Bridge Technologies March Blog Post

What kind of Business Partner are you?

Partnerships. They make or break a good franchise. Starsky and Hutch, Hans and Chewie, Mulder and Scully, Turner and Hooch, Bert and Ernie, Thelma and Louise..

They also make or break a successful business.

Business partners form the backbone to our distribution model at Bridge, but what has really been key to our success has been our deliberate endeavour (plus a little bit of luck, serendipity and good fortune) to find business partners who are aligned with us in their efforts. This alignment doesn’t only take the form of having compatible business approaches from a technical perspective – it goes much deeper. It’s about sharing a mindset; valuing innovation, understanding the human dimension of both broadcast and technology, and maintaining a sense of humour and lightheartedness… (that last one particularly).

Friendship is a two-way street, every road unique

But whilst there are common values held between us and all of our business partners, a key element of the ongoing success of those relationships is in understanding that each partnership we hold is different and unique in nature. It’s a bilateral relationship, a process of give and take and mutual understanding. Each BP operates in a slightly different way, and caters to different demands from their own clients – based on contextual elements such as geography, market and scale. We need to be responsive to that.

Not everybody is fully strapped in on the IP rocket yet

Indeed, this idea of being responsive to differences ties in with a lot of the ideas that we expressed in last month’s blog. Our relentless banging of the IP drum can sometimes make it seem like that’s all we focus on, but of course a deeper dive into our product offerings shows that isn’t the case at all. We identified last month that 40% of production facilities aren’t making use of IP. That’s a big share of the market. And of course cable and satellite are still dominant in the field of broadcast. IP isn’t everything (though it is really, really great).

In essence, our business partners still need to be able to offer support and solutions to customers who aren’t yet on the IP wagon. Whilst some of our BPs are fully switched on to IP and maintain this as their sole focus, others are operating in the ‘hybrid’ area, trying to cater to production studios and broadcasters who themselves feel distinctly tentative about the whole IP idea; either because they are intimidated by the cost of a full system switch-over and only have the budget for incremental change, or because the complexity of IP is inherently scary.

As our BPs try to support these very different mentalities in the market, it means that we, in turn, need to offer the same kind of support to our BPs. With that in mind, we have devised a small quiz in order to identify your positioning, and the nature of the support you might need from us.

SDI stands for:

  1. Serial Digital Interface
  2. Seriously (in)Dispensable and Important in the field of production
  3. Strategic Defense Initiative (The US’s ‘Star Wars’ program )

IP is:

  1. The present
  2. The future
  3. Something that my lawyers keep talking about whenever I steal copyrighted content off the internet

The Bridge Show is

  1. A really important way to maintain working business relationships and stay abreast of technological developments
  2. Full of tech-talk that goes right over my head (but I do like that bit with the strange Norwegian playing the piano)
  3. A groundbreaking analysis of architectural developments in the field of viaducts, flyovers and other space-spanning transportation constructions

Monitoring is…

  1. Of fundamental importance in the delivery of efficiency, QoS and QoE in any production or broadcast operation
  2. A useful upsell add-on when selling customers on the idea of a new system install
  3. Mainly done by ankle bracelet connected to my local police department

Delivering AV from one place to another is achieved by…

  1. The complex coordinated movement of packet data along IP networks – anything else is anachronistic rubbish
  2. A number of means; cable, satellite, SDI, IP and any number of other approaches, all of which still hold relevance and importance, pros and cons.
  3. Magic

Bridge’s central Mission Statement is:

  1. To make the complex simple
  2. To ensure Broadcast and Telco picture quality
  3. Who is this ‘Bridge’ you keep speaking of?

If you answered C to any of these questions, well then, honestly, you might have strayed onto the wrong blog.

But, if you answered A or B, you’ll be surprised to hear, it doesn’t really make a difference to us (well, mostly not…). Because we are here to support all of our business partners in all of their needs, and in their efforts to support the needs of their own clients. And this is regardless of whether that approach is IP-based or not (though we’ll always be quick to bang our drum and play evangelist when we get the opportunity).

So how do we provide this support?

Well, first and foremost, the development of close relationships between us and our BPs – mediated in part through our fantastic regional managers – means there’s an open culture of communication. BPs are always welcome – encouraged even – to communicate with us about their needs (and the needs of their customers) so that we can work together to find the right solution.

We also try to promote as many mechanisms for ‘informal’ interaction as we can; because just as much insight can come out of a conversation over a beer as it can a meeting in a boardroom. In previous years, the Bridge Event has been fundamental to this. Of course, things have been a bit different in the past twelve months, but we still celebrated BP successes with a virtual 2020 Bridge Awards, and the Bridge Show has been fundamental in giving voice to our BPs, valuing their knowledge and contributions, and just generally keeping in contact.

And then finally there’s our Academy training series:, delivered by our brilliant head of the academy, Martin Crawley. Whilst tech-focused in their nature, they also arm our BPs with the business-element knowledge that is needed to promote these concepts to their potential customers. They cover our entire range (indeed, there’s a tutorial designed specifically to give an overview of that range and place it all in context), and then there are deeper dives into various technological elements; OTT, RF monitoring, Uncompressed IP, Multicast, to name but a few, plus exploration of additional practical and theoretical elements; intelligent redundancy, the Bridge GUI and MediaWindow, RDP and VBC, the nature of our ‘Integrated’ ISM strategy…

In essence, we have a repository of training and information substantial enough to arm our BPs with everything they need, regardless of where they are positioned now, where they want to be positioned for the future, what they know already, and what they want to learn.

So as always, we’ll take this opportunity to offer significant thanks to all of our BPs in their ongoing collaboration and efforts, but also encourage them to reach out and grasp hold of the support structures we have in place for them. Because without you guys, it’d be a very lonely place in our Oslo offices, with only a bottle of champagne and Wilson the plant for company…