Turnkey Vs Software / Hardware only Solutions
Q. Describe a recent challenge a customer brought to you to solve?
A. A customer from the “dark” software-only era once approached us with a limited budget but a great desire to upgrade to HD. This is a typical migration case that we face most of the time, where people think that with minimum SW update investments and armed with a “powerful PC”, they can achieve a major technological leap with immediate effect. This is simply not the case.
Q. What was your solution and why?
A. As it was a tender, there was very little explanation required. Directly and with no further discussion the customer was more than happy to go with our certified TK hardware model, which was a deal that exceeded the client’s expectations as no compromises on quality and efficiency were made. We did have to compromise on the commercial side though, although we considered it an investment as it created a loyal customer. This example proves that it is possible to ensure that TK is kept within a reasonable OPEX.
Q. Did the customer adopt the approach straight away?
A. Reaching an acceptable price level certainly helped. In cases like this though, the crucial factor is who the final decision maker is – the technical or financial manager? We face challenging times in the industry as a whole, with declining linear TV revenues, and therefore we are seeing more and more decision power departing from engineering to the finance people are responsible for the budgets behind the projects.
Q. What happened next, what was the outcome?
A. Usually not all endeavours in which compromises are involved are a pleasure cruise. When a client stuck in a rut and trapped in technological restraints over a long period of time gets his hands on a new piece of technology – naturally wanting to push it to the maximum limit. In many cases this is either not possible or at least, far from wise. The moral of the story is – to be honest with yourself and what you want. Translate it clearly to your provider and set realistic expectations of what you get for your money. And if you want more – be sure that the solution is futureproof and ready for the next purchase. These are the milestones we intend to set with our customers and resellers, and our intention is to design PBT EU solutions accordingly within these parameters.
Q. What does your full TK solution entail?
A. An analogy was once made that “a manufacturer of metals can’t teach you how to drive the car you just made out of their metal.” With this in mind, PBT EU TK solutions are not just made up of powerful software shoved onto a COTS hardware platform. People rarely give credit to the immense R&D work, integration adoption, countless hours of testing and compliance verification operations that go on behind the scenes. The entire process involves a great number of different manufacturers and technological providers, which results in a complete product designed to be at the very heart of a TV station.
Often operators are not aware that the most critical period for them falls in the first few months after implementing the solution, where aftersales support, training, consulting and “handholding” can make the difference between a vital installation and an epic failure. Added value throughout the lifecycle of the “project-deal-implementation-use-maintenance” in the TK model is incomparable to any other approach. Hidden costs of the alternative approaches, especially in means of time and know-how, are highly underestimated, especially if people are accustomed to look no further than the initial investment amount. Yet this initial cost made at the outset, bring rewards and can later deliver return midterm and at the same time, it helps us as a manufacturer improve our products as we receive feedback and are continuously improving, which we consider a win-win symbiosis.