20th Anniversary Blog: Q&A with Petter Jorgensen, founder and Product Owner

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Interview with Petter Jørgensen, Founder and Product Owner

Introduction and Background

Interviewer: Can you tell us about your journey before Appear?

Petter Jorgensen: I started my career in the mediatech industry at Tandberg Television in 1996, like the other founders. I embraced a variety of roles, which provided me with extensive insights into product development and the customer perspective in our industry.

Interviewer: As a founding member, what was your initial aspiration for Appear?

Petter Jorgensen: We aspired for Appear to emerge as a key contender in the broadcast sector. Leveraging our experience from Tandberg Television, we were certain of our ability to reach this milestone by developing the right products, of superior quality. Looking back over two decades, that gamble has paid off!

The X Platform: Conception and Innovation

Interviewer: You’ve played a crucial role in the development of the X Platform, Appear’s flagship product launched in 2016. What was the initial concept behind this platform?

Petter Jorgensen: The X Platform, our 2nd generation hardware, was designed for high performance, low latency and with flexibility in mind as the core design drivers. It was built upon the groundwork laid by the development of the XC Platform. Designed for rapid and independent release cycles for the different capabilities to be hosted by the platform, this design is key to prevent bottlenecks in the product development cycle and thus get new products to market quicker.

Interviewer: The X Platform represents a significant milestone in live production technology. Can you discuss the challenges you faced during its development and how you overcame them?

Petter Jorgensen: One of the major challenges during the early period of the X Platform was quality control. Being a brand-new platform with a rich feature set, there were a lot of use-cases to cover and many new customers to satisfy. We’ve since turned to automated testing strategies to uphold stringent product standards.

Interviewer: In what ways has the X Platform revolutionised media processing and content delivery? 

Petter Jorgensen: At the time we launched the X Platform, the entire industry was talking about cloud workflows. However, recognising the unique demands of media processing and content delivery, we ventured into developing a robust hardware-based solution. Our approach with the X Platform was to combine the agility and scalability typical of cloud environments with the reliability and high performance of dedicated hardware.

Today, the X Platform stands out for its unmatched spatial and power efficiency, fundamentally changing how our customers deploy media infrastructure. By optimising operational costs, minimising physical footprint, and significantly reducing energy consumption, the X Platform offers a sustainable, efficient solution that addresses the evolving needs of the media industry. This strategic pivot not only distinguished us from the prevailing cloud-centric solutions but also affirmed our commitment to innovation and environmental responsibility.

Product and Technology Innovations

Interviewer: Reflecting on the past 20 years, which innovation at Appear are you most proud of?

Petter Jorgensen: I am proud that we have managed to achieve our goal of being one of the major players in our industry. The dynamism and the ever-evolving demands of the market have always been a challenge, yet, our ability to stay at the forefront of innovation while maintaining our market position speaks volumes about our team’s dedication and ingenuity. It’s this relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation that I’m most proud of, as it embodies the very spirit of Appear and sets a benchmark for the industry.

Interviewer: How has Appear’s focus on high-capacity solutions and functional versatility guided the evolution of the product portfolio?

Petter Jorgensen: Our portfolio’s cornerstone is its adaptability, crucial for meeting the unforeseen demands of tomorrow. Without a flexible and adaptable platform, we will not be able to keep up the race.

Memorable Moments

Interviewer: What is a standout moment from your time with Appear?

Petter Jorgensen: Among the myriad of memorable experiences during my tenure at Appear, the most standout moments undeniably revolve around our interactions with customers. The vibrant energy and insightful exchanges during on-site visits and at global exhibitions have been incredibly invigorating. The legendary Appear IBC stand parties back in the day take the gold medal!

Interviewer: How has customer feedback steered the direction of product development? 

Petter Jorgensen: During the last 10 years the industry has evolved through huge changes. Prioritisation has been extremely important so our customers’ insights have been vital in directing our feature development, ensuring our products meet the evolving needs of live production technology.

Looking Towards the Future  

Interviewer: As the media, entertainment, and sports industries continue to evolve, how do you envision the future of live production technology?

Petter Jorgensen: The multitude of streaming services mean there is a fierce competition for viewer retention and a change of behaviour from consumers. They decide what they want to watch, when and on which device. So, when it comes to live production, I foresee a future where consumers will have more control, such as choosing camera angles during live sports.

Interviewer: With ongoing advancements in technology, what new features or capabilities can we expect to see in future iterations of the X Platform?

Petter Jorgensen: We’ll maintain our focus on our key capabilities, capacity, density, and flexibility, with immediate plans to enhance products for higher bitrate support, including 100G I/O interfaces.

Personal Insight and Industry Advice

Interviewer: Based on your extensive experience, what advice would you give to new product managers entering the tech industry?

Petter Jorgensen: Simplify complexities when possible and always remember that customers seek solutions, not additional problems!