An Industry Welcomes Itself Back, Amsterdam Style
The hearty souls who have attended Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona or the NAB Show in Las Vegas over the past year have had a front-row seat to an industry emerging from its living rooms and spare bedrooms to help further the cause of pushing more content into the living rooms of the rest of us.
Even in Europe, where the IBC show is normally the autumn counter-balance to spring’s NAB Show, the balance was a bit off last year: first, NAB rescheduled from April to October, then cancelled altogether, citing rising COVID-19 case counts; then IBC rescheduled from September to December and held on through a nail-biter decisioning process in which the Netherlands as a whole—and Amsterdam in particular—tried to balance whether or not to allow large indoor gatherings like IBC in its RAI venue.
In the end, IBC attempted to move forward at a much smaller scale, with strict regulations in place using a “protected zone” that included a perimeter fence surrounding the entire RAI complex. Attendees were to enter via two checkpoints, and the flow of traffic was ostensibly one-directional.
In the end, though, Dutch authorities made the decision to limit indoor gatherings to a level that made even a scaled-down IBC 2021 an impossibility.
Which leads us into 2022, with anticipation mounting for this year’s IBC. After a reasonable-size crowd at the April 2022 NAB event in Las Vegas (by most estimates, about half of normal attendee count), we’ve had smaller events take place—including our own Streaming Media East 2022, held in Boston—from May onward that seem to have returned to normal.
And, indeed, it’s that “normal” IBC that the industry is craving: getting together at scale in a city that’s been devoid of large events for almost 3 years.
As a way of celebrating a normal IBC this year, a number of organisations—including CDN Alliance, Greening of Streaming, Streaming Video Technology Alliance, and Women in Streaming Media—are offering meetups to get together.
One such event taking place on Sept. 11, 2022, is the Streamers Meet Up, which will be held outdoors at the Beach next to the RAI canal, featuring hosts from all four organisations listed above.
The hosts have asked for help spreading the word that “After three long years, we can’t wait to get back to IBC and see familiar faces from across the world.” We’re delighted to do our part to help with that.
One final thought to leave our audience with, though: while, historically, a normal IBC has meant multiple tens of thousands of us experiencing both the newest in technology and also the famous Dutch hospitality, it has been 3 years since the city saw this level of attendance at an RAI exhibit.
So, a word of contemplation is in order: unlike Vegas, Amsterdam is a city that’s not tourist-driven. To drive that point home, several changes have been implemented in the city—at least when it comes to tourists crowding the streets—which has allowed locals to enjoy their city again. Hence, IBC attendees would do well to tread lightly and set an example for other trade shows held throughout the city for the remainder of 2022.
In other words, enjoy, celebrate, and be mindful. Dank u vel!
Hybrid in-person and digital event set for September 10-13, with the RAI on hold for the first week of December as a backup.
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IBC CEO Michael Crimp cites "many unknowns" and concerns over exhibitor and attendee safety in decision to pull the plug on the event, scheduled for September 11-14 in Amsterdam