Convergence Services, Inc. is a specialized firm that provides strategic consulting to the digital media industry. We assist, guide and advise companies on spectrum valuation, monetization, and policy, hybrid wireless networks, and next-generation emergency communications. Based near Washington, DC, we work at the intersection of technology, business, and policy.
With clients that include consumer electronics manufacturing, public and commercial broadcasters, and private equity investors, the firm
specializes in what it calls, “techno-political strategy.” Projects include supporting clients in new mobile television ventures, co-development of the Advanced Warning and Response Network, strategic advice on new media ventures, focused government relations, and due diligence for public television stations as they weigh their options for the upcoming FCC incentive spectrum auctions.
Founder / Principal
John Lawson is an advocate, innovator, and leader, whose roles have included trade association CEO, corporate executive, and business owner. John has a proven record of defining strategic vision, coalescing stakeholders to achieve that vision, and driving results.
Re-launching his consulting firm, Convergence Services, Inc., in 2010, John has focused on spectrum policy, next-generation interactive television, hybrid wireless networks and IP-based, wireless emergency communications.
John is an innovator in the use of digital television spectrum for programming diversity, mobile video, and emergency communications. In 2005, as president and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), John negotiated the most extensive agreement in the history of the broadcasting industry for the carriage of multiple digital programming streams on America’s cable systems. This led directly to new digital “multicast” channels from public television, including the first Spanish language network.
While at APTS, John also led efforts that secured nearly $500 million in federal funding for the next-generation satellite interconnection system for PBS stations, the digital conversion of over 300 local stations, and infrastructure to support the Wireless Emergency Alert System. He also launched the “American Archive” media digitization project, grew support for children’s educational programming and protected the editorial independence of public media producers. National Journal’s Policy Council recognized his work in 2006 case studies.
In the mobile space, John was elected to the founding board executive committee of the Open Mobile Video Coalition and served as executive director of the Mobile500 Alliance of over 50 TV station groups. He also served as executive vice president of the 60-station ION Media Networks.
His experience in emergency communications dates to 2001. At APTS, John led field testing of the first packetize digital emergency alerts, a precursor of the U.S. Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, created post-9/11. With LG, PBS, Harris Broadcast (now GatesAir), and other companies, John pioneered the development of the Mobile Emergency Alert System (M-EAS), which was adopted as an open standard in 2013, and which is the basis for the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN), built on the next-generation broadcasting standard, ATSC 3.0.
John has been appointed by three different FCC chairmen to serve on three different homeland security advisory committees. He also served on the board of the National Association of Broadcasters from 2009-2010 and the board of the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training in the late 1990’s. He earned BA and MA degrees in International Studies at the University of South Carolina and was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2006.
For additional background on John’s career, please visit his LinkedIn profile page.
Fiona James became Project Director for Convergence Services, Inc. in February 2012. Along with managing client engagement, Fiona provides expert analysis, research, and communications on a range of issues, including the upcoming FCC spectrum auctions. An effective spokeswoman and presenter, Fiona has represented the Mobile500 Alliance and its MyDTV mobile television app at major trade shows, supported CSI’s work with the Mobile EAS project (now AWARN), and provided extensive research for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Archive Transition Project.
A native of Scotland, Fiona’s experience includes education, arts administration, and business, and she worked as a technical sales adviser for Britain’s BSkyB during the satellite operator’s conversion from analog to digital. Fiona is an accomplished Pilates and yoga instructor, who brings her focus on technique and motivation to her consulting role for CSI. Her diverse skill-set is well-suited to Convergence Services’ goals of exceptional client relations, making connections across industries and countries, and using innovative approaches to produce results.
In addition to client projects, Fiona leads marketing efforts for CSI.