NAB Perspectives: Grass Valley’s Andreoli Aims To Refine Offerings

Grass Valley is at the NAB Show with its usual wealth of hardware, software, and workflow options for broadcast professionals. CEO/President Alain Andreoli and his company face the challenge of refining product offerings to better serve existing customers and bring in new ones.

“We understand our strengths, what’s missing, and where we are going,” he says. “So we want to develop more software, move to commodity hardware, add more services, and protect the good trust and legacy we have with the marketplace.”

The acquisition of Publitronic last October embodies a new strategy that expanded the Grass Valley portfolio to include playout services. And Stratus, the recently introduced asset-management system, provides a foundation to maximize use of the K2 Summit server.

“Stratus has now been endorsed around the world, and we expect to deploy it to 1,000 customers in the next five years,” says Andreoli. “We can now help customers with digital imaging, ingest, and playout.”

In terms of future product development, he says one goal is to minimize the number of platforms. “We’re building not only best-in-class products but also systems that sit in the middle and can be scaled up and down.”

Getting to that level of product offerings is less about building dedicated hardware and more about building software that gets the most out of commodity hardware.

“We need products that scale versus offering different systems that add technical complexity,” says Andreoli. “With the number of standards and startups that are in the industry, the market is fragmented and sliced up like salami. And we have three-fourths of engineers innovating on new platforms that will be reliable and well supported.”

He adds, however, that Grass Valley and other manufacturers need some assistance from their customers. In recent years, the move to software- and IT-based systems by broadcast organizations has resulted in many manufacturers’ customizing products for clients, increasing the complexity and cost of development. “An integrated suite of products,” he says, “means the customer can choose the kitchen they want. It doesn’t mean they have to pick every brick.”