All Eyes on London: A Look Ahead to Streaming Media Europe
The biggest online video show of the year will soon take over the Olympia Conference Centre. Get a preview of the names and topics that will make up Streaming Media Europe 2012, then learn about the new Video Infrastructure Summit.
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Streaming Media Europe will once again take over the Olympia Conference Centre in London this October, with a programme focussed squarely on the most important topics in online video and an enhanced emphasis on presentations designed to offer attendees a deeper look at the issues that affect their businesses on a daily basis.

Our opening keynotes set the stage for the rest of the programme by taking a wide view. On Tuesday, 16 October, attendees will hear from Sidharth Jayant, content services manager for Samsung Electronics Europe, about Samsung's connected TV and app store strategy, as well as the challenges facing television and device manufacturers trying to bring the most popular content to consumers via over-the-top delivery to the living room.

On Wednesday, 17 October, we'll get a detailed look at how the BBC managed to offer 24 live HD streams of 2,500 hours of Olympic content to the U.K. audience. Jane Weedon, director of future media for the BBC, is responsible for the BBC's digital media partnership strategy, working with device manufacturers, platforms, and social networks to make products such as the iPlayer available on multiple devices. She worked extensively with these partners to deliver the London 2012 experience to viewers on four screens. She'll offer a breakdown of how the Olympic experience played out, likely with a dose of humour -- she's a stand-up comedian in her spare time.

As for the rest of the programme, if you take a look at the agenda, you'll notice a positive shift from previous years' events. While we'll still offer our fair share of panel discussions, bringing together industry experts to offer their insights on topics such as multiscreen delivery, social TV, second-screen viewing, and webcasting, the feedback from attendees has indicated less interest in "blue sky" theorising and a desire for more practical-focused presentations.

The programme features how-to sessions on encoding for HTML5 and iOS devices, using Windows Azure Media Services and Adobe Primetime, selecting enterprise-grade transcoders and encoders, as well as a session comparing three leading multiformat servers: Adobe Media Server, Real Helix Server, and Wowza Media Server. Other sessions will examine best practices for branded content, monetising video on multiple screens, and driving viewership and engagement.

Our panel discussions will also be more practical in nature, shedding light on crucial technological and business issues such as quality of service/quality of experience, implementing successful social TV strategies, and using cellular link aggregators and other mobile technology to deliver live video from the field.

Once again, we'll also be offering two preconference workshops on Monday, 15 October. Encoding expert Jan Ozer will offer a 3-hour deep dive into Encoding for Flash, Mobile, and HTML5. Attendees will learn how to encode H.264 for HTML5 distribution and streaming to iOS and other mobile devices, as well as how to encode it for Flash (including live, on-demand, and RTMP) and HTTP-based adaptive streaming. For WebM, Ozer will cover the basics of on-demand streaming, plus get a look at live WebM encoders. Finally, he'll discuss how the various H.264 and WebM encoding tools compare in regards to performance, quality, and features.

Our second preconference workshop will feature mobile video and social media maven Jose Castillo presenting Live Streaming From Anywhere to Any Device. Businesses and organisations of all sizes are using live online video for events, newsgathering, training, and brand building. With streaming devices and services for every budget, it can be hard to select the best options for your needs. In this hands-on workshop, Castillo will explore some practical and cost-effective solutions to start streaming live video now. Using services such as Livestream, Ustream, and Bambuser along with a variety of tools from mobile phones to cellular multiplexers, attendees will learn how to capture, share, and syndicate content to PC, mobile, tablet, and over-the-top devices.

Monday, 15 October, will also feature the Video Infrastructure Summit, which has grown out of the last 2 years' successful Content Delivery Summit events. See the sidebar by event chair Dom Robinson for more about the summit.

Finally, on Tuesday, 16 October, we will once again hold a networking reception in the exhibit hall, offering time to meet with exhibitors over drinks and find out the winners of the 2012 European Readers' Choice Awards. The keynotes and exhibit hall are free to attend.

You can sign up for any and all of the Streaming Media Europe events online. See you in London!

Introducing the Video Infrastructure Summit

By Dom Robinson, Chair, Video Infrastructure Summit

For the last 2 years, we've held the Content Delivery Summit in London, building off the successful events Dan Rayburn has hosted at Streaming Media East in New York. But our event has grown organically into something quite different from the U.S. event, and different from similar-named events in London. Rather than focussing narrowly on content delivery networks, our London event has been more of a peer discussion of opportunities and challenges faced at every step in the content delivery chain.

So this year, we're renaming the event: it's now called the Video Infrastructure Summit. It will once again sit alongside the main Streaming Media Europe event, held at the Hilton London Olympia (a stone's throw from the Olympia Conference Centre). It will continue to be a central hub for conversations looking at all aspects of the video distribution ecosystem.

We continue to avoid any emphasis on vendor pitches and "death by PowerPoint"; instead, we will focus on providing a platform for discussion around the key pain points in the industry, examining the micro and macro trends in the space. While discussions tend to be fundamentally commercial, we also are never shy about allowing debates about technical issues to run their course.

This is very much an event where the delegates get involved, and our presenters and panellists are seen as catalysts to spur on the discussion and stimulate thought, rather than simply "sell an idea."

This year we are going to focus on movies and long-form content, and our opening keynote -- from Maria Ingold, who architected the VOD solution for the Disney/Sony venture FilmFlex Movies -- will look at the real-world infrastructure challenges of forming an online movie business and delivering the content to the subscribers. Our second keynote features the Motion Picture Association's Ted Shapiro, who will give attendees a "big picture" view about the MPA's members' -- i.e., the studios' -- perspective as this new market emerges.

We are also going to have a prelunch section focusing on piracy and anti-piracy, with a talk about the scale and commercial models in place for piracy, why it happens, and exactly how much goes on, along with a discussion about anti-piracy techniques and technologies.

After a networking lunch, the day will progress through our two annual panel sessions. The first of these will be Infrastructure Trends, looking at all aspects of delivery from the international telecoms' strategies through to device strategy. This is followed by our annual panel consisting of the major media server vendors -- including Adobe, Microsoft, and RealNetworks -- where we look at the latest features they are offering and the demands placed on them by their clients.

We'll close the day with a presentation and workshop all about MPEG-DASH from Microsoft's John Simmons, one of the key instigators behind the forthcoming standard.

So the scene is once again set for some deep discussions, and the day will be unhurried, relatively informal, and participatory.

We look forward to your input!

This article appeared in the autumn 2012 issue of Streaming Media, European Edition.