IBC Review

The 50th IBC show closed a little over a week ago, the stands have been dismantled, the crowds departed and the Christy Media team are all back in the office, busy following up after the show.

We walked miles around the RAI, shook hundreds of hands and caught up with many of our contacts in the bars of Amsterdam over the 4 evenings at the show, with the Old Bell pub deserving a special mention!  We welcomed lots of visitors to our stand and we would like to thank everyone that made the time to stop and have a chat with us.

So, what was “hot” at IBC this year?

IP was, as ever in recent years, a very hot topic.  IP based systems offer scalability, flexibility and resilience and the industry has now embraced the technology, with widespread enthusiasm expressed across the exhibition for IP based solutions.

An expert panel of media company heads were tasked by IBC with assessing the latest technology trends at the show.  Their verdict was that AR (augmented reality) and AI are now on the ascendant and VR (virtual reality) appeared to be less popular at this year’s show.

The panel suggested that VR (virtual reality) has definite issues that make it a less attractive proposition than AR, whilst proponents of VR have admitted that the uptake of the technology has been hampered by consumer perception of the technology being “isolationist”.  Consumers have been slow to uptake VR technology as VR headsets are often bulky and expensive, single user items and those consumers who are early adopters have also experienced issues linking hardware with content.  AR is of interest because it will work with existing technology, so there is less of a barrier for end users and hence more possibilities for broadcasters to utilise the technology to create more immersive, and therefore potentially lucrative, viewing experiences.

Another exciting technology identified by the panel was Voice UI, which broadcasters feel will offer exciting new ways to bring viewers closer to their content, when combined with the increasing prevalence of AI in smart devices around the home.  Consumers have surprised the industry with the very positive uptake of devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, which suggests that the viewing public are keen to explore voice activated devices and applications.  Steve Plunkett, CTO of Ericsson’s Media and Broadcast Services, declared, “I think voice will become the most pervasive ordinary interactive technology we will see”.

Other themes that we noticed at the show included:

  • Monetisation and management of content
  • Parallel distribution possibilities for consumers
  • Storage solutions for high resolution content
  • IT Security

When the Christy Media Solutions team were asked what they were most impressed by at the show, a clear winner was Timeline’s UHD IPTV truck on the SAM stand, the first uncompressed IP 4K HDR truck in Europe.  A triple expanding OB truck, UHD2 displayed a range of SAM technology that included: Kahuna IP production switchers and IP Multiviewers, with SAM’s IP infrastructure technology providing the backbone.  Also on display in the truck was SAM’s LiveTouch 4K/UHD replay, with its highlights system, used for demonstrations. UHD2 seamlessly handles fully uncompressed 4K/UHD, IP and HDR and with comments like, “very cool” and “to see all the kit fitted in to such a small, mobile space was amazing”, most of our team managed to stop and explore the truck while they were at the show.

The 2017 IBC awards celebrated the pursuit of science and creativity, with Dolby receiving this year’s IBC International Honour for Excellence for its ground-breaking ATMOS sound system and BT Sport receiving an Innovation Award for its Champions’ League coverage.  Other Innovation Awards were made to Voot for its new, low impact, VoD platform for smart phones and Groupe Media TFO for its pioneering use of the Unreal gaming engine, creating virtual worlds for its children’s programming.

For more on the show, here’s some links to the IBC website where you can catch up on all the IBC news and watch IBC’s VOD from the show.

Post-show there has been talk within the industry about whether the show really needs to be 5 days, and it’s true that the last day of the show is always a lot quieter in terms of footfall.  At the time of writing however, the show will be 5 days again in 2018, and the dates for next year’s IBC are as follows:

Conference: 13–17 September 2018.   Exhibition: 14–18 September 2018.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

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