Meeting Appear: David Mitchinson, Head of Strategic Initiatives

What’s your role at the company?

I have just changed roles at Appear and I am part of a small team working to define the strategic direction of the company in all markets. The broadcast industry is transforming rapidly with the networked society that we live in at its core. Within this fast-evolving landscape, everything is possible and unlike broadcast platforms of old, change can happen almost instantly to re-define how content is created, distributed, and delivered to the benefit of a global audience. It is exciting to work at the forefront of such dramatic change!

What are your main responsibilities?

My role centers around teamwork since it involves interacting with many entities both internally and externally. Externally these are customers and technology partners and internally it is our engineering and management teams.

How many years of work experience do you have in this industry?

I graduated in 1989 so I guess that makes it 32 years! Wait… that must be wrong…how can that be when I am only 40 years old?

Which areas are you most experienced with?

I have been in the industry for many years. I started as global product manager for a conditional access product and then moved into Contribution and Distribution (C&D), Cable, satellite DTH, DVBT/T2 and then the IPTV and OTT. So I have been fortunate to have exposure to such a wide range of technologies within our industry. Compression technologies underpin everything and is a cornerstone of intense interest: we are now heading for a truly multi-codec world and I have already picked my predicted winners! The advent of distributed cloud ecosystems and greatly improved last mile speeds to the home means we are soon going to see a step-change in streaming innovation and capability. My background is in RF and I am excited by the technical evolutions underpinning the 5G standard: although there are many areas public networks will play a role in Broadcasting, it is the use of private 5G networks using mm wave frequencies that interests me most.

What do you consider your most relevant work experiences within this industry?

Maintaining a deep relationship with customers is essential to remaining in tune with the trends and needs of the industry and there are few places I have not travelled globally to be with customers. As the industry moves forward, one of the most important attributes is the willingness to embrace change and look at familiar landscapes from a new perspective. From 2010 onwards, the Broadcast industry became entwined with the fast-moving IT industry and this has changed the entire landscape in which we operate, both as broadcasters, manufacturers and consumers. You need to have a very broad horizon of interests and be capable of moving fast to capitalize on the many benefits this new era of possibility presents…

Tell us something about yourself! Do you have any hobbies, special interests, or hidden talents we should perhaps know about…?

Those who have known me during my career often say I make an unlucky travel companion since I have had my share of hair-raising experiences on some trips! Cockpit emergencies, having equipment impounded, even shootings…I have seen it all. I am constantly putting so many antennas on our roof we have had to have a proper mounting frame (as used for cellular antennas on towerblocks) installed to accommodate them.