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The Euro50 Q&A: Antonio Arcidiacono Director of innovation, Eutelsat

Antonio Arcidiacono - EutelsatEutelsat’s Antonio Arcidiacono is the man behind the company’s ‘Smart LNB’ initiative, designed to enable satellite broadcasters to offer interactive TV services to non-connected set-top boxes. 

Age 52

Nationality Italian

Time in this role  Seven years

Previous experience  Graduated from Pisa University in 1985. Worked for Selenia Spazio (Italy), Telespazio (Italy) and at the European Space Agency (ESA) in Paris. Have worked for Eutelsat since April 1990.

Biggest achievement of 2013  One of Eutelsat’s biggest achievements in 2013 was the official launch of the Eutelsat ‘Smart LNB’: a key enabler for connected TV via satellite that we unveiled for the first time at IBC. The Smart LNB is the result of a collective effort since 2010 involving innovative companies and very qualified professionals in Europe and beyond. The Smart LNB is a new-generation satellite antenna feed including an embedded transmitter to provide connected TV and M2M services. It is also capable of routing IP data contained in DVB-S2 multiplexes for applications such as multiscreen viewing and is an enabler for non-linear TV services.

How to build on this in 2014  During 2014 the Smart LNB will be proposed to the market for large-scale deployment and the first commercial services are expected by the year-end. In view of the low cost and the flexibility of the Smart LNB, its use in the course of 2014 will also be extended to M2M applications and services.

Single most important goal We are working on many fronts in terms of service development and geographic expansion so it is a challenge to select one. 2013 was an important year for us for Ultra HD, with the launch of demonstration channels and working with partners such as Samsung, GlobeCast, Ericsson and Sky Italia to show its benefits and a fully working transmission chain. We will actively pursue this in 2014 so that the conditions are in place for the launch of the first commercial UHD satellite channels. This convergent effort will be supported by key players to integrate a coherent ecosystem, from UHD production and postproduction to final delivery to the home. Our recent acquisition of Satmex and our investment in a high-capacity satellite for Brazil will provide us with premium platforms for supporting UHD broadcasting from this year’s World Cup to the 2016 Olympics when, I believe, UHD will start to reach real cruising speed, both in terms of technology and content for satellite broadcasting.

Biggest impact on the industry in 2014 The expansion of multiscreen customised content distribution – from UHD, to smart TV screens, to SVOD, to tablets – will drive the evolution of the connected TV industry. The growing competition coming from OTT offers will push pay TV operators as well as broadcasters and any content provider to evolve in terms of service and content provision strategy. The availability of low-cost screens will also drive new service offers in emerging markets, representing a new opportunity for market growth, particularly in Latin America and the African markets.

Most admired company other than your own Amazon for its ability to innovate and constant willingness to invest in new products. Samsung for its ability to quickly bring a full family of state-of-the-art innovative products to the market – from UHD Smart TV screens to OLED Tablets. And Ettus Research, a software defined radio (SDR) platform leader, for allowing quick and flexible development of new transmission products – the quickest way from idea to a prototype.

Yourself in three words Creative, positive, enterprising.

Dream dinner party guests Pope Francis, Jeff Bezos, Riccardo Muti, Fabiola Gianotti, Roberto Benigni, Elon Musk, Craig Venter, Ray Kurzweil, Aditi Shankardass, Luca Parmitano.

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