Barco Barometer: Claudio Cardile Interview
Managing Director (ANZ), Claudio Cardile, chats with AV.Technology about what sort of pandemic Barco Systems has had.
Claudio Cardile was appointed Managing Director of the Australia/NZ operations of Barco System just prior to the pandemic. Many suspected one of his key tasks was to open the Belgian giant up; to expose the region to its full suite of tech solutions. Turns out the near-death experience of the live events industry accelerated that diversification in ways no one could have anticipated.
In this interview, Claudio talks to AV.Technology about where the growth is coming from, how Barco is diving into the world of immersive and what’s next for Barco and the region.
AV: The pandemic was diabolical for live events. Barco projection is well known as a big player in that market. Covid must have been tough?
Claudio Cardile: It was tough for our customers in the live events sector, no doubt. But Barco has seen a shift in Australia and New Zealand. We’ve been on a growth path in our region for the last couple of years and I don’t think it’s stopping. We remain a big presence in the live events sector, but we’ve seen an expansion in the fixed installation market. Barco is making considerable inroads into convention centres, auditoriums, museums, and the hotels and hospitality space. So it’s been a very interesting journey over the last couple of years.
Interestingly, projection mapping remains a vibrant market and has grown quite dramatically. We’ve seen projection mapping on silos and other unconventional places — there’s a lot of creative thinking out there. Underlying it all, I think everybody’s wanting to up their game in an effort to wow their patrons, and employees.
Projection remains the most visible aspect of what we do but we’ve been able to bring a full suite of expertise in on these projects to achieve the best results — how do you achieve the best mix blend; how do you manage the installation; how do you time stamp it; what image processing will work best… we go from being a projector supplier to a trusted project consultant.
BIG, BRIGHT & MORE
AV: Barco traditionally is the go-to for ‘big and bright’. But it sounds like Barco is broadening that conversation?
Claudio Cardile: Right. There are many elements to consider, and I think the customers we’re talking to are well informed — they’ve done their research — but the level of service and support we provide is a real drawcard for customers embarking on a large investment. Our product will be working hard for them for many years and it reassures them to know we’re here for the long run and always happy to assist.
AV: The rise of immersive experiences has changed the conversation around projection. Is that what you’re finding?
Claudio Cardile: Immersive experiences are hugely exciting — we’ve seen some mind-blowing applications of technology and they can be hugely challenging in a whole bunch of ways, such as mechanical, installation-wise, as well as the system itself. We love those types of conversations, that’s our sweetspot.
Projection is obviously a key piece of most immersive experiences, and, again, we’re finding our clients are coming to us with a sophisticated level of knowledge. We’re quickly talking about multi blends, frame rates, 3D applications, and future proofing their investment. We’re right at home in the middle of those conversations. We have the solutions and we have the technology experts.
XCITED ABOUT IMMERSIVE
AV: Sounds like you believe that ‘immersive’ is more than an ephemeral blip on the radar?
Claudio Cardile: For sure, and Barco has even set up a business unit, called Xcite, to address immersive projects. Xcite is all about immersive virtual experience; the technologies we can provide; and the specialised service and support we can bring to bear. Customers are looking for that experience and thought leadership. That’s the most important piece that Barco can bring — our experience from around the globe.
We’ve experienced considerable growth over the last three years, and that growth can’t be attributed to just one or two categories, it’s actually been across the board
AV: The new Barco UDM 4K30 projector seems to fit nicely into the picture here.
Claudio Cardile: We launched the UDM series before the pandemic — which most would assume to be the very worst time to launch a projector. Even still, we’ve sold more than a 1000 units globally, with 6-8% going to customers in Australia and New Zealand. Which says to me that the Australian and New Zealand market is wanting a premium flagship projector for its performance.
The UDM 4K30 is the latest addition to the UDM range and is a result of customer feedback. The UDM platform has established itself as a live events workhorse — it’s super rugged. Now, with the UDM 4K30 it’s now the brightest and lightest in its category.
So we’ve taken a great platform, with a great track record, and responded to market demand. We’ve got some local customers that have pre-ordered and going to be taking delivery of this product and be the front runners of large order globally for this new platform.
AV: What next for Barco and the ANZ market?
Claudio Cardile: We’ll continue to meet the market demands and anticipate the needs of our customers. We’re working on integrating projection and image processing in more straightforward ways. And we’re looking at standards-based video transport — AVoIP in projection and processing and how they marry.
Sustainability remains a priority for Barco. It’s in our DNA and we’re market leaders in this regard.
BIG BARCO TECH BUFFET
AV: Many in this part of the world will know about Barco because of projection or ClickShare. Is it a challenge to raise the profile of all the other aspects of Barco’s offering?
Claudio Cardile: It’s an interesting question and undoubtedly a challenge — it’s a huge portfolio. We’ve experienced considerable growth over the last three years, and that growth can’t be attributed to just one or two categories, it’s actually been across the board. We’ve invested heavily in our marketing and messaging, so the market better understands who we are and what we do. For the ANZ market we can’t have highly specialised local experts in every single vertical — we have extremely competent generalists — while we leverage those subject matter experts internationally as and when we need to. But importantly, those experts exist and they’re on tap to assist.
There’s no doubt, we’re spoilt for choice, which is not a bad thing, whether you’re after a superior meeting room experience, learning experience, control room solution… we’re well established in that enterprise space with the service and support. It’s nothing new to us, it’s something we’ve done for a number of years, and it gives our customers confidence in what we can provide as a vendor.
Barco Systems: barco.com