PROFILE: Bill Robertson

Dec 17, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: President of the Broadcast/Systems Division at Vela.
Background: Mr. Robertson was appointed to his current position in April after having served as the company’s senior VP of technology, marketing and planning. He joined Vela in 1998 when it purchased FrontLine Communications, a company that produced emergency alert systems (EAS) for cable and multichannel video systems that Mr. Robertson had co-founded. Vela makes video compression products for the broadcast and cable industries and is based in Clearwater, Fla., and Salt Lake City.
Focus: In his new position, Mr. Robertson oversees the company’s EAS products and its RapidAccess video server system and software package, which relies on the company’s encoders and decoders to digitize, record, store and play audio and video.
Market dynamics: The broadcast industry is in the midst of the second wave of EAS compliance for cable systems, Mr. Robertson said. By October 2002, cable systems with fewer than 10,000 subscribers must comply with FCC requirements for EAS. “There is a narrow window for EAS because the compliance dates are looming. That’s a market we need to be focused on,” he said.
Media asset management: Content companies have become much more concerned with media asset management and implementing solutions that will allow them to digitize and manage their content. “There is a tremendous amount of … discussion on media asset management. The first step in media asset management is getting them digitized to store and retrieve them. We do that, then store [the content] as a library through DVD-RAM archiving on an optical disk,” Mr. Robertson said. Vela’s Rapid Access solution can interface with DVD-RAM library products from JVC and Asaca to archive and store content.
What’s next: “I really believe what’s next is a lot more multichannel playout,” he said. “We don’t know how far or how deep high definition will go, but multicasting seems to have a lot of merit. High definition has a limited market scope. [With multicasting] a lot of broadcasters can retransmit a lot of their content. You could run news every half-hour. Broadcast continues to erode as narrowcasting personal services [grow]. You can better tailor your product offering to a more personalized narrowcasting experience. We want to be poised to help enable that.”