Open Insight #10
(Click here to read the Swedish version)
Welcome to Open Insight, our blog for investors. This is where you can find out more about our offering and market position, our progress, our challenges and our growth.
Time passes quickly and I have now been with Net Insight for almost two years. This has been an eventful period with many changes and improvements on the agenda.
We have set a clear growth strategy and focused our core operations with the sale of Sye and ScheduALL, developed our product portfolio to become one of the sector’s broadest, and clarified our financial target to achieve long-term profitable growth. We have won the largest deal in Net Insight’s history – which represents a step forward in our strategy of exploring and expanding into adjacent market segments – and we are now in the process of strengthening our sales organization.
This has required extraordinary effort, but the rewards greatly outweigh the hard work. We have worked through an entirely unpredictable pandemic that has tested us more than once, but that we have managed successfully.
As an effect, growth and profitability increased significantly over the last five quarters. The strong close to 2021 was due to increased sales in the media business and the breakthrough order with Türk Telekom.
For us, it is natural to comply with the current sanctions against Russia and Belarus. Accordingly, we have decided not to deliver to these countries. This includes both indirect and direct sales, deliveries and support to our customers, suppliers and partners in Russia and Belarus. As our exposure to these markets is very limited, this is not expected to have any impact on the company’s operations.
There is considerable interest in our new product for 5G synchronization, and in this issue of Open Insight I will focus on our current position and the progress of the development work. At the same time, we have also had some exciting developments in the media business. We had a strong presence at the winter games in China where many new products and solutions were used, such as our recently launched JPEG XS function for video compression with ultra low latency.
Long experience in synchronization
As I have mentioned on several previous occasions, we have a long history of synchronization. This started more than 15 years ago with the development of our GPS-independent time synchronization functionality (Time Transfer) for national digital TV networks. We hold several patents in the area and synch is used in most of our products. Around 20 of our terrestrial TV customers use Net Insight’s synch technology in their operations. It is against this background that we are now taking on this exciting project.
We reached the first milestone in the project when we delivered the first part of the initial order for Nimbra Time Node products to Türk Telekom at the end of 2021. The initial delivery is based on the existing Nimbra platform and includes the first release of our new technology for 5G Precision TimeNet, which is a development of our existing GPS-independent Time Transfer solution. This solution is also undergoing proof-of-concept testing with five other customers.
Read more about Precision TimeNet here
Extended collaboration with Meinberg
We have extended our collaboration with Meinberg, a leading operator in time synchronization, to improve our solution Precision TimeNet. We will also use Meinberg’s established sales channels to reach new markets with the synch solution.
Read more in the press release here.
“Net Insight’s Precision TimeNet offers a unique solution on the market that we see a strong and growing need for, across multiple industries. We’re excited to be working with Net Insight, a leader in mission-critical IP transport, to drive innovation and enable our customers to benefit from GNSS-independent time synchronization.”
Development of the new synch product for 5G is underway. This volume product is a cost–optimized development of the current solution adapted to be positioned out in the 5G networks near base stations. The focus is currently on defining the software architecture and completing the initial hardware design, as well as working on purchasing and technology procurement. These activities have started and are proceeding according to plan.
We are in the process of building the team, which is now almost fully staffed. We have successfully recruited a total of 24 people who are already fully committed to the development project. We have also just recruited a new product manager with extensive experience of synchronization, telecom and 5G networks, a very valuable addition to the project.
Our 5G synch solution confers clear advantages
Initially, we see 5G as the main target market for the synch solution, where mobile operators are our customers. In contrast with 3G/4G, 5G requires precise time synch because of the transition from frequency to time multiplex (TDD), which increases the requirement for precision by more than 60 times. Because our solution is open and enables distribution of precise time synchronization over existing networks, this reduces costs in connection with the roll out of 5G. It is also GPS/GNSS-independent and thus more secure. We see considerable potential for our solution in the long term, including in other critical network applications.
We have started to build up a dedicated sales organization that focuses exclusively on the synch offering and have recruited resources in sales, tech sales and business development with extensive experience of mobile networks and telecom. Sales will initially be direct, but will also take place through selected local and global partners.
We will obviously exploit Net Insight’s global presence. We have 25 years’ experience of global distribution and will expand and adapt our distribution channels.
Presenting our synch solution at Mobile World Congress
We had a very positive response when we presented our synch solution in Barcelona at the end of the month. The potential to avoid upgrading entire networks and thereby significantly reducing costs in connection with the 5G roll out represents a major advantage for many operators. The uncertain geopolitical situation has also created a strong awareness of the need for critical networks such as 5G to be GNSS/GPS-independent.
Our open solution – where synch is separated from the transport solution and is thereby independent of the underlying network – is a close fit with the new open reference models for 5G. Operators who have only built smaller networks or carried out tests over dedicated 5G networks have often not yet experienced the problems and challenges associated with time synchronization in major networks. It was clear that most operators have now started to realize the complexity associated with the cost efficient extension and management of time synchronization when extending regional and nationwide networks. Here, our solution is a very close fit as we enable simpler and more cost-optimized large scale roll out. We feel that our solution is very timely.
In 2021, we launched several important new functions in our media product portfolio, and are increasing investments further in 2022. As previously communicated, we have introduced JPEG XS functionality in all our products. JPEG XS delivers video compression with ultralow latency and high production quality, which is very important for the new distributed production flows. To help our customers connect IP–based studios or production centers, we are continuing to develop ST 2110 functionality. We made the first customer delivery of 2110 solutions a year ago. More functionality will be delivered in 2022 and major releases are scheduled for this summer.
Strong position in cloudbased services
With Nimbra Edge, we have achieved a strong position in the rapidly expanding area of cloudbased media solutions. At present, we are focusing on our customer-driven roadmap where we receive very positive feedback on our new functionality and where there is considerable market interest.
We currently have around 10 active Nimbra Edge customers in all regions, including service provider Tata Communication, video production for LinkedIn and Swiss TV broadcaster SRF’s productions such as the Alpine Skiing World Cup.
As I described in Open Insight #9, last fall The Switch launched its cloudbased service MIMiC Transmission, which is entirely based on our product Nimbra Edge. Watch the video where Robert Szabo-Rowe, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Product Management at The Switch, talks about MIMiC here.
New case study with Arena Sport
In 2021, Arena Sport started using remote production for the Serbian Super League, and the Serbian Soccer Association (FSS) has now activated its new centralized VAR system, all based on Net Insight’s solutions.
Read our new case study here.
We have entered several new partnerships, including with Red5 Pro where we have combined Nimbra Edge with their XDN (Experience Delivery Network) to offer a solution in media contribution and distribution, as well as a collaboration with intoPIX to develop the next generation JPEG XS-compatible solutions.
Thank you for your time. I am pleased that so many pieces of the puzzle are already falling into place in the synch project. This is where the advantage of being a small, agile and responsive company on a global market really comes to the fore. We already have the innovation power, alongside the ability to turn our leading edge competencies into commercial products. Now our growth journey continues.
Crister Fritzson, CEO, Net Insight