Name: Rony Sebok
Position: Vice President
Company: 1 Beyond
Overtime: An avid rower, sailor, hiker, and outdoor enthusiast, Sebok is happiest on the top of a mountain or out on the water—when she’s not working at 1 Beyond!
SCN: What is your position and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
RONY SEBOK: I am a co-founder—together with Terry Cullen—of 1 Beyond, and help with running the business. My primary focus is on new product development, strategic planning, and customer support. I work with the tech and marketing teams to turn product ideas into reality—and ensure that customers are happy and getting the most out of our solutions.
SCN: How long have you been at this position?
RS: Twenty years… It’s hard to believe but time flies when you’re having fun. 1 Beyond was founded in 1997 in Terry’s study on the Boston waterfront. In the early days, we custom-manufactured video editing systems—then added a line of high-end storage and archive products, recording solutions, and on-set data wrangling and color-grading systems for TV and film production.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role?
RS: Prior to 1 Beyond, I was a software engineer for Apple Computer and a business consultant at BCG. Both of those roles gave me skills and experiences I lean on to this day. Also, during the first 15 years at 1 Beyond, I worked on developing products, supporting customers, and building vendor relationships. All of that experience has made it possible for us to bring new products and become a vendor of choice in the AV market in the last five years.
SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?
RS: 1 Beyond is in a phase of rapid growth. Our smart, automated solutions—AutoTracker PTZ, AutoFramer PTZ, Collaborate AVS, and Automate RCS—are in high demand, but still only a small fraction of potential customers and AV integrators are aware of what benefit they provide and how they integrate with other solutions.
In the near term, our job is to communicate more broadly and build our AV integrator channel and vendor partnerships to get the word out. Longer term, our intention is to continue to improvement and expand our product offerings to stay “1 Beyond.”
SCN: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
RS: 1 Beyond is offering a new way to do things: simpler, more automated, multi-functional, open, IP-based. Some customers are skeptical—the claims sound too good to be true—or resistant to change because of bad experiences in the past. Our challenge is to demonstrate how easy it is to integrate our products into existing designs, how robust and reliable they are, and the benefit that results for both integrator and end customer in cost savings and functionality improvements.
Hundreds of universities are already using the 1 Beyond AutoTracker camera to follow a presenter automatically (no camera person needed). The performance improvements were undeniable, and this growing installed base is giving others confidence to adopt it along with the AutoFramer PTZ camera, which uses similar technology but is designed for group meetings.
Similarly, early adopters of the 1 Beyond voice-activated switching solution, Collaborate AVS, who bought it because no other solution could do what it does, are now spreading the word. It can identify who is speaking in a room equipped with the popular Shure MXA 910 ceiling array microphones and automatically switch camera angles to focus on the active speaker. Cameras can be located anywhere in the room and there is no limit to room size or configuration.
SCN: Where do you see the AV market heading?
RS: Video as a productivity tool will become the norm. CEOs are seeing cost savings and improved teamwork/performance from the use of video for internal and external communications. Every person in every room will have the ability to join a meeting via video, watch a training video, or broadcast a live stream. Quality will improve, as will ease of use.
Automation, which 1 Beyond offers, will become more prevalent and companies that adopt the technology sooner will have a distinct advantage. Gone will be the days when an AV crew of people is needed to produce a live multi-camera event or high-quality training video or lecture—anyone will be able to do it with the push of a button.
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from 1 Beyond?
RS: We are bringing the AV/IT experience to conference rooms and lecture halls, meeting spaces, and courtrooms. Our smart cameras and automated video switching, recording, and streaming systems provide solutions that either were not possible before or were very expensive. Top universities, corporations, and government agencies are finding our products, and systems integrators and design firms are specifying and installing them.
We are also continually working to add functionality and improve our products and services. In the next month or so, we’ll be making an announcement regarding Collaborate AVS. One thing I can report now is that we’ll be adding support for the new wireless conference system from Shure, the MXCW.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer?
RS: We offer loaner cameras and lunch-and-learn webinars to qualified systems contractors who show interest in and have customers who could benefit from 1 Beyond smart cameras and systems. Call us and we’ll help your project go smoothly with tech training and room drawings.