Double deployment for Net Insight’s Nimbra, but no Sye in sight

Swedish video synchronization specialist Net Insight is pulling off something of a resurgence after winning a significant extension deal at Swisscom along with a smaller deployment at Input Media. We have suggested on numerous occasions that despite impressive demos, Net Insight’s struggles to win major accounts was because the technology was ahead of its time. Is that time now?

Swisscom Broadcast, the Swiss telco’s broadcast wing, has tapped Net Insight’s terabit Nimbra 1060 IP platform to support live contribution after Swisscom Broadcast recently won new projects for its contribution network leading to the expansion of its core media network, as well as supporting IPTV services, audio, and video surveillance.

Nimbra’s bread and butter however is enabling live events. So, in this sense, the expansion of Swisscom’s next generation broadcast IP platform opens the doors of scalability up to several terabits a second with solid QoS. The 1060 was unveiled last year and is complementary to its OTT synchronization product Sye which has been struggling with momentum. We therefore see Nimbra as laying the foundations for networks, opening up venues for new content types while reducing costs of live streaming events, before operators deploy something like Sye which we see as a more tailor-made, nice-to-have technology. It could be read as a lesson in don’t try to run before you can walk.

Faultline Online Reporter spoke with Net Insight in April, after the company posted its full year 2018 results, showing total net sales recovering from its 2017 blip with an increase of 5.8% year on year to $48.8 million. Strangely though, net income suffered a dramatic turn of events – from $400,000 in 2017 to a $6.3 million loss in 2018. Net Insight assured us this was largely down to investments in Sye, its live OTT product, meaning that other businesses generated positive operating earnings of $1.5 million.

Positive momentum in Western Europe and the Americas could see Net Insight recover to net sales seen in 2016 of $54.5 million. In fact, Net Insight is due to file its next financial report in two weeks, so we’ll be sure to circle back and assess how the company’s “strong competitive position” – in its own words – have reflected on the books.

Net Insight has become synonymous with sports and was often seen sporting a flash racing car on its booth at various trade shows, although the company has spoken openly to us about its woes in winning over the Formula 1 franchise. But Net Insight has pulled up its sports socks with a win at remote TV production company Input Media for the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup coverage on behalf of BBC Sport. UK-based Input Media used Nimbra for remote production of 27 live soccer matches – featuring built-in video processing, low-latency JPEG2000 encoding as well as unique features for equipment control and synchronization – claiming Nimbra’s remote production achieved 100% reliability.

It comes a year after Net Insight won a €1 million order in Europe for a national football federation, to provide a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) network. The VAR service which has been used with varied results at the current World Cup, is now likely to require installation across multiple stadia across the world. In this case it will be attached to the old Nimbra Net Insight jitter free servers used for outside broadcasts in 19 football stadiums. The VAR is used to provide a second chance for referees to see red card incidents, goals and key offside decisions during the game.

Net Insight has been carving itself a new niche in sports, one arguably even more lucrative than the racing scene which it has pursued for so many years to little avail.

The duo of wins within the last week come almost a year after Net Insight removed its central CTO position, part of a wider workforce cull, which aimed to decentralize product responsibilities. Net Insight told us at the time that having one central CTO was no longer the way to maintain technology height and vision.