Kyle Kast

What Do You Do, Again?
By Kyle Kast

LEIGHTRONIX has an exceptionally diverse portfolio of products and services, going far beyond what originally started as a video equipment controller company. In addition to better serving customers in PEG access industries with enhanced workflows and innovations, the growth of the company and its products has been immensely satisfying for those of us working within the LEIGHTRONIX world, yet difficult telling people exactly what it is we do here in equal measures. For many of us, there are a number of issues in giving a succinct description of what our primary role is.

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No, we don’t make television shows. Yes, we’re making things that are used in the process. No, we don’t make cameras; we do, however, create products and services that fulfill needs non-industry professionals may not have known existed. We create the video servers used to store shows and the software to schedule them. We build the encoders used to process video data. We offer a streaming service for viewers to watch their favorite content online either live or on demand. We do all of these things plus any custom solution an organization throws at us. It’s hard to explain all of this to someone who doesn’t already know the lingo. Honestly, once you say “encoder” you’ve already lost them.

Having to field the “what do you do” question from friends and family regularly, we all have our own techniques to attempt an abridged explanation, or avoid the conversation altogether. While a handful of us (including myself), merely fall back on our department (oh, I work in marketing/sales/tech support/so on and so forth), many make an honest attempt at explaining what the company’s products and goals are.

SaraSara Mason, who you may recognize from other LEIGHTRONIX blog posts, manages the sales team and has been actively working in the sales department for over 12 years. As you can imagine, all of this time in the industry has given plenty of opportunities for confused friends and relatives to eventually ask her what she does.

“After having to explain to several family members multiple times, it generally gets dumbed down to: ‘we’re a technology company and we make electronics,’ sadly. But then when I have to explain my role in sales, I can tell you that they envision in their heads that I’m on the show floor of a Best Buy, with my polo shirt on, selling electronics to people as they walk by… this is a question that I have been asked.”

For the most part, LEIGHTRONIX products are sold by a network of authorized dealers across the country. This streamlines things for customers substantially, since they’re able to work with vendors closer to them geographically who are able to help with any additional broadcast equipment and services they may need. Our sales team helps facilitate communication between customers and dealers, answers questions, gives product demos, and provides webinars on products and services.

NancyIn addition to other responsibilities, handling incoming calls to LEIGHTRONIX headquarters falls to Nancy Gagnon. When I approached her area to ask about the subject of this blog post, she swiftly handed me a piece of paper from a semi-permanent folder on her desk. “We are a solution for recording, broadcasting, and streaming digital media content,” it read.

We receive a large number of calls from people asking about our services and there’s simply too much to describe in too little time. Outside of a quick statement and sending someone to our products page, there’s not much else Nancy can do. At least her brief statement dissuades people looking for camera equipment from questioning further.

Chelsea Tousignant, who works out of the engineering department, has had to field some surprising questions as well: “Generally, people think that we’re a security company; we do security camera stuff; I get that a lot.” Although one of the industries we cater to is homeland security, we don’t go around setting security cameras up.

“I usually try to explain it first by saying we’re a 2016-01-28_Chelseavideo company, which doesn’t necessarily help the situation. And then by talking more about video servers and streaming over the web, which is as far as it gets you, really.”

Luckily for us, streaming video is one of the few things that actually translates quite well thanks to semi-recent advances in technology. “Broadcast” or “record” could fall under a number of different categories and processes, but when you tell someone about a “live stream,” most will know exactly what you mean. VieBit™ is our premier streaming service for live streams and video-on-demand viewing. In addition to everything else we do, we support broadcasters who want to stream their content over the Web. It certainly doesn’t help us explain our overall function, but at least people get it.

For Nick Crandell, who works in sales, comparing our products to something more relatable has had positive results:

Nick“I generally tell them to imagine going to a TV guide channel and looking at all the upcoming programming for the rest of the day or rest of the week; it’s equipment like ours that actually runs those kinds of programs and plays those kinds of programs at specific times.”

A large part of our business has certainly been in the video playback and automation game. The popular NEXUS® series video servers, including the newly released UltraNEXUS-HD™, all offer the WinLGX™ scheduling system along with considerable storage for video. Nick admits that his channel guide analogy only shows a fraction of what we do here, but at least cues people into the fact that a lot goes into broadcasting. It’s not just camera-to-air; there are steps in between.

KatieWorking alongside Nick is Katie Thompson, who goes through the usual foray of what we do and how we do it, but tries to go a little further when she has time by broadly describing a “box” between filming and broadcast. That box could be a video server, or more specifically, an encoder, which is a pretty difficult concept for a lot of people (including myself when I first started working here). Our IncodeX® line of video encoders will encode a signal for a number of different purposes depending on what your needs might be. Our IncodeX Vier™, for example, can simultaneously encode one input to up to 4 output types, such as a live stream, or scheduled broadcast.

It’s no secret that LEIGHTRONIX tech support is absolutely stellar. We’re known for our free support for the life of all standard products. When Mike Dykstra explains his quality control and tech support position to anyone new to LEIGHTRONIX, however, he gets a very different image thrown back at him:

Mike“Most people have been on the receiving end of tech support and they have nothing but bad stories about the stuff. Sometimes when I tell them I’m in tech support I get ‘are you going to put me on hold for 30 minutes or not be able to answer my questions, or read your answers from a script?’ No, every answer is tailored to your question; I don’t have any scripts.”

For anyone that has called a tech support line before, the image described by Mike is all too familiar, but LEIGHTRONIX has never operated like that. Our support staff consists of knowledgeable, helpful individuals who aren’t going off of some script to help you out. Once again, tech support is free for the life of all standard products as well, which is pretty great.

Even though it’s fairly difficult explaining exactly what we do, those difficulties themselves have been created by an unending need to support our customers. We could specifically be a streaming company, or an automation company, or even a business that only creates large-scale, custom solutions. Instead, we do all of those things and more. We listen to the needs of broadcasters across the continent and evolve based largely on what will help them the most. This is what has kept us at the forefront of the industry for 35 years. Despite the fact that none of our friends or family can really get a handle on what we do, we think it’s worth it.

Kyle handles a number of communication-based responsibilities at LEIGHTRONIX from social media to proofing manuals. He holds an MA in English from Northern Arizona University and has years of experience teaching college writing and technical communication.

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