5 Trends for IBC – by Per Lindgren, co-founder and SVP Strategy & Business Development

5 Trends for IBC

By Per Lindgren, co-founder and senior vice president strategy & Business Development

This will be my 19th IBC. It’s always interesting to follow the hype cycle and see if last year’s “next big thing” has arrived or vanished. But more interesting to me, is to try and spot the dark horses. The things people will be talking about two years from now.

Here are my thoughts on trends to look out for at IBC 2015.

The rise and rise of live

As audiences are flooded with time-shifted content, live events are increasingly important to earn their loyalty. But as competition tightens, broadcasters are looking for ways to streamline their operations and do more with less. As the reliability of live contribution over IP ­– even over the public Internet ­­– has grown, remote production has become an increasingly hot topic.

It lets broadcasters maximize live content by sending fewer resources to the event and making the most of the talent at their central studio. This means a lot more content for the same budget. For example, we already have a customer who quadrupled the amount of live content they could create for the same budget. Remote production will also help turn studios into more distributed and virtualized environments.

More cloud means a clearer view

As production workflows become more automated and virtualized, modular production becomes possible. This will let broadcasters focus on content and outsource non-core activities such as graphics and voiceovers. With Customer Provisioned Networks, the same principle can be applied to network resource provisioning.

While Software Defined Networking (SDN) will still be just a buzzword for many at IBC, we are already using it to enable customers to provision their own network requirements. Together with ScheduALL, we offer a fully integrated Customer Provisioned Networking solution via The Switch. But this is just the first step. Have a chat to us at IBC about Application Provisioned Networks – fully automated and integrated network provisioning.

4K almost ready for kick off

Three days after IBC ends, the world’s 4th largest sporting event kicks off in 4K. The Rugby World Cup will be delivered in 4K. But with the exception of large sports events, I think it would be an exaggeration to say 4K has arrived. While 4K televisions have reached consumer-friendly prices and given vendors something to talk about, 4K content is not yet widely available and we are still waiting for the big ramp-up from broadcasters.

That is not to say 4K isn’t having a big impact for broadcasters. It is the prime catalyst driving IP-in-the-studio. The format-neutrality and scalability that comes with upgrading for 4K makes a compelling case for broadcasters to finally replace SDI in the studio. It also a good reason for broadcasters to look at remote production. 4K- and 8K-enabled video interfaces allow a single centralized upgrade rather than having to upgrade entire fleets of OB vans.

Security just got real

Often in technology, the focus is first on getting it to work, then on making it safe. Our industry is coming to this point now. The Sony cyber attack showed that it is not just content, but reputations that are at risk.

With all the benefits that come with IP / file-based workflows, there also come security challenges. Meeting these requires not just technical solutions, but also a behavioral shift from those who are used to the closed system of SDI. For our part, we have built security into our products. But a lot of people at IBC will be looking for answers as to how they can protect the other parts of their contribution and distribution chains.

Everyone wants to engage

At events like IBC, it is important not to get too carried away with the technology and lose sight of the audience. What do they want? What’s going to earn their loyalty and reward?

Broadcasters are increasingly looking for ways to offer interactivity that builds engagement with their audience. Multi-screen or multi-platform content delivery is currently a key trend in the broadcast industry. There will undoubtedly be new and interesting ways to do this on display at IBC, particularly in the mobile space and second screen applications. But so far, OTT and the second screen haven’t reached the holy grail of true user interactivity. Let’s hope this will be the year for such a revolution.

 

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