SDNsquare came into being from the combined expertise of Flanders’ public-service broadcaster VRT, strategic research center iMinds – which is now part of imec – and Ghent University. At the time, the ambitious start-up aimed to investigate how to optimize the digital storage and transmission of live video and audio.
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Broadcast tech from Flanders acquired by Riedel (Germany)
For years, a digital revolution has been taking place when it comes to the production of live television, leading to the increasing use of IP network tech. Sending video and audio over IP networks has major advantages over the traditional analog method. Not only is it more scalable but it also requires less hardware while being more flexible.
But using IP network technology also poses challenges. For example, the networks must be capable of handling tons of information and different types of data. Video in particular requires enormous capacity. SDNsquare compares it to the image of “an elephant that suddenly comes stomping up between a bunch of mice.” For this reason, the construction of IP networks often includes taking hefty margins into account, to make sure there’s enough bandwidth to manage the data flow.
The solution developed by SDNsquare makes it possible to use software to optimize data flows in a way that requires much less hardware. This enables customers to visualize their broadcasts more cost-effectively, with the same quality and reliability.
However, SDNsquare noticed that it still needed to build trust to convince potential customers. “For some, it’s still hard to believe that we can pull off what we promise,” says CEO Henry Alexander. “It’s from this perspective that you should look at the acquisition. As a small company, we needed a big name to grow the market for our technology. Riedel is a well-known name in the broadcast industry, with the charisma and network to bring our solutions to many more customers.”
Based in Wuppertal, Riedel was established back in 1987 with a focus on audio. But in recent years, the German company has been concentrating increasingly on broadcast technology for video. In doing so, it has a particular focus on IP network technology, which explains its acquisition of SDNsquare.
Riedel, which employs around 800 people in 25 locations across Europe, Asia, Australia as well as North and South America, will integrate SDNsquare’s broadcast technology into its own products. “SDNsquare’s Flanders-based team in Ghent will become a Riedel R&D department for IP,” Alexander explains. “Also, there is a good chance that the team will grow in the future.”