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I've been really busy for quite awhile and have not updated this site. I am currently Division General Manager at Fraunhofer USA. Check my LinkedIn page for slightly newer info. Please contact me or download a Word or PDF copy of my resume by clicking on the menu above.

I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area and will strongly consider other U.S. high-tech markets.

Skills Keywords: product management, business strategy, product marketing, business development, new product development., strategic planning, marketing.
Field Keywords: streaming video, MPEG-4, MPEG4, MP4, MPEG-2, MPEG2, MPEG-1, MPEG1, MPEG, Windows Media, Real Video, codec, mobile media, 3G, Asset Management, Content Management, VOD, Video on Demand, Video-on-demand, broadcast video, professional video, supercomputing, RAID array, parallel computing, SIMD, consumer video, consumer electronics, convergence, digital media.

Robert L. Bleidt

Please download a copy (see above)
for contact information

EXPERIENCE

Division General Manager

Fraunhofer USA, Inc.

 

U.S. General Manager for Fraunhofer's Audio Business

Worldwide Product Management and Business Strategy

Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies, San Jose, CA (2007-present)
We promote and support Fraunhofer's audio and video codecs in the United States and provide worldwide marketing and product management. Fraunhofer is the inventor of MP3, co-inventor of AAC, and authoritative source of many audio and video codecs, including HE-AAC v2, MPEG Surround, AAC Enhanced Low Delay, Extended HE-AAC, and related headphone and surround technologies. Fraunhofer codecs are estimated to be in five billion devices.

President

Streamcrest Associates

 

Business and Market Strategy Development for Digital Video Technology Firms

Business Development and Technology Licensing for Clients

Streamcrest Associates, Santa Clara, CA (2002-2007)
Streamcrest is a firm I operate to provide business and market strategy consulting in streaming media, MPEG-4, and related digital video technology, such as consumer electronics, convergence appliances, codec chips, and mobile devices. Streamcrest's clients include compression technology firms, a consumer electronics manufacturer, video semiconductor firms, technology licensing organizations, investment funds and banks, and a trade association. Engagements have included developing business plans, product strategies, market potential studies, market and revenue forecasts, technical evaluations of codecs and implementations, and tutorial seminars. I have also acted as a business development and standards representative for one client, licensing their technology to several major semiconductor and electronics firms.

Director,
Product Management and Business Strategy,
MPEG-4 Business

Philips Digital Networks

 

Develop Business and Product Strategy to Commercialize Philips MPEG-4 Technology

Create And Manage Product Management Department

Development of Alliances with Key Partners (Sun, Intertrust)

Supervise Product Marcom and Positioning

Philips Digital Networks MP4Net, Sunnyvale, CA (2000-2002)
This 150-person unit of Philips Electronics, N.V. produced MPEG-4 streaming video products that allowed interactive multimedia content to be transmitted over broadband and mobile networks. Reporting to the VP/General Manager, I was responsible for the product management department and for our product and market strategy. Additionally, I managed print and web marcom, business development with some key partners, and our IP/patent strategy.

When I joined, this business was a research-oriented effort without a clear market or business model and was just beginning product development. My challenge was to focus us on specific application markets and develop viable products to transform us to a commercial business. This involved leading a strategy team to identify market opportunities and staffing my five-person department to manage worldwide product lines in broadband, set-top, mobile, and embedded markets.

My product managers successfully produced and launched two generations of complete MPEG-4 product suites. In the words of one reviewer, our encoder product "reliably yields beautiful video and high quality audio streams" and had a "great user interface," while our player was the industry reference standard for MPEG-4 streaming. However, the decline or delay of broadband markets and our reliance on other Philips products lead to slow market development in three of our segments. Our business had to focus solely on the mobile/wireless market, and I reconfigured my department, producing a new mobile platform strategy in three months. Economic issues with carriers and our corporate parents lead Philips to dissolve this business in 2002.

With 90 engineers in five countries, our product development efforts were not coordinated and were engineering-driven, with our first product shipping at Release Candidate 10. I introduced a new product development process to control developments and select new product opportunities, resulting in our second generation shipping at RC 3.

Our unit divided business development activities among several executives. I was responsible for developing our relationship with Sun Microsystems. I negotiated marketing and technology exchange agreements resulting in joint sales proposals in both broadband and wireless markets, and in licensing MPEG-4 server technology from Sun to strengthen our server products.

Competitors used the uncertainty of future MPEG-4 patent royalties to raise customer apprehension, and royalty terms could have potentially destroyed our business model. Acting as Philips' commercial representative to the MPEG-4 patent pool groups, I was able to steer one group from a fatal to a favorable position for our products.

I was also responsible for our web and print communications and our product positioning and literature. Some of my staff was stronger in technology than communication, so I wrote or edited most of our product literature and prepared positioning and value propositions for our products. This included presentations explaining MPEG-4 and debunking competitive propaganda through my "MPEG-4 Myths" series. I also established a web marketing strategy for us and staffed and managed a highly-ranked, commercial web site with content streaming, self-support database, and customer management features.

Senior Product Manager,
Asset Management Products

Philips Digital Video Systems Company

 

Develop Strategy to Augment Mature Video Server Product Line with New Technology

Create a Mini-Business to Develop and Market a Web-Based Asset Management Product for Broadcasters

Philips Digital Video Systems Company, Salt Lake City, UT (1998-2000)
This 80-person unit of Philips produced video servers and news editing systems for the broadcast video market. Reporting to the Director of Product Management, I was responsible for its line of asset management products, which allowed journalists to efficiently retrieve and edit content using PC's instead of expensive broadcast hardware, and enabled television facilities to re-purpose broadcast content for the Internet.

When I joined, the business had a mature server product and an engineering staff consumed with bugs and delays. My assignment was to study new business opportunities to help diversify or augment this core product. I identified emerging asset management technology as a promising solution for the trends of centralized operation, segmented audiences, and Internet webcasting developing in the broadcasting industry.

At the direction of the General Manager, I designed a business strategy to introduce asset management to broadcast customers. This included studying the potential market and competition, writing business plans, and developing a product strategy based on an internal mid-range product and alliances with two high-end suppliers. For our internal product, I formed a mini-business within our unit, recruiting an engineering team from other projects and evangelizing the technology to our customers. I identified customer needs and workflows, developed a customer value model, specified the product features, developed the product's technical architecture, managed the engineering development, conducted beta tests, prepared literature and sales training, and launched the product through our national sales organizations.

In architecting our internal product, I was able to use Windows Media Player with my team's code to make a product that used "free" web-based consumer technologies while delivering professional frame-accurate editing. This allowed us to develop the product with four engineers for about half the BOM cost of other systems. Our development cycle was also short: We launched one year before our competitors.

This product provided a sales and image boost to our declining server product, helping to secure several major orders, and recently became the selected asset management product of the merged Philips/Thomson/Grass Valley broadcast company. It was selected for a 2003 Technical Emmy Award.

During the front-end of this work, I also served as product manager for a joint Silicon Graphics/Philips video server platform and for an IP-network video distribution project. I left this position through a promotion to our MPEG-4 business in Sunnyvale.

Director, Marketing
and New Business Development

Sarnoff Real Time

 

Marketing of a Supercomputer-Based Video Server for Consumer Video-On-Demand Systems

Technology and Market Forecasting, Planning, and Competitive Analysis

Marcom and Branding for a Technology Start-Up

Sarnoff Real Time Corporation, Princeton, NJ. (1995-1998)
SRTC was a spin-off enterprise of Sarnoff Corporation, formerly RCA Laboratories. It was formed to develop a large-scale video server based on Sarnoff's massively-parallel computer system. Basically, the company was a technology start-up with a solution in search of a problem, and we identified emerging consumer Video-On-Demand systems as our primary application as we grew to about 120 people.

I was responsible for SRTC's marketing and business development activities, divided between a marketing engineer and myself. Reporting to the President, my primary task was product definition of new server products for VOD systems, including the product that led to our purchase by a customer. This included studies of the technology requirements and business models of new consumer services, VOD operator system and use requirements, market potentials, forecasts on networking and storage technology, and analysis of competitive products.

VOD was an emerging market with long development and deployment cycles to a limited customer base, making competitive information important and difficult to obtain. I developed an intelligence program that included recruiting research consultants, training managers in trade show interviewing, analyzing collected data through architectural and market studies, and developing a competitive intelligence database.

As a technical start-up, we had no outbound marketing activities, so I developed branding and marcom capabilities. This included creation of product line brochures, data sheets, a corporate backgrounder, sales training courses and videos, a promotional video, and a web site. I also developed a corporate identity plan, retaining industrial designers for new product styling and a new product line logo.

When I began, we had a list of 100 secondary applications for our technology. I focused us on exploring the three most promising as possible backup markets, developing initial proposals to build servers for a large broadcast facility, a major teaching hospital, and a video editing manufacturer to validate these markets.

Secondary markets became unnecessary as deployment of our second-generation product proved our capability and cost model, and immediately led to our acquisition by a consumer VOD system operator. In this phase, I developed an end-game business plan and board presentation for our sale.

Director,
Mass Storage Technology

Sarnoff Real Time

 

Invent Technique To Allow Cost-Effective VOD Video Server

Staff and Manage Disk Array Engineering Department

Previously reporting to the VP of Engineering, I staffed and managed SRTC's storage engineering department that developed terabyte disk arrays with hundreds of disks operating in parallel. These projects were complex hardware and software efforts that required the efforts of 10-20 engineers for a two-year product cycle. These arrays, based on techniques I invented, offered cost and performance improvements that enabled on-time successful deployment of the world's first practical video server for consumer interactive television.

I also acted as our representative and liaison with disk drive manufacturers and as our executive for regulatory affairs, developed an engineering revision/configuration control system, and improved our hiring efforts though a recruiting campaign and training managers in interviewing techniques.

In order to develop SRTC's marketing function, I personally recruited, hired, and trained a replacement to manage this department.

President

Image Circuits

 

HDTV and Digital Video
Consulting Firm and Niche Manufacturer

Image Circuits, Inc., Duluth, GA. (1987-1995)
Image Circuits was a small consulting firm that provided product design services to the video and image processing industries, including projects for Sarnoff, Datacube, Brooktree (Conexant), and Viewgraphics (Optibase). Image Circuits also manufactured specialized equipment for HDTV research, equipping dozens of the world's leading HDTV labs. I was the founder, president, and primary consultant, working with one or two colleagues. I discontinued operations of the firm to join the startup of Sarnoff Real Time.

Digital Engineering Manager

Fortel, Inc.

Fortel, Incorporated, Norcross, GA. (1983-1987)
Fortel was a manufacturer of broadcast digital video equipment where my final position was Senior Staff Engineer. I designed microprocessor software, large dynamic memories, and high-speed digital logic for video storage and image processing.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

Articles and Papers:

Understanding MPEG-4: Technologies, Advantages, and Markets, MPEG Industry Forum, Web Site and Print, 2005.

MPEG-4: A System Designer's Overview, Electronic Engineering Times, November 12, 2001.

MPEG-4: Today and Tomorrow and Why MPEG-4? White Papers, Philips MP4Net Web Site, 2001

Asset Management: Distribution of Media Pool Video Server Content over Wide Area Networks, Philips Technology Briefing, 1998.

Speaking Engagements:

Low Delay Audio Coding on TI DSPs, Texas Instruments Developer’s Conference, March 2006.

The MPEG Surround Codec for Digital Radio Broadcasting, Texas Instruments Developer’s Conference, March 2006.

MPEG Technologies – Setting New Standards, IBC 2004, Panel Moderator and Introductory Presentation, September 2004.

MPEG-4 and the Future of Mobile Video, Software Development Forum, March 2004.

Second Annual Workshop and Exhibition on MPEG-4, Industry Panel Discussion and Presentations, June 2001.

Sun Webcast Interview at National Association of Broadcasters Show, April 2001.

Digital Hollywood Conference, Panel Discussion and Presentations on Interactive Television, March 2001.

Sun Webcast Interview at National Association of Television Program Executives Show, January 2001.

Presentations:

MPEG-4: An Open Standard for Broadband and Wireless, Powerpoint for MP4Net external marketing and sales presentations, September 2001.

Broadband Webcasting Briefing, Powerpoint on Philips MPEG-4 Solution oriented to broadband markets, June 2001.

Introducing SURF, interactive CD-ROM explaining how new asset management technology and products can enable centralized broadcasting and content re-purposing, Philips customer handout, 2000.

Asset Management for Broadcasters, Powerpoint for Philips Broadcast National Customer Event, 1999.

EDUCATION AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

MBA/MSM, 1983; MSEE, 1982; BEE, 1981; Georgia Institute of Technology. Georgia Tech graduate certificate program in Acoustical Engineering, 1982.

Dale Carnegie Course, 1996. Dale Carnegie Graduate Assistant, 1997.

Fuld & Co. Competitive Intelligence Seminar, 1997.

UC-Berkley Branding and Positioning Course, 1999.

Member IEEE, SMPTE, American Marketing Association, Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals. Former Manager of Atlanta SMPTE section and member of SMPTE S17 Standards Committee.

2003 Technical Emmy (for product I developed) "Technology to simultaneously encode multiple video qualities and the corresponding metadata to enable real-time conformance and / or playout of the higher quality video (nominally broadcast) based on the decisions made using the lower quality proxies"

U. S. Patents 5,671,377; 5,913,026; 5,920,702. Striping, architecture, and operation of a SIMD computer and disk array as a video server.

Registered Professional Engineer, Georgia. Prior NSA and DOD Clearances.

Private Pilot SEL, Instrument Rating


Detailed Resume of Robert L. Bleidt

 


(Image Circuits Logo)

Visit the website for Image Circuits, an engineering company I ran from 1987 to 1995.

(Streamcrest Logo)

Visit the website for Streamcrest, a business and product consulting company I operate.