More than a month ago now I announced my departure from Humax as their Chief Technologist. I have since been working for nice company doing some productisation work and while that has been interesting I have missed my colleagues at Humax. Recently I was called by my former Director, we had some discussions and after some careful negotiations I am returning to Humax. I am now to be a member of the development team and as part of this I will now be working more in Korea than before. It is a nice step-up for me and I hope I can input some valuable effort to the Humax development process. My departure from Humax was part of my personal development and I think it also gave a number of parties opportunities to consider approaches. This year is, so far, not only a good one for me but also I think this will be an important year for the companies I work with. The development of the YouView set-top boxes in partnership with the TV industry will be a minor revolution for the market place and Humax is well placed to take advantage of that through foresight and determination to lead the UK TV market. Furthermore I am also looking forward to working with freesat to bring their ambitions to fruition and I think that working together with them Humax can help their platform really evolve.
Here’s to the next step!
Now this is cool, I was just browsing looking for silicon for our products and I found quite a funky little chip from Broadcom. It is the new BCM70020 which describes itself as “a single-chip, full featured, multi-standard audio/video decoder/encoder/transcoder solution targeting volume PC and PC-based consumer electronic applications.”
Not only can it encode HD from either analogue or digital sources, but it can transcode between different MPEG formats and also act as a scaler/down-converter! I think someone in the broadcast industry needs to get their hands on these quickly and create a multi-format scaler/encoder/transcoder matrix device! A few of these, a PCI-E bus and voila there you have a cool transmission ops device.
Last night we watched a programme about the British men’s fashion designer Ozwald Boateng: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00gmj5m/Ozwald_Boateng_Why_Style_Matters/
The KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is defined as a factor which is critical to the success of our business. As such it should be measured regularly by collecting and analysing reliable internal and external data. This data allows the company to evaluate its performance and subsequently benchmark it against the rest of the industry. Additionally, it makes our achievements directly comparable to those of our competitors.
The process of identifying and selecting the appropriate KPI’s for our business is paramount as this is the stage when a formal system for measuring our performance is established. The company’s commitment to measuring and analysing the collated data can lead to business objectives’ realisation and continual improvement. However, the KPI’s are only a business tool for decision making and at no point can it replace the formal strategic planning of the company.
The benefits seized by such a methodology are presented below:
- KPI’s can be an initiator for directing and driving our business forward through influencing our business processes. The successful management of our business processes can result into an efficient and profitable company as a whole.
- KPI’s consist a great tool that supports the company’s vision and goals; two of the major “team binders”. It is generally accepted that integrated teams work more efficiently and produce results in shortest time. Time reductions mean less cost and so greater profitability and predictability of performance.
- KPI’s can be a mean for driving improvement through comparison. They can reveal the strengths and the weaknesses of a business and prepare the ground for building a competitive advantage. They reinforce our knowledge for the industry by learning from our competitors.
- KPI’s could drive innovation. This is why a failure to identify meaningful and measurable KPI’s can put our business in danger as we become short sighted, having limited visibility and finally becoming counter-productive.
My brother write a blog entry yesterday about home networking and powerline technology. And without knowing, he’s actually commenting on a subject dear to my professional heart.
My company produces very nice DRT (digital television recorder / PVR) products, some of the best in the industry (so the man from Sony tells me). We are really trying to lead the industry when it comes to this product range and my job is to help influence that. It is my feeling, and that of many others, that there will be a consumer device, probably in the lounge, probably grown out of a DTR product and probably it will extend it’s reach well beyond the lounge. My first hope is to secure support for DLNA, this technology makes it easy for network connected devices to share resources or control each other. From a media point of view this means that content can be streamed from one device to another without complex user intervention.
Power line technology is a lovely idea, unfortunately from a manufacturers perspective to integrate it into a product is very expensive. The cost of the module is easily more than the cost of an HD decoder chipset. This means that I struggle to justify putting it into a product when I know that the majority of consumers will never actually use the technology. I am also a bit dubious about putting signals over wires that weren’t designed to handle them, the mains in the UK is about 240V at 50Hz, the cable is designed for that and works well enough. But when you start putting complex noise signals at wide bandwidth over them you are going to have some effect at some point. Powerline delivered broadband already has a huge objection from the HAM radio groups and radio astronomy groups, thousands of low cost PLT home devices can’t be much better (even if they are lower power).
We are however striving to add ethernet ports to as many products as possible and we are working on some decent software to exploit it to the full. I do conceed however using these plug adaptors could be an easy way to avoid the fact that wireless never delivers even close to it’s stated bandwidths and most consumers don’t want to rewire their house for Cat-5e/6. Although remember that current electrical installation requirements in the UK now often require a professional electrician to do the install otherwise you can’t sell your house.