Celebrating 15 Years of Change

By Nick Pearce-Tomenius, Co-founder and Sales and Marketing Director, Object Matrix 

Fifteen years ago, Jon Morgan asked me to join him in a journey to create a company that would revolutionise storage as we knew it. Myself and Jon decided that it was time to develop our own vision. We had foreseen the exponential growth of data volumes, and felt that we could develop a company that could successfully meet the challenges that would undoubtedly come with such an explosion of content.

Fifteen years on and that same industry has changed a great deal, as has the company, and with it both Jon and myself of course! 

The Land that Time Forgot

A few years later, the BBC iPlayer went live, completely changing viewing habits, and forging new viewing behaviour in younger generations. After all, how often are adverts watched by consumers these days? You could argue that the launch of the BBC iPlayer was the first drop in the large ocean of OTT that created the binge watching culture. Google also set a precedent, with its launched Video Search.

Around this time, we realised that we needed to change our tack when it came to positioning/selling our product. Believe it or not, selling a Java API 9 years ago was a tough one. We decided to move from an Apple and software only focus, since we were far too ahead of the curve, to appliances and the creative industries. Whilst some companies were relying on big lumps of Sun Microsystems Thumper devices to protect their assets, we became the underdog that was fast snapping at the heels in the industry.

As 2009 rolled around, so did the popularity of Sun Microsystems, as they were mopped up by Oracle. Inductive power was set to become the rage, yet even to this day, it appears to be on the fringes. The Broadcast Market saw the real transition, as content began to transition from tapes.

At this time, we decided to start local and think global! If you can’t sell on your doorstep, then where can you? We focused our attentions on Wales, gaining 14 new customers that year alone, including Mwnci, (now known as the brilliant Gorilla) and the BBC.

A Tech Disruption

In 2009 and 2010, we founded the Workflow Innovation Group with Steve Sharman, Niall Duffy and Erik Åhlin from Vidispine. We decided that it would be beneficial to bring together broadcasters and post facilities to discuss their workflow woes and challenges. Speaking openly as a group of companies also proved effective for sharing best practises with one another. We successfully ran 3 events in the UK, as well as events in France and Germany.

2010 also brought about the year of the iPad, with which Apple was able to forever change the way we consume digital content. During this time, we carried on where we had left off by integrating MatrixStore object storage with applications that our prospective customers used on a daily basis.

It is safe to say that bringing disruptive technology in a non-disruptive manner is a lot easier than telling people to speak to an API. We were able to integrate MatrixStore with Avid platforms, drawing in the likes of BT as a customer, securing its assets for its VoD platform.

2012 – A Year of Partnerships

The Facebook IPO in 2012 was successful in demonstrating the value not so much in the benefits of social networks, but more in the value of exploiting tonnes of user generated content, behaviour and metadata.

For us, it was the year of developing two strong partnerships. Something that we have discovered throughout the years in the industry is that it is all about the people. Forging relationships and partnerships with like-minded companies can unlock great potential.

Engaging in export for us became possible when we forged partnerships with CIS Group in Miami and IVORY in France – and frankly, they are the best you can get. It was also a great year for us as we crossed La Manche to expand our horizons, bringing the first major customers in France. This continued into 2013 as we gained our first customers in Latin America. We also reached the achievement or selling our first petabyte system to customers.

Explosion of Storage

2014 saw two big tech trends. I am sure we all know what they were, so feel free to recite them with me. Yes, Drones and Apple Watches. Something great about drones? More cameras, that capture more content. And what needs to happen to that content you ask? Well, it needs to be stored of course. The more the merrier!

For us here at Object Matrix, we were reaping the benefits of integrations with third party vendors in broadcast tech space with customers in new territories. We also started developing the framework for process in place (PiP).

In the years following, cloud services became more and more popular, and for populist reasons. However, something that occurred, that is proving difficult in our current time, is that organisations began wildly throwing data to the cloud without a thought for the cost to retrieve. We began preparations to offer MatrixStore as a Service, an offering that was made to disrupt current public cloud offerings providing tailored support for the media and entertainment market.

Furthermore, whilst replication functionality has been a tenet of MatrixStore digital preservation functionality since day one, more organisations start to take implementing a business continuity platform more seriously. We deployed a DR and BC platform in Brazil for one of the world’s largest broadcasters in the multiple Avid Interplay Production environment. This was pivotal for us as it was a world first.

Tomorrow is Calling

The last few years have been a juxtaposition between us at Object Matrix and the rest of the world, or at least that has how it has seemed. We have had some of our best years yet since 2016, gaining two new globally recognised customers in the USA, meanwhile one of our customers smashed through the petabyte barrier in Brazil.

Furthermore, we introduced a new platform for content called Vision. The following year, we introduced a new concept – Digital Content Governance. This has resonated with organisations that need more than just a storage platform to implement strategic plans.

Remember that Mwnci (Gorilla) cluster that we installed way back when? (When being 2009), it is still going strong. In this industry, we are constantly experiencing the introduction of new platforms, solutions and products. The ones that stand the test of time, or completely change the way that we experience our day to day life (everyone watches TV on a daily basis… right?) are the ones that leave an impression on the industry. What will the next 15 years bring us? The general consensus appears to be that AI will change the way we live our daily lives, perhaps it could change the way we store content? Furthermore, apart from the general growth of formats from HD to 4k to 8k, Virtual Reality experiences will demand a completely new set of solutions and will open new horizons.

I look forward to writing about Object Matrix at 30 years.

Radical Moves PR is an agency specialising in the ever evolving industry of media and entertainment technology. We have experience running Marketing and PR campaigns across a whole range of sectors, including satellite, broadcast, telecoms, and consumer electronics.
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