celebrates 40 years.
Interview with Luca Catalano by Roberto Landini Presspool.it – SVG Europe
Communication Video Engineering, is a well-known engineering company that manufactures and sells audio video and broadcast solutions, integrating products of major brands within its solutions. It follows the entire supply chain, from design to sales, to after-sales activities, training and maintenance.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of its foundation and on the occasion of the “birthday” we interviewed its CEO, Luca Catalano.
R.L .: What are the traits that historically characterize CVE and which are those of the “new” CVE?
L.C: “CVE was born 40 years ago with the name“ Comtech Video Enterprise ”created by my father, Carmelo Catalano, who first of all placed valuessuch as fairness, respect and sacredness of the customer, always at the center of our being a company.
The new CVE with the new company name Communication Video Engineering, proposes a generational change under my leadership based on a different mental openness; in fact, companies must continually innovate and renew, in order to continue the long tradition of successes started 40 years ago.
My main internal commitment is to keep the work environment updated by adapting it with the necessary changes that I believe are essential to make it pleasant, serene and reasonably functional.
For me, work must be sober, serene and balanced, on a human level and above all as a team.
Since the change of management I have changed many small situations for the group and for the people: not that before we lived badly inside, but I’m trying to give a lot of my attention to the team: there are people who have been here for years, they left, but then they came back.
In practice, I am convinced that working well internally allows for a good balance externally and I am sure that the market recognizes this. In the past it was only the customer at the center of our attention and everything else followed.
The focus on our customer remains today, but the current vision tends to give a central position also to the company itself and its staff.
Together with the management team, composed of Mauro Contursi responsible for Milan branch, Cesare Colaiuda branch of Rome and Luca Mancini technical manager, I am therefore paying close attention to the team, the group and the individual, and to the internal dynamics that allow each individual to grow in the team and the group to evolve, so that the customer can get better and better service.
R.L .: What are the initiatives planned in the short term and which are those in the medium and long term?
L.C .: “We have had a lot of initiatives, even internally, creating many new activities and developments that will be more visible from January 2023: one of the new initiatives will be even more interested in the product, rather than in systems and solutions, as we do now.
We are always on the move, we are still expanding and creating another division to be even more proactive in terms of products.
However, the basic concepts remain those that our founder instilled many years ago, so in the long term the idea is always to continue to team up, inside and outside the company, with customers, suppliers, partners and why not, also with competitors if necessary.
We have no opponents, we prefer fair play ”.
R.L .: What have been the most interesting installations for entertainment in recent years and which ones for sport?
L.C .: “Just to give an idea and by way of sampling, let’s just talk about those of 2021, which was one of the best years ever.
In the entertainment area, we have created a large headend for broadcasting on digital terrestrial for Mediaset which detached itself from the previous provider and created a new system based above all on Harmonic products and about fifteen different brands, used to complete this solution.
Still in the entertainment area, CVE has created an important set-up at the San Carlo theater in Naples, with Telecom Italia which in 2021 asked us to complete all the broadcast video infrastructure, even if within a theater.
For sports we have carried out a development project towards M-ABR on the Telecom Italia CDN, which at the time of acquiring the rights to football with Dazn had to make sure that it could rely on a CDN capable of supporting an important network load. The technology adopted, based on Broadpeak, allows for multicasting over the Internet. We had already proposed it to Telecom Italia a few years ago and in 2021 the need arose to manage traffic in a different way, starting the tender that led to the realization of the entire project, which was completed in a very short time. thanks to the excellent work of the whole team.
Two other prestigious installations, in the sports area and signed by the CVE team, are: Series B, where Comintek company commissioned CVE to build the entire Helbiz infrastructure.
The second project was carried out in Lissone with EI Towers for the new Lega Serie A production center.
Here too we have integrated many brands (Imagine, Sony / Nevion, Dalet, Utah Scientific, TAG, Leader and many others) for a very high quality project and, as always, we have been – first of all – suppliers of ideas and certainly not only of technological solutions, because we have also created an excellent partnership with our customer as well as with our technology suppliers.
Here we have created all the infrastructure that starts from the stadiums, carries the audio video streams up to the IBC and allows live editing with the creation of clips during Serie A matches and then continues to the subsequent distribution of the contents thus created”.
R.L .: How was CVE born for the sports broadcast market?
L.C .: “The concept of CVE in sports is closely linked to the IP domain to which I have been quite fond of since university, given that one of my last exams, before graduating in 2000, was precisely on distribution networks (I remember that at the time people started talking about “IPv6”).
Then in CVE already in 2004 we started to talk seriously about IP, starting with the broadcast, I remember projects like Alice IPTV, or FASTWEB TV made in the early 2000s and now, in the last decade we are talking more and more about IP too in production (thanks to the advent of the SMPTE-2022 and SMPTE-2110 standards).
All the concepts of remote production are based on this technology that has given us a strong impulse.
We are therefore very specialized in the Video-Over-IP world and this has allowed us to be protagonists in sports installations.
All the “collateral” dynamics that we offer today, cloud, mirroring, remote production etc, start from the IP and from the other decisive technological element in sport, that is the ease of contributing live video at high quality and low latency from any place to any moment. The latter element emphasized by the famous “backpacks for shooting”, mobile transmitters that we already proposed 15 years ago, when Aviwest was still a small company made up of a few people.
Today, acquired by Haivision, it is one of the companies that offers this type of products that are among the best ever, with bonding technologies on unmanged IP networks”.
R.L .: What other major revolutions have CVE seen in its 40 years of activity and how have they changed the way we broadcast sport and the way we work?
L.C .: “We have said about technical revolutions; but there is another “non-technical” revolution taking place and it is that of process management. Because to effectively implement the remote production processes that everyone talks about especially in the world of sport, not only technology is involved, but there is a complete change in the paradigm, in the mentality of the people who work there and in the working methods. We are facing a new way of working with constantly rotating staff of very young ages, trying to keep operating costs as low as possible. This concept in an “old-fashioned” service is struggling to catch on.
In the past, the traditional way of operating involved always sending the same mobile vehicle to the stadium and always the same crew with the same crew chief. Today it is crucial to create structures that allow us to support a significant turnover of very young personnel who must maintain high quality results thanks to their preparation and the ease of use of the technologies enabling the construction of the product “.
R.L .: Which technological trends and ways of working are emerging and thrilling the most today and which brands are most interesting to you?
L.C .: “These are the so-called“ enabling technologies ”, such as cloud, mirroring / remote production, IP.
For the concept of “remote operations” it has become fundamental to refer to super specialized products: therefore brands like Sony / Nevion become fundamental to manage and transport signals where we want them with superfine quality and irrelevant latencies.
Then there are other brands such as Blackbird whose products allow you to work on a production plant residing in one place but with operators physically elsewhere.
Covid has accelerated this process and created an immediate need to work as if we were in the production center, while remaining at a distance, each even at home, but in a collaborative way.
We have created several projects (some of which in SKY Italy) to remote MCR or playout operation, using various and different technologies that we represent in Italy. I am referring to brands such as TAG, which has proved to be decisive for local and remote monitoring, or such as TECHEX, which simplifies the management of the various live IP streams, or EMOTION which automates the normalizations and audio processing necessary for the creation of the correct television product.
More generally, I can say that companies that have many broadcast products in their catalog and that look at how to develop their product in different forms (making it for example a cloud service in addition to a simple product), but without forgetting the fundamentals of broadcast this world comes from, they are the most interesting partners for us”.
R.L .: What is CVE’s vision for the future? How do you want this business to evolve, what is the strategy and where do you see your company in 5 or 10 years?
L.C .: “If the span of 5 or 10 years seems an absolute time frame that is not too long, for our sector it is infinitely long. And if we think about the speed with which our world changes and technology evolves, I would be a fool to say today that I know where we can go tomorrow.
I can only say that in CVE we are constantly moving and evolving to be ever closer to customers in specific ways based on the need for systems / solutions or products and, above all, having a team that can always work organically with the teams. of customers and partners, having a great technical competence linked to the world of media and broadcast in general.
Those who work with us do it for passion: I feel that we must continue to shape and modify ourselves to adapt to the new needs of the market and thus lying alive the passion in our team.
This is why we continue to focus on young people, in the wake of what CVE has always done, but continuing to renew ourselves; in practice, we try to graft new dynamics on a solid framework, created at the time by my father, always based on the technical knowledge of our beloved world of television broadcasting”.
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