NAB 2022 Perspectives: Cobalt Digital's Suzana Brady on Foreseeing the Challenges of COVID-19, Celebrating the Company's 25th Anniversary
Cobalt Digital had themselves a very busy 2022 NAB Show a few weeks ago. Over the last 25 years ,the company has been known for designing and manufacturing IP and 12G/6G/3G/HD/SD conversion, throwdown, and multiviewer technology for the production and broadcast television environment. As a founding member in the openGear initiative, Cobalt Digital also offers a full range of openGear compliant solutions as well as video and audio processing products for closed caption compliance, production trucks, master control, HD news, signal transport, audio loudness processing, and color correction.
In their tool box, the company is powered by their Blue Box Groupline of interface converter throwdown boxes to streamline and simplify a wide range of IP and 12G/6G/3G/HD/SD conversion and processing tasks. In addition, the company’s multi-image display processors enable multiviewer capabilities in the most demanding studio and remote production/broadcasting environments. For this particular show, the company has made further expansion with a handful of products and came home with four awards.
At the 2022 NAB Show, SVG spoke with SVP, Worldwide Sales and Marketing Suzana Brady about these new products that were on display in Las Vegas, how the supply chain impacted their business since March 2020, and what it means to be celebrating their 25th anniversary in the industry.
What new products or equipment were shown at this year’s show?
We highlighted our new +UDX-Dante-16×16 processor for Dante audio. Cobalt has been able to easily integrate Dante’s controller and software-embedded platform into our existing hardware. It’s been one of our most deployed products in the last four to five years and customers don’t need to buy additional hardware. It’s also been extremely high density and very cost effective. We also have our latest development with our auditing processor machine with the 9904-UDX-4K and 9905-MPx. They allow for Indigo for extra technical Embed/De-Embed, up and down cross converter, color correction, and frame sync. The BlueBox 12G Mini Converter also made its debut at the show. We’ve had the 3G fiber mini BBGS for a long time, and we’ve just launched the 12G because everybody was asking for it.
Is the current state of supply chain affecting your work?
It’s gone really well because our manufacturers saw [the problem] up front. We’ve been able to manage everything and haven’t had any delays . We even redesigned some of our top-selling products when we realized a year ago that those components were made in China. These redesigned products had been ready for a few months. We were nervous at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s been the best two years ever. I think it has to do with remote working, our solutions for the slow migration to IP, and having a lot of the latest technologies that people need right now.
Can you reflect on the past 25 years of the company and where the company goes moving forward?
We’ve done a lot over the last 25 years, but we’ve really exploded over time because we’ve sold more than 40,000 openGear frames around the world with 20 cards in each. In 2016, we bought ImmediaTV, which was a big deal since they had digital processing compression products. A couple of years later, we bought assets for openGear cards from Ward-Beck. Since then, it’s been continual growth with 75% coming organically and 25% through a couple of acquisitions. Now, we’re looking to add some big things to our product line for the next 25 years.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.