Interview: Sky TV's Brian Lenz

Sky is indisputably responsible for bringing some of the most familiar and exciting technologies to our living room - with products like Sky+ becoming the byword for PVRs, more than 50 HD channels and with Sky 3D the first channel of its kind in Europe.

Bringing innovation to not only our set top boxes but also to our iPads, iPhones and Android devices is the remit of Brian Lenz, director of product development at Sky.

Lenz is a committed technophile – waxing lyrical during our interview about the pressure of making each new addition to the service accessible for the mass market and why he thinks companion devices are key to the future of television.

And, as an American in a high profile British company, he offers an interesting take on the UK tech world.

Untapped potential

"I would say that there is untapped potential in the UK and I am increasingly impressed," Lenz states.

"Ten years ago the UK was not in a position to lead, but more recently things like ARM and what is coming out of Cambridge are doing just that, and there are an increasing number of times where we look at innovation that there are British alternatives to consider rather than automatically looking to Asia or Silicon Valley."

"I think the vibrancy of this market is incredible compared to a lot of places."

Lenz believes that a central part of ensuring that the British tech market continues to grow and establish itself towards the top of the global pecking order is education, and not driving our kids away from science and engineering into the lucrative worlds of finance and banking.

"Just like in the US, the UK needs more and more people to know how to problem solve and think technically, to question 'how do I build this?'," he adds

"I hope that the best and brightest are not just going into legal and finance; if I had a personal thing I would say too many smart people going into finance in both the US and Britain.

Sky news app for ipad

Lenz thinks that as a new generation grows up in a world where the likes of Steve Jobs are familiar figures, there's a smartphone in every pocket and a latop or tablet in every rucksack, the draw of working in technology is improving.

"I have seen a change of mentality now due to companies like Sky, ARM and Apple in the US," he says.

"People have seen [technology] is an exciting thing to do; something where you can genuinely game change. I feel far more optimistic."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.