HIVE CHATS TO TPMEA ABOUT THEIR VERSATILE MEDIA PLAYBACK SOLUTIONS

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Hive chats to TPMEA about versatile media playback in the Middle East and beyond.

Coming to market in March 2022 and founded by Dave Green, Trey Harrison, and Mark Calvert – long-term collaborators in the field of high-performance video control and performance – HIVE was launched to meet a need for affordable and versatile media server control solutions that take their inspiration from the deep-rooted ecosystems and intelligent networks of interconnectivity that exist in the environment.

“We are inspired by nature. This principle exists in the foundation of HIVE – the ability for a video system to exist on a scalable network. Our technology is light, flexible, scalable, better for the environment, and doesn’t cost the earth. HIVE is a natural evolution in the industry we so love. We are innovators excited by providing bright, high-resolution, silky smooth, real-world experiences.”

Mark Calvert, Hive Founder

With backgrounds in concert touring, Olympic ceremonies, theme parks, museums and the arts, the HIVE team have always strived to create awe-inspiring experiences for the viewer. “Having the fortune to have worked alongside some of the greatest creatives in each sector, we spotted a great gap in the market,” Calvert explained. “While some of the server market was focused on high-end systems with equally eye-watering price tags and others on low-end systems with very low functionality, we realised very few were focused on the central 80% of the market.”

 

HIVE has four key verticals: location-based experiences [LBX], theme parks, architecture, and entertainment. The company boasts an extensive list of case studies across all these verticals all over the world, including the BBC Earth Experience in Melbourne and Frameless in London, National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), the UAE and Qatar Pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai, digital artist-based experiences such as Quayola, the Japan Olympics and Baku European Games Ceremonies, and touring work with the likes of Eric Prydz HOLO and BICEP Live.

 

 

One area that has developed hugely in recent years is location-based experiences – a fact that the HIVE team were reminded of while working with celebrated architect Jean Novelle and the Doha Film Institute (DFI) at the NMoQ. “The development of these experiences is often driven very enthusiastically by the Middle.

 

Eastern market, and their inspiring enthusiasm to put the region on the global map for original experiences,” Calvert explained. “It was during our six-year contract at NMoQ prior to the grand public opening and the equally grand vision of Jean Novelle, NMoQ, DFI and the wonderful film directors that co-created the Art Film commission that we saw a brand-new approach to location-based experiences in museums, with vast permanent digital video galleries to accompany the narrative of Qatar’s growth and rich success,” he recalled. “This commission at NMoQ was the first time HIVE was deployed onsite and the rest, as they say, is history.”

 

The co-founder dubbed NMoQ as “without doubt” the company’s “most notable commission to date”, adding that there are total of 172 custom-designed servers site-wide as well as an ongoing operation and maintenance contract. “We were so fortunate to have collaborated with some fantastic individuals and companies on this project, all of whom we have built long-lasting friendships and partnerships with,” he said.

 

One of these individuals that the HIVE team will never forget is Consultant Dean Winkler. “The technical quality of HIVE’s work is beyond reproach,” Winkler commented. “However, what really separates Mark, Dave, Trey, and the HIVE team from everyone else is their ‘can do’ attitude to solving problems, which in this case was more like ‘whatever it takes, we’ll solve it’. They provided by far the best solution both in image quality and creative support for the project.”

Another company that worked with HIVE on an integrated film design solution on the project was New York-based Nice Shoes Creative Studio. “HIVE offers professionalism, attention to detail and a desire to collaborate with others to build unique, top-quality pieces,” reported the company’s CIO, Robert Keske. “They are one of the cornerstones of this NMoQ project, delivering the highest levels of solution quality.”

 

The NMoQ project was also a landmark for Panasonic, with the installation representing the manufacturer’s largest single rollout of its PT- RQ13 4K+ projector globally. Gareth Day, Group Manager at Panasonic Visual Systems (UK), stated: “The success of the HIVE and Panasonic equipment has been the ability to reproduce images of outstanding quality from the shortest viewing distances, and with the flexibility to position the projectors as unobtrusively as possible. At every stage, HIVE endeavoured to push the boundaries of the installation, making this an incredibly exciting project in which to be involved. Panasonic has been delighted to be involved in a project of this scale.”

 

NMoQ is far from HIVE’s only foray into the Middle East, with the company entrusted with delivering its technology to both the UAE and Qatar Pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai. “The UAE Pavilion architecture felt like a cathedral with its grand gesture of height, natural lights, and finesse. In its very centre is the Pearl, a seated digital immersive experience designed by Tellart and commissioned to HIVE by EMPTY in Madrid, Spain, who we worked closely with on the NMoQ project,” Calvert described.

 

“Then there was the incredibly fast commissioned work of the Qatar Pavilion, for which HIVE had only six weeks from our first contact with Stephen Harvey and LMProductions to the opening date,” he added. “Both these Pavilions featured HIVE at the very core of the video systems, and each had huge high-resolution video displays depicting the nations’ stories and proudest achievements to a global audience.”

 

Having worked in Dubai, Doha and Riyadh for quite some time, the HIVE team sees the Middle East as a region that is perfectly aligned with its core beliefs and ethos to build ambitious experiences while respecting the planet’s resources. “The region has enormous growth opportunities for experiential commissions, and it is HIVE’s intention to sit at the very heart of these projects, making sure the leaders of nations can meet their incredible ideas with deployable technology that respects the cornerstones of the manifesto,” he commented.

 

Calvert pinpointed “low power, low weight, high performance and remotely supportable” as qualities that “sit at the heart” of HIVE. “Our technology helps reduce a range of materials from site commissions such as complex signal distributions, removing the need for huge power consumption,” he stated. “We deliver low-weight technology for freight and deployable savings, and an aspect that I am particularly proud of is how easy-to-use our systems are – they can be operated by eagerly keen-to-learn local communities in the region. We are keen to see the wonderful MEA region embrace video technology, and equally be able to easily use it, support it and deploy it, and for HIVE to make and distribute our products cheaply enough so everyone can explore the opportunities of storytelling and displays in projects.”

 

The company is set to reveal its full product ecosystem at ISE in Barcelona. “This is a huge moment for HIVE, and we have worked tirelessly to bring this range to market,” Calvert said, adding that the company will have three products on display at the trade show. “Each product is inherently linked to the other. We are marketing these as revolutionary to the industry and we believe we are the world’s first to market.”

 

On display will be the BeeBlade, BeeBox and BeeHive. “The BeeBlade is Intel-based SDM architecture and can be slotted into SDM-compatible display technology such as projectors and monitors,” Calvert explained. “SDM paves the way for the future, and we are very excited to be collaborating with Intel on this new era. This approach removes the need for expensive and cumbersome sitewide cable infrastructures, as the product lives inside the display technology.”

 

The BeeBox meanwhile is HIVE’s custom- made enclosure for when the client does does not have compatible SDM display technology. “The BeeBox can be deployed directly next to the screen, and with a short HDMI lead power your displays,” Calvert stated, going on to explain the company’s headline ISE launch, the BeeHive. “This 5U rack-mountable engine has the modular capacity for up to 16 BeeBlade cards, giving the system the power of x16 4k / 60 outputs. “This is to our knowledge the most compact yet powerful media engine on Earth, and we are proud to be launching the price point at ISE to align with our values of affordable yet always reliable.”

 

Beehive

 

Describing the Middle East as home to “the most exciting opportunities”, Calvert discussed the biggest challenges of operating in the region. “Our biggest challenge is knowing where to focus first and with whom,” he commented. “HIVE is a relatively new company, and while presently based in the UK, we are working hard to expand our international sales and support reach so we can cater for this market and other key areas such as Asia and North America.”

 

He added: “Our newly appointed Sales Director Nigel Sadler and I have set out a great strategy for 2024, where we will move forward with great pace and enthusiasm into these regions. We have already secured our Asian Reseller at Ark Ventures, and soon we will lock down and announce the same for the Middle East and North America regions. This will give HIVE customers, designers, rental houses, and government institutions direct access to our product, with local knowledge bases, and local sales and support departments within arm’s reach.” Looking to the future, the co-founder is excited for what is it to come.

 

“Our future has never looked so bright, with HIVE sales going a lot better than we had ever dreamt, proving our products are being welcomed by the industry. Our wonderful HIVE team is inspiring us daily to embark on the varied opportunities ahead and our partners giving us the freedom to follow our hearts and expertise,” he beamed. “We are absolutely buzzing – excuse the pun – about the future at HIVE.”

 

He continued: “With any tech-start-up it’s as much about growth as it is about grounding, so in 2024 we will focus our attention on the four main verticals for HIVE that we already know we are best suited to, we will bring in a series of new experienced staff, open new sales channels in regions such as MEA and North America, and we will continue to try and help as many people as possible bring their original ideas to life.”

Photos: HIVE

 

 

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