Behind the scenes, our large team of hardware, software and network engineers are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in video control and management.
Their rewards have not gone unnoticed, as our latest Aetria solution has already accumulated a handful of industry accolades since launch for its advancements in multi-point video design, management and control.
Based at our Derby, UK HQ, we speak to network engineer George Chamberlain about early fascinations with Microsoft Paint, current Datapath developments, and what we can expect in the networked world of the future…
Welcome to Datapath, George, it’s great to have you on board. How did your path lead you to your current role?
Thank you, it’s great to be here.
I think I’ve always been fascinated by IT, some of my earlier memories involve sneaking downstairs on a Saturday morning to get a couple of hours on Microsoft Paint before my Dad woke up and wanted to use his computer.
As a teenager, I managed to get some work experience at Cisco and that’s what really kick started my interest in networking. From there I went on to do a degree in Computer Networks, and whilst out on placement that interest developed further. After graduating earlier this year, I already knew I wanted to work in networking specifically, and when I saw the role here at Datapath, it lined up perfectly with my areas of interest.
With the worst of the Covid pandemic (hopefully) now behind us, how have you adapted to the past six months in the workplace?
The last six months includes my interview process, and I have to say it felt strange to be sitting in my university room in a full suit and tie! Since then though, things have slowly been returned to some sense of “normality”, and I’m glad I’ve been able to meet a lot of people and put names to faces.
With a lot of my role being physical, I’ve needed to be in the office more than some, but I’m keen for that to continue. Modern technology is excellent, but I’m not sure it will ever truly replace a real handshake with a real human.
Overall, it wasn’t exactly how I planned starting my graduate role, having to take some time off isolating here and there. But whilst everyone has been challenged this last six months (and beyond), we’re all stronger for it.
What would a typical work day look like for you?
My workdays are extremely varied, with every day bringing new and interesting work. Some days, I’m working on maintaining and upgrading Datapath’s internal network infrastructure. Some days, I’m working on network designs with the Network Engineers of clients to help integrate our solutions into an existing system. On other days, I’m assisting with research and development by provisioning new network environments in which to test. I’ve also worked on developing some training documents, which I’m looking forward to delivering to customers soon.
Can you give us any insight on what technology we may be working with in years to come?
In the AV world, I think the move to AV-over-IP has already made its case. There are some massive benefits to using networking equipment to connect AV systems, and as the demand for bandwidth and scale continues to increase, AV-over-IP is making more sense. I think our Aetria solutions offer some of these benefits to clients in a control room setting.
In the networking world, we’re seeing the rise of network automation for BAU tasks. I think that’s going to be critical to control management overhead and prevent human error effecting mission critical systems. Eventually, we’ll be in a world where all production changes to networks go through some automation process before being pushed out.
These are just a couple of the exciting technologies on the way. Part of what I love about IT is how fast paced it is, you never know what technology is going to come around and blow your mind next.
What are the most rewarding and most challenging elements of your job?
I think the most rewarding part for me is stepping back and seeing the finished system. One that sticks out is a portable Aetria system I helped build before the InfoComm 2021 trade show. Going from a big pile of hardware and cables to an Aetria system ready to ship was very rewarding for me.
The most challenging thing has been getting to grips with the new technologies I’ve been exposed to at Datapath. It’s one thing to know the networking, but you also need to understand how that interacts with the other components of the system, and how this fits into the bigger picture. Whilst it’s been challenging to learn new technologies, it’s also been interesting and useful.
Away from work, how do you spend your time away from keyboards and displays?
I really enjoy martial arts, and train Muay Thai a couple of times a week after work. In any case though, I try to get my blood pumping a bit every day.
Over the lockdown, everyone seemed to pick up a new hobby and mine was I decided to start learning French, so I try and do that every day as well. Other than that, spending time with family and friends.
Tell us something people may not know about you…
I really want to travel the world, and a couple of years ago I set myself the target of visiting at least one new country every year. Of course, when COVID kicked off, that became quite difficult, so it’s safe to say I’ve got a bit of catching up to do!