Hey, it’s Shark Week on Discovery Channel (a Signiant customer) so what better way to celebrate than to shine this month’s Tech Spotlight on our very own Gavin Tweedie who recently found himself diving with great white sharks off Seal Island just outside Capetown. Based in Scotland, Gavin leads technical operations for Signiant in EMEA. He has been with the company since we opened the doors in Europe six years ago. We sat down with Gavin to talk about his shark adventure as well as take a deeper dive into the work he has been doing with industry standards, such as DPP, a topic front and center at next month’s IBC Show.
Q: Favorite part of your job?
The diversity of the role. Working with customers, partners, vendors and thought leaders every day and listening to what they are doing, what their goals are and how their using technology to create compelling solutions and deliver real business value. I also enjoy being involved in product strategy, influencing the roadmap, liaising with my colleagues in sales, support, marketing, engineering and finance that are all great to work with and very much the reason behind the success we have enjoyed over the last six years in Europe.
Q: What’s a typical working day for you?
I will typically spend 2 -3 days a week on the road (around Europe) working at customer sites managing projects, consulting and designing workflows, creating architecture designs or evangelizing new ideas and best practices to customers looking to take advantage of what other Signiant customers are doing. The rest of the time I will be involved in creating or writing up solutions, proposals and providing feedback to our team on how we can refine and improve our solutions and improve on our customer experiences. I also get involved from time to time in helping people out with technical issues though we have a 24-hour support desk. I like to keep my hand in this to stay current with the technology.
When I’m not on the road for Signiant, I’ll likely be out on the cycling as that’s my passion. It’s been a great inspiration to watch all the exciting performances at the London Olympics. Earlier this year at the Manchester Velodrome, I was fortunate enough to be part of the team supporting one of our product managers, Mike Nash, who holds the world cycling record for the furthest distance traveled in an hour in the men’s 40-44 age category. (45.959KM for the record).
Q: What are you currently working on that is ‘hot’?
I’m currently very involved in working in the broadcast metadata standards space for Signiant. The emergence of published standards such as FIMS, DPP, MXF and so on are very important topics for our customer’s at the moment. A good example is the DPP initiative which, among other things, is the commonly agreed metadata strategy for the UK broadcast industry. As a result I’m working on designing solutions which allow Signiant to be very involved in assisting customers with the capture, processing, transformation and verification of metadata within file-based workflows. In fact we will be demonstrating some of these new metadata-driven solutions at IBC and I look forward to presenting these new solutions and ideas at the show.
Q: What keeps you motivated?
Every day at Signiant there is a new challenge, whether it’s of a technology or business nature. You never know exactly what you’re going to be doing the next day and that does keep things interesting.
Q: Tell us something about you that most would be surprised to learn?
I’m proud to say that I’m related to Chris Hoy who has just won his sixth Olympic gold medal at the London Olympics in the men’s cycling event. He’s an inspiration.
Q: Speaking of inspiration, we heard you had a recent shark diving experience, tell us more.
While on a business trip to South Africa, my Signiant colleague and I had a debate on whether to visit the safari park or go shark diving. Although I won the toss of the coin, I still found myself in deep water 12 hours later shark diving with great white sharks off Seal Island just outside Capetown. Even though I was in a cage, I was given a very clear reminder we are not top of the food chain!
Q: Additional highlights you want to share?
Since Signiant has became something of a standard within the broadcast space, I’ve been able to visit many customers and countries in that time. I’ve met a lot of interesting people and really learned a lot working with IT broadcast professionals and how they creatively exploit technology. Highlights include winning flagship projects at organizations such as BBC, Disney, Discovery Channel and Turner Broadcast. It’s great to be a key enabler to our customers’ businesses.
If you are going to IBC next month be sure to stop by and say hello to Gavin. See us in Hall 14, Stand 621.