Interview with Philip Radley-Smith, CEO i2i Media
Philip Radley-Smith has successfully created a number of international companies including those in payments, software development and streaming media.
With offices in the UK, the United States and Azerbaijan, Philip’s companies service international clients in sectors such as Film and TV, Petrochemicals and Healthcare. Philip has an extensive worldwide Patent portfolio that pertains to wearable computer, mobile phones, watches and bracelets. Philip is keen to put his, and his companies’ services and skills at the disposal of others within the community. This includes pro bono work with organisations such as charities, housing associations and other social enterprise bodies.
After 20+ years in streaming media, i2i is one of the old guard. How does that feel?
A bit like being on a roller-coaster whilst wearing a blind fold. Looking back, it seems incredible how much things have changed in terms of technology and other players in the industry. It is almost incredible to think that in the early days we would stream with an image the size of a postage stamp and now you have 4k streaming to 90" TVs. I feel lucky to have weathered some pretty big storms such as the internet bubble burst in the early naughties and the financial crash of 2008-2010. In some ways you could say that the economy has not fully recovered from the financial crash, but streaming media has certainly done much better than other sectors with crazy money chasing various unicorns. The same could also be said for Covid — for us, the Covid year has been our best year ever with brand new solutions and new customers.
Have your new solutions been particularly Covid-focused?
To some degree, yes. There has been one strand where companies who were dabbling with streaming media took the plunge and jumped in feet first to try and get a competitive advantage. Equally we were approached for what were clearly Covid solutions. As an example, a monster U.S. company approached us and said that they needed an alternative to Zoom saying that there were 5 x reasons why they could not use Zoom or Teams. That project led to the creation of the ‘Pitchroom,’ which was like a massive shot of adrenaline for the company and managed to really focus the team at a time when the press were heaping on doom and gloom at every opportunity.
How did things go with your ‘Pitchroom’ Zoom alternative?
From a technical point of view, really well. We have managed to flesh it out with some great features and add-ons that have enabled us to use it in all sorts of sectors (some of which I would never have guessed we would be working in 12 months ago). The dilemma for us is that i2i is really a bespoke technology company creating B2B solutions. This ability to create custom solutions effectively got us through the internet crash of the naughties because we can turn on a dime. However, it is also something of an Achilles heel. I say this because it is very easy to get caught up with the excitement and buzz of new projects that build IP, but equally not to focus on products that give capital and market value.
What is your view on product-based solutions?
They excite me as much as the idea of eating porridge every day for breakfast. However, over the years I have seen some peers and contemporaries boom from having a clear product that is like a widget that you pump out from the sausage machine. It now feels like a good time to give this approach a roll of the dice. To keep the team happy, I feel that I need to keep a steady follow of bespoke new IP-based projects, but equally I feel it’s time to build on solutions such as the Pitchroom to produce a mass market B2C solution and product. I hope that this new approach is a sign of maturity and not old age.
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