By Kirsten Nelson On January 06, 2012
Hall Research CEO Ali Haghjoo Extends Video Expertise in
response to Customer Needs
NAME: Ali Haghjoo
COMPANY: Hall Research
OVERTIME: Beginning with his work
on electronic systems for the aerospace
industry, Ali Haghjoo’s vision took flight
at a time when video standards became
as complex as rocket science.
Haghjoo discusses a test procedure of a video switcher
with a technician circa 1994.
SCN: At what point did you realize that you were destined
for a career in technology?
Ali Haghjoo: This may sound cliché, but as early as I can
remember. As a child I could not wait to disassemble the
toys I had to check out all the mechanisms and try to figure
out how the gears, springs, and everything made it work.
In the early sixties the only electrical things in toys were
motors and sometimes lamps. Part of this, I am sure, was
my dad’s influence, who was a mechanical engineer. He
kept all his technical books from college accessible at home
and encouraged me to grab and leaf through any book. I
used to ask him to explain some of the intriguing diagrams
that I found in them, and he would do that with delight.
SCN: After receiving your masters in electrical
engineering from the University of California at Irvine,
you began your career in the aerospace industry in 1981. How did your
work in that field prepare you for your role in the AV industry?
AH: That’s an excellent question. Aerospace covers a broad range of
disciplines. My work was mainly in the area of electronic systems.
Some of the designs I was involved with had a good chunk of analog
circuits (things like conditioning the signals that come from various
sensors), conversion between analog and digital formats, logic circuits
that manipulated and fed the digital information to a computer with a
central processing unit and software.
The knowledge that I was gaining was inevitably preparing me for the
next phase of my career, which started with building computer terminals.
A computer terminal was basically a keyboard with a monochrome video
display that connected to a big mainframe computer.
CEO Ali Haghjoo and his wife, Gail Haghjoo, CFO of Hall Research.
SCN: In 1984, you and Leonard Rezac founded H&R Technology,
manufacturing transducer signal conditioners for the aerospace
industry, and later expanding into PC peripherals. When you bought
out Rezac 1992 and incorporated Hall Research Technologies in 1995,
what was your vision for video distribution?
AH: At that time, PC video standard quickly went from CGA, to a short
lived EGA, and landed on VG A—which amazingly is still around, though
its days may be numbered.
I immediately started
making video DAs, matrix
switches, and extenders that
conditioned or restored the
video signal quality after it
had traversed over a long
multi-coaxial cable. The
ubiquity of cheap twisted
pair cabling and its ease of
termination (putting the
connectors on each end) as
compared to multi-coaxial
cables, made us to be one of
the first companies to offer
video extension products that use twisted pair cabling.
SCN: What drives your product development process?
AH: There is more than one driver for that. Our product manager’s job
is to have an eye toward leading edge and future technologies and help
define and position our development activities accordingly. An example
of that is our adoption of WebSocket technology in our VSA-51 room
control systems to provide real-time bi-directional communications
over IP . On the other hand, listening to the needs of our customers has
been key to our continued growth and long-term success. The feedback
from our technical support and sales teams is paramount in setting the
course of product development.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge facing the video industry?
AH: Wouldn’t it be something if you glanced at tomorrow’s daily
horoscope and saw that for all 12 signs it says the same thing: “Exciting
times are ahead”? I honestly believe that to be the case, so I welcome
challenges. Obviously the transition from
analog audio/video to digital is well on its way.
The next challenge is its transition to computer
networks and the internet. So far, maintaining
broadcast quality HD AV with lossless
compression requires a lot of bandwidth, but
as early success of Apple TV and Google TV
suggest, there are huge potentials yet to be