Electric Friends wins contract with Swiss Broadcasting Corporation

Published 12.12.2018
Media Cluster member company Electric Friends beat the competition in a tender with Switzerland’s main broadcaster SRF, and secures their biggest contract to date.

The contract in Switzerland is the international breakthrough for their trolley tower rail system.

- SRF has ordered 13 trolley towers for camera robots, says CEO John Kjellevold. The product is developed for use in news and other studio productions.

- In comparison, our mother company and first client TV 2, has ten units. Six here in Bergen, and four in Oslo. 

The Swiss public service broadcaster has ordered the trolley towers for use in four different studios. Electric Friends beat the more established competitors under an international tender.

- Our technology is solid, but design is our main competitive edge, says robotics engineer Håkon Espeland. He is in charge of the delivery project to SRF. 

- We design for modern TV studios, where you can shoot from all angles, while our competitors take a more traditional approach, he explains.

- Our towers look sleek enough to be on camera without the viewer really noticing. You often see them in TV 2’s news broadcasts, actually, but most people are unaware. 

- Even the TV presenters find our product very pleasant to work with. We have put a lot of effort into the user experience, giving the trolley-tower calm and natural movements. 

The Electric Friends team with a Trolley Tower installed in their office in Media City Bergen. 

Delivery in progress
Electric Friends has just started the first phase of the delivery to Switzerland. 
- Right now, we are in the design-phase where we configure the studios' rails, colors, interfaces, camera types and more, says Espeland.

- Installation of all the equipment will take place from March to April next year. Then we will enter a phase of testing and training, before going on air. 

Founder of Electric Friends, Anders Tomren, speaking to a delegation from the Norwegian Media Cluster during IBC 2017

– Referred to as an iPhone moment
In the video «The Power of Vestlandet» – a video showcasing cutting edge technology created in the Media Cluster, Anders Tomren, Founder of Electric Friends, goes into detail about how these unique camera robots was received during the launch at the IBC expo 2017. Watch the full video here:

Electric Friends is one of many companies who take their innovations to an international market, and at the same time create value and jobs in and around their home region.

The young company that started out with an industrial robot adapted for TV, is now best in show when it comes user experience. Their product has generated interest also outside Europe and they are now looking to expand the team. Kjellevold sees great potential for growth in the near future.

CEO John Kjellevold sees great market potential for the trolley tower. 

- Our biggest competitors deliver around 50 units a year. We are also hoping to reach that level in not too long. 

Electric Friends is one of many successful broadcast technology companies that started out working with TV 2. The TV channel is both investor, partner and client. 

- We made the very first robotic camera trolley for TV 2, as a special delivery ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio, says Kjellevold.

- But when they were the planning the move into new studios at Media City Bergen, they had different needs, and new problems that needed solving. There were no existing products that could fulfil their wishes, so we started a major development project together with them. 

A true child of the Norwegian Media Cluster, Electric Friends also works closely with Vizrt, to enable tracking and use of Augmented Reality with their product. 

More than 500 components goes into one trolley tower, and it is all designed and assembled here in Bergen. 

Written by Hilde Gudvangen