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NAB Perspectives: Avid Gets Serious About Open Platforms

April 20th, 2015 Posted in Headlines By Ken Kerschbaumer

It’s safe to say that Avid’s acquisition of Orad prior to NAB 2015 enhanced the way sports-content creators view the provider of sports-related broadcast technologies company. But it also was part of an Avid Everywhere strategy that rounded into shape at the show.

“Avid Everywhere is our message, as it delivers the completeness, choice, and flexibility within the platform for everybody,” says Kevin Usher, director, broadcast and media product marketing, Avid. “We want to reduce fragmentation.”

Avid’s acquisition of Orad, for approximately $60 million, brings a whole new portfolio of products into the Avid Everywhere strategy, including graphics tools, replay servers, and more.

“It’s totally complementary and there is no real product overlap, so it makes total sense,” adds Usher. “Their server technologies and super-slow-motion capabilities are product solutions that we don’t have. And we have had resounding positive feedback from our customers.”

Avid SVP/CMO Jennifer Smith notes that Orad also gives Avid more scale and distribution, offering presence in countries where Avid does not have a strong presence.

“And, for Orad customers,” she adds, “[the acquisition] means access to greater infrastructure and the ability to widen sports services. So, all around, we’re very excited.”

With thousands of customers stopping by the Avid booth, the team had a chance to get a sense of market trends. Usher says the major trend is a demand for resolution-independent products. The new Avid Artist Series of audio- and video-control surfaces for the Media Composer editing system are steps in that direction.

“It supports 4K plus DNxHR,” says Usher, “and our new UHD codec family comes into that whole package as well with Media Composer 8.4.”

Avid’s DNxHR codec supports the growing demand for expanded color-space support while also being backwards-compatible with DNxHD. The expanded resolution and frame-rate support extends to Avid storage and asset-management systems.

Smith adds that there is also greater demand for cloud collaboration solutions that have a strong emphasis on security.

“Security is a major focus for us,” says Smith, adding that the Avid Customer Association’s Strategy Council emphasizes security: “We’re taking their feedback and then getting it down to the product level so watch this space.”

Another theme for the company is a deeper focus on providing an open platform.

“That goes hand-in-hand with fragmentation and having to work with multiple vendors,” she explains. The Avid ISIS shared-storage system, for example, now can support Adobe and Apple editing systems. “All of that brings home how serious we are about openness.”