Every professional knows that business is built on relationships. And VCA is a proof of how the best business relationships are much like the strongest personal bonds. They grow out of mutual admiration, trust, and respect—and they last decades, even a lifetime. Such is the case for VCA with Johnson & Johnson.
When VCA Senior Applications Engineer Rich DiLorenzo, a veteran of the broadcast industry and an integral member of the VCA team, began working with the healthcare corporation’s internal broadcast AV staff, they treated him as a partner.
When VCA Senior Applications Engineer Rich DiLorenzo, a veteran of the broadcast industry and an integral member of the VCA team, began working with the healthcare corporation’s internal broadcast AV staff, they treated him as a partner. “They said, ‘You’re one of us. We don’t consider that you’re from a different company because we feel like when you come here, you’re one of us.’” DiLorenzo relates. “Sometimes you hit it off with certain clients to the point where you become an extension of their company, and it’s nice when that happens.” And so goes VCA’s longstanding relationship with Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
Over the last several decades, VCA has played a key role in a number of corporate AV and broadcast deployments at Johnson & Johnson’s world headquarters in New Brunswick, N.J. The company boasts a sophisticated broadcast department comprised of video producers and editors, as well as a sound stage where executive messages and marketing content is filmed. There is also a video crew that shoots on location at the corporate meetings and events that Johnson & Johnson hosts at its own sites, as well as other venues, across the globe.
Recently, VCA worked with Johnson & Johnson’s broadcast team on an upgrade of the company’s shared storage system involving the deployment of an Avid NEXIS software-defined storage platform. At the core of this system are Media Packs, each of which contains 10 drives that supply 400MB/s of real-time streaming bandwidth plus 20TB or 60TB of raw capacity. For J&J, VCA integrated two Media Packs for a combined 200TB of storage capacity. The system is scalable, so J&J can add more Media Packs as their bandwidth and capacity requirements increase, which VCA has already worked out a roadmap for doing with them. The platform includes an embedded System Director Engine, as well as both hardware and software-based features designed to maintain resiliency, such as RAID protection.
VCA has also deployed the Avid MediaCentral asset indexing platform to accommodate Johnson & Johnson’s abundant video catalog. A modular assortment of apps, services, and connectors accessible via a Cloud UX web-based interface, MediaCentral is designed to streamline workflows involving production teams of every size that are working either on site or in disparate locations. In the case of J&J, the Cloud UX service has yet to be implemented as the broadcast department is faced with firewall restrictions from its corporate IT department, a common predicament today.
DiLorenzo concedes that one of the challenges with conducting upgrades in the corporate AV and broadcast realm––and any market, for that matter––is how quickly technology is advancing, which affects how well (or poorly) integrated AV systems work together. Coupled with this is the need to optimize an organization’s tech investment: “Because things are changing so fast, you really want to pick the technologies that make sense for you at the moment, but also don’t cut you off from the future,” he says.
These days, this means that corporate AV departments are struggling with how to approach 4K. “It’s just like when HD came out––it created a ton of problems for everybody because nobody knew: what’s the standard going to be? Are they going to do interlaced video or progressive video? At what frame rate are we working?” DiLorenzo illustrates. “In the old days, it was just NTSC––it was one frame rate, one size, and that’s all you had. That door has been opened again now with 4K. Are you doing true 4K? Are you doing UHD? And then, what frame rates are you working in? What codecs are you using? That’s one of the problems now, because there are all of these different codecs, and when they’re new, sometimes they don’t work as planned, or the combinations of the things you’re using aren’t working well together.”
This is one of the reasons that VCA’s team fully tests all of the systems it deploys in-house before rolling them out on site. Most of the firm’s technical team members have earned the exclusive Avid ACSR: Elite certification, as well as dozens of others. As such, they know the value of putting technology through its paces before integrating it into their clients’ environments.
Johnson & Johnson is currently planning for several more upgrades, and VCA enjoys the privilege of accompanying the company’s corporate AV team as it continues to improve its broadcast operations. DiLorenzo believes that one of the reasons VCA has sustained such a long and healthy relationship with Johnson & Johnson is because of the people working in the firm’s broadcast department. “They have this camaraderie, and that makes them kind of special. They’re a cohesive group,” he says, adding that several of the Johnson & Johnson team members have been working together for over 30 years. “It happens sometimes in companies, where a group gets together, they’re a good group, and they work well together. They definitely have that there, and we feel honored to be a part of it.”