Profile: Steve L’Hereux

Jul 16, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: President of Odetics Broadcast, a subsidiary of Odetics Inc. in Anaheim, Calif.
Background: Mr. L’Hereux joined Odetics in 1999 after spending the previous four years working at start-up firms Vibrint Technologies and Minerva Systems. He also worked at Eastman Kodak, where he served as the North American sales manager for the advanced technology group that developed Cineon technology for high-end digital film effects.
For nearly two decades Odetics has provided technology solutions that allow for automation of content management for the broadcast, cable and satellite industries, beginning with the automation of ad insertion from tape libraries in the ’80s to the digitization of commercials and programming in the ’90s.
What’s new: At the National Association of Broadcasters’ 2001 conference, Odetics introduced AIRO 9.0, the latest iteration of its content management package, a Windows 2000-based system that allows for the acquisition, management and distribution of content across multiple platforms.
“Content owners, broadcast and cable, have a mission to take their company’s content and get it to viewers wherever they want. This allows content owners to deliver content over cable, broadcast, satellite and wired and wireless networks, such as the Internet and MMDS [multichannel, multipoint distribution services],” Mr. L’Hereux said.
Supply chain challenge: In the past, the TV was the link to the content owner and the viewer, Mr. L’Hereux said. “Now it could be the computer in the den, the mobile PDA. The idea is to reach the viewer with your compelling content wherever they are,” he said. Since the road to the consumer is no longer a single path, Odetics’ latest AIRO system is the first version of the software to allow for the distribution of content over multiple paths.
For instance, a TV station could use AIRO to deliver content on both standard-definition and high-definition channels. The system could also be used to convert on-air video into streaming video for its Web site. “Today a TV executive who thinks he is in the TV business is in serious danger because their business is beyond TV. It’s about delivering content to their viewers however and wherever they want it,” he said. The cost for the system begins at $80,000.
Future developments: Mr. L’Hereux expects the next generation of AIRO will allow viewers an expanded role in the so-called “supply chain,” where they can ask the TV station to deliver certain programs at certain times.
Competitors: Omnibus, Harris Corp., Convera.
Customers: More than 200 customers worldwide use AIRO, including Televisa in Mexico, Fox TV stations in the United States, Nickelodeon in the United Kingdom and Discovery Channel.