Technology consultancy Mediasmiths has opened a research and development facility in Belfast.

Mediasmiths Forge will be led by general manager Terry Harmer (pictured), who joins the company from Belfast’s e-Science Centre.

Harmer has been tasked with building the R&D unit into a “centre of excellence” for organisations that are going through operational change and adjustments to their digital workflows.

He described Mediasmiths Forge as “a state of the art development, testing and deployment facility for broadcast and digital media systems”.

Invest Northern Ireland has pledged £75,000 of investment in the project that will see five Belfast e-Science Centre employees join Harmer at Mediasmiths. There are plans to grow the business to a total of 15 staff.

Harmer said Mediasmiths would look to help broadcasters deal with the challenges presented by the rapid evolution of technology.

“There are opportunities there but it is a question of how they take advantage of the rate of change. It’s a similar problem that the IT industry faces, but broadcasters have to manage multiple platforms whilst also creating content,” he said.

“We’re talking to broadcasters about managed services for their infrastructure with the emphasis on innovation rather than cutting costs,” Harmer added.

“The projects we are involved in are led by R&D people so they are built to evolve, rather than just fix a particular problem.”

Mediasmiths managing director Niall Duffy said: “Terry has twenty years research experience across several sectors including media, defence telecommunications, financial services and mobile, which makes him the ideal candidate to lead Forge and help us in achieving further growth in the coming year.”