Acquired Skills

Staffordshire University, located in Stoke-on-Trent, England, is no noob when it comes to teaching technology.

For one thing, the campus’s roots date back more than a hundred years, to the site of a school of science and technology that opened in 1914.

Other experience points: the University’s computer science programmes include certifications in Cyber Security, studies in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and partnerships with Cisco, Amazon, and Microsoft.

What’s more, it offers no fewer than four bachelors’ degree programmes in video games. It has previously been ranked best business school in the world for its use of Twitter. And it pioneered the world’s first Games PR and Community Management degree.

It was just a natural levelling-up for Staffordshire University to become the first in the UK to offer a degree programme dedicated to the business of esports management.

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Attract Mode

In 2017, at the time of the course’s conception, the Business School’s Associate Dean for Recruitment, Rachel Gowers, observed that industry was driving the creation of new jobs, saying that “companies are looking for people who are both entrepreneurial and tech savvy.”

That’s because jobs in esports aren’t limited to the players sitting in front of the game consoles. For companies to make money in esports, just like any other sport, it takes more than just athletes—it takes a whole ecosystem of specialisations.

These jobs can be anything from highly visible roles like on-camera shout casters and hosts, coaches and analysts, to behind-the scenes pros including event managers, partnership and sponsorship reps, production crews, team or organisation managers, finance specialists, and PR execs.

With its combination of business and technology expertise, the University was well-positioned to pioneer a programme that could both advance the career development of the next generation of students, and have a direct impact on the industry’s presence and growth in the UK.

The resulting course draws from academic best practices in business curriculum, giving students instruction in marketing, HR, finance and event management—but it’s entirely modernised and contextualised, to make it far more relevant for students pursuing careers in this ever-evolving industry.

Additionally, one of the school’s Lecturers, Stuart Kosters, said that to give students the best chance of getting a job, course developers had actually worked closely with industry employers, for whom hands-on experience was vital in their recruitment.

What better selling point to drive the hands-on experience home to prospective students than to create an Esports Hub—a state-of-the-art facility where they could bring their own esports competitions and productions to life?

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Challenge Accepted

The course developers turned to the technical specialists in the Media & Communications staff to specify and deploy the equipment and infrastructure for the new facility. The tech staff were already responsible for running, supporting and maintaining the gear used in the school’s other production studios.

“The newsroom that we have here is a four-camera studio in a typical ‘newsy’ setup with green screen and lighting,” says Chris Leese.

Students in the school’s television studies or sports journalism programmes, for example, produce live news shows and special broadcasts, and report from the football grounds, all using mostly conventional broadcast equipment. But Chris knew it wouldn’t be the same for esports.

The Esports Hub would require 4K streaming, as well as vision mixing large numbers of simultaneous, high-res computer sources over the network (think a dozen gamers competing in the same game) together with 4K camera sources, graphics and audio.

What’s more, Chris says, “because this was a new venture for us, it had to be something that was going to be flexible, something we could expand on if we had to make changes at any point.”

It was clear right away that investing in traditional broadcast equipment was not going to be sufficient.

“We had to look into future capabilities, or we’d be fitting out a studio that was going to be outdated almost immediately,” says Chris. “We had to go IP.”

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Student-Friendly, Staff-Friendly Technology

Designing a brand new, 4K-ready, all-IP space from scratch for the first esports business degree in the country seems like a fairly daunting task, considering it had never been done before.

But what made it even more challenging—and exciting, says Chris—is that he and his technology staff colleague, Matt Lewis, hadn’t actually built a production studio before.

“The TV studio had already been installed before we started our current roles,” says Chris, “and before that, we didn’t have any broadcast engineering experience or a background in outfitting a studio. We’ve just developed that knowledge and understanding over time.”

But the staff has a rule of thumb it uses whenever they’re deciding on any new equipment that comes in.

“Be it portable cameras, an audio controller, or anything else that’s going to ultimately get installed, the first requirement is that it’s got to be what we call ‘student friendly.’”

That ‘rule’ has helped them make equipment choices that allow students to grasp production concepts and create their projects a lot more quickly.

“We’re not training students to be broadcast engineers, so we don’t need to delve into in-depth lessons about how signals are routed or how equipment is cabled,” Chris says. “It’s got to be something that they can easily pick up. And that was one of the biggest selling points for going to NewTek.”

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Gaining NDI Experience Points

The technical staff designed a workflow around NDI®, NewTek’s encoding technology for delivering frame-accurate video over IP, and circumvented conventional video routers altogether.

Using everyday, standard 1Gb IT connectivity, the new facility can run 13 high-frame-rate, high-res gaming workstations over the network simultaneously, with NDI Scan Converter software making each gamer’s PC available as video sources.

This allows productions to be configured for two teams of 6 players, plus a connected “spectator mode” workstation to determine which in-game feeds will be used. Game consoles such as Nintendo Switch or PlayStation can be added to the network via NewTek Spark Pro, converting HDMI video devices to NDI sources.

Vision mixing for all gaming PCs and consoles (plus graphics and audio) is centralised in the 44-input NewTek VMC1, which, with its companion 2-stripe Control Panel, is “student friendly” enough to be operated without ongoing staff support.

In addition to the networked inputs from the computerized sources, the facility has 3 studio cameras as well as a ceiling-mounted PTZ camera, all with 4K signals converted to SDI using converters, and then brought into the VMC1 via a pair of NewTek NC1 I/O modules so that they’re available for mixing and monitoring over IP as well. (Only the VMC1 has a 10Gb network connection.)

A dedicated switch isolates the esports hub from the University’s administrative network, keeping additional traffic from bogging it down. All in all, says Chris, the project involved far more IT connectivity and networking than he and his teammates had implemented before.

“Doing this project really pushed our knowledge forward massively in terms of broadcast technologies and also networking,” he says. “We didn’t have years of extensive knowledge beforehand, but the technology available made us fairly comfortable with going into it and doing it ourselves.”

With traditional workflows, most facilities of a similar scope would require consulting with broadcast engineers and specialists, he says.

“It just speaks volumes about how easy it is to use NDI.”

New Game

September 2018 marked the opening of the programme, which, predictably, filled to capacity when it launched.

“Within months of the students using the hub,” Chris says, “we were already expanding on and developing different elements to incorporate into it.”

For example, the school hosted a recent broadcast event, showing the esports varsity (or eVarsity) team playing against another local university.

The students wanted to take the feed from the broadcast studio on one part of the campus to a social venue on complete other side of the campus, about half a mile away—and at the same time, pull a camera feed from that location back in to the studio and use it as part of the broadcast.

“With traditional setups we wouldn’t have been able to do that. We just wouldn’t have had the cabling in place to send over the signal, and streaming it would have added a massive delay,” he says. “So NDI has already allowed us to expand and achieve new capabilities that we’d never have done with a broadcast studio.”

He mentions another event coming up that will be completely driven by the students, who are now scheduling their own independent events. Because it will take place over the weekend, they won’t have any technical support from staff.

But they’re already self-sufficient, says Chris. “They’ve got equipment they like to use, they’ve got the training, they’ve asked us any questions that they might to know. Now they can effectively do the whole production on their own.”

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