For NAB, Harris Focuses on Virtual Visits

By Carolyn Braff

In a concerted effort to show sensitivity to shrinking budgets and travel restrictions, Harris Corp. conducted its pre-NAB Show press briefing through a Webinar format on Friday, revealing the company’s focus on bringing the show to the customer, if the customer can’t make it to the show.

“We assume there will be scores of people that travel restrictions will not allow them to go to Las Vegas, so the challenge is how do we bring the Las Vegas experience to them,” explains Brian Cabeceiras, VP of strategic marketing and technology for Harris. “We’re putting a big chunk of our NAB budget into building a virtual NAB experience on our Website, where you can log on and learn about the key advances and technologies.”

Online demonstrations, live video feeds from the show floor, and live presentations by Harris technicians will all be available in that virtual NAB experience, aimed at giving customers a feel for the show even if they can’t physically be there.

For those who do make it to Las Vegas, Harris’s booth will look familiar, once again focused on advanced media workflow, but it will have more of a human element this time: the company is flying some of its top technologists and engineers out to the show.

“We are going to put a theater in our booth to have our technologists talk about key ideas and value propositions, like how to put up a mobile channel,” Cabeceiras says. “We always demonstrate equipment, but it’s important to also have people there, the engineers that design these things, to talk about goals and hear suggestions.”

Mobile video will be a key push for Harris in the sports market, as broadcasters seek incremental value through multiplatform delivery options.

“We hear from customers that they know how to put their primary channel on the air, but, for the dozens of derivative versions of that show, how do I re-segment for online and mobile and how can I smooth those processes,” Cabeceiras says. “Mobile will be a big focus of NAB this year, particularly for the U.S. broadcaster, as some of our broadcast customers are looking at not only putting up mobile channels but also using that portion of the spectrum to deliver digital signage.”

Helping customers receive in any format, manage, move, and reformat for the viewer is a crucial component of Harris’s advanced media workflow. Especially important to that is the opportunity to remove the cost of human operations from the process in favor of automating the system, and Harris has a model that can scale from national broadcasters to local stations and everywhere in between. At the show, Harris will be presenting cost-effective ways to implement such workflows at all levels.

While Harris’s pre-NAB briefing focused mostly on strategy and philosophy, the company’s R&D department is still going strong: Harris will launch upwards of 30 new products at the 2009 NAB Show. A press briefing in Las Vegas just prior to the opening of the show will provide more information on all of those forthcoming releases.

For more information on Harris at NAB, visit http://www.broadcast.harris.com/nab2009/press.asp