As Hollywood studios increase location shooting, there is a critical need to get daily footage back to studio execs in Los Angeles on a timely basis. The same is true for TV production. Which creates an opportunity for companies like Orbital Data, whose technology can transfer a massive file using land-based fiber networks. CEO Richard Pierce spoke with B&C about his business and the future of content transport.
Your company is new, but you're already working to help CBS.com, Sony, and Disney move files. That's massive data.
Correct. The target customers are dealing with very large file transfers that are time-sensitive. And it's not limited to the digital asset-management space. There are many accounts in which the workflow must be transferred in a certain period of time.
Broadcasters probably move the biggest files around on satellite. How do you see your technology competing with satellite?
I don't know that it's necessarily a competing aspect. Our technology works independent of network topology. We're dealing primarily with terrestrial networks today. But there's nothing that constrains us from working on a [broadcaster's] technology of choice.
When it comes to moving non–time-sensitive material, your system is an alternative to satellite.
Fair enough. What it boils down to is: Where is a company's investment in the infrastructure? What's the most cost-efficient, time-efficient mechanism?
Tell me about your product, Orbital 5500, and where it sits in a facility.
The most probable places where you would find it would be at the egress point at a building that's supporting many different users. It's very similar to a firewall. All of the users inside the building get the benefit. Our product seeks to eliminate the geography constraints of wide area networks.
Tell me how Disney is using your technology, the broadcast-specific or content-specific applications.
It varies. One example is in movie production where the movies are produced digitally and the content needs to come back to the studio. Most of the studios are headquartered in L.A., though we have customers using the product for movie production in Hong Kong, South Africa, London, and Romania. They send digital files back to L.A. on a daily basis.
A second use is to take digital content and fire it off to post-production houses that are doing colorization, animation, or integration.