Interview with Martin Dyster, Vice President of Business Development at Telos Alliance.
— What is your vision for the cloud and virtualization?
One thing that nobody can avoid is that we are in a global pandemic. It has changed the focus of broadcasters and manufacturers. Now, people are working from home more, your control room is now wherever you are. The ability to be able to decentralize production requires technology to adapt with it. Virtualization plays a key part in that and has been pushed much faster than it ever would have been because of the pandemic. We were going in that direction anyway, but this has sped everything up. Virtualization of the kind of technology that Telos makes has been slow to catch up. We are one of the only companies to build a cloud intercom system, and we have listened to customers around the world who have been asking for these technologies.
— How do you think this relates to artificial intelligence?
I think artificial intelligence is related to virtualization. AI in production can mean several things, and I think the most exciting one is the idea of predictive events — for example, AI could mix an event. They did this as a test at Wimbledon a few years ago; they used AI to mix the vision and audio for some of the tennis matches. This meant that, with a game like a tennis which is quite predictable, you can create an AI model that follows the action. This could go all the way to artificial crews, with hands-free robotic cameras at sporting events. If you start virtualizing the backbone of the products that already exist, you could have an entirely artificial production model that can create content.
— How else were your products improved during these challenging times? How is your company adapting to the demands of today and tomorrow?
That happens naturally. I have always listened to customers first — you should never bring a product to market if you haven’t been listening to your customers. At Telos, we are constantly listening to customer feedback and revising the product. Whether this is adapting software or hardware to address a specific challenge, or bringing a new feature to market, this happens all the time. In the current climate with the pandemic, for me, this has all been about the intercom system. We’ve been figuring out how to adapt the technology we have built to a software model to create a true cloud product with the same feature set. It must enable customers to connect remotely.
— How has the pandemic affected the speed of your work?
Right now, deadlines are tighter than they’ve ever been. If somebody is gearing up to move their production to the cloud from the studio, being able to adapt and bring new features to the market in days or weeks instead of months or years is essential. You have to be agile and adaptive, and this is the kind of thing we have been doing.
— Can you briefly outline the company’s main plans and priorities for the next five years?
I think it is a matter of continuing the same journey that we are on at the moment. Right now, it is all about virtualization — taking the products that Telos already make and bringing virtualization to those. We have already started with the first mixing console, the iQs, which has launched on the market. These are the kinds of things that we will certainly be doing over the next few years. The business model has to adapt because when you move from making hardware to software products, your revenue model changes. Software is a renewable model; you will potentially have a point where your revenue dips and then becomes constant and climbs back up. You must be aware that if you move away from hardware, the capital expenditure of a hardware solution is very different from software. Software as a Service (SaaS); it is a model which I feel that Telos will ultimately pursue.