6 Things to Watch Out For at IBC

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One of the things that has always kept IBC relevant and very much at the forefront of broadcast industry tradeshows is its ability to innovate. Each year it is slightly different from the previous iteration, and the 2019 edition is no exception. The main logistical change is that the conference and the exhibition are now aligned, both starting on the same 13 September date and finishing on 17 September. It's an acknowledgement that people today have limited spare time, and so construct their Amsterdam schedule in an increasingly targeted manner.

With that in mind, here's how you can target your time at the RAI more efficiently with six things to see and do at the show.

The Conference

It's one of those things that gets mentioned every year, but the IBC Conference's reputation as a forum where the future of the industry is discussed, and even in some cases decided, is well-deserved. It not only reflects the changes the industry is undergoing, but it attempts to chart the roadmap to the future as well in five new tracks which each have a different daily focus on different parts of the media content chain. 

Under the theme Consumers First: A New Era in Media, each track includes Tech Talks presenting the latest technical papers and in-depth discussion, while the Global Gamechangers Stages feature just that: the key innovators and thought leaders who are shaping and disrupting the industry around them.

The five Consumers First: A New Era in Media tracks are as follows:

Create & Produce: Creating Disruption offers insights into new technologies and concepts including interactivity and 8K production. 

Manage: Automating Media Supply Chains looks at AI and other new technologies that can create more successful media supply chains. 

Publish: Embracing the Platform Revolution presents new business models that are disrupting the industry.

Consume: Engaging Consumer Experiences delves into consumer consumption habits and next-gen fan engagement.

Monetise: Scaling Audiences and Revenues shines a light on brands as broadcasters and new models of advertising.

Reflecting the way OTT has affected the industry in recent years, you can find streaming-specific content in each of the tracks. 

The IBC Esports Showcase

One of the things IBC has always done very well is gauge the temperature of different market segments of the industry. If a special area pops up on the show floor, it usually means that it's an area the industry should be paying attention to, and the latest in the long line of successful special areas is the IBC Esports Showcase.

As the coverage of the recent Fortnite World Cup proved, esports is big business, with one billion being a key number. This is not only the amount of revenue forecast for the sector in 2019, but it is also the recently forecast number of the size of the audience, approximately double that of the global audience for Formula One.

Powered by ESL, Lagardère, and EVS, the showcase will feature a full esports tournament staged in the Auditorium, demonstrating the size and scale of a typical event when two professional teams from ESL's National Championships in Germany and Spain will go head-to-head on Counter-Strike. The showcase also will present a series of esports-focused scene-setters, panels, keynotes, and interviews to make sure IBC attendees get a complete picture of the shape of the growing market and the multiple opportunities it represents. 

IBC Content Everywhere Hub

The Content Everywhere Hub in Hall 14 combines a dedicated high-quality exhibition with features specifically designed to help visitors expand their knowledge and understanding of the latest trends, strategies, and developments in online TV and video. One of the ways it does that best is by offering a series of theatre presentations that cover all facets of the segment, from SaaS-based forensic watermarking to the importance of the user experience to the role AI can play in QA and compliance. It's detailed, it's specific, and, to anyone involved in the business of streaming media, it's also essential.

The Big Screen

The Big Screen, set in the Auditorium at the centre of the RAI, features the very latest in cinema projection and sound equipment. There is some interesting specific content from a streaming perspective this year too as, among the sessions and screenings that cover everything from David Attenborough to Toy Story 4, there is an exclusive showing ofthe Game of Thrones episode "The Long Night."

This, of course, is the famous "dark" episode that triggered heated debate about the quality of streaming services in the U.S. market in particular. Being able to watch it on the Big Screen—as intended by the creative team that produced it—is going to be a popular event. Add in some key creatives providing insight into the production of the show, and you have an unmissable session. 

Media-Telecom Convergence Catalyst

This is an intriguing one and a brand-new collaboration between IBC and the TM Forum. Visitors are going to see three unique catalyst projects on the show floor, showcasing open innovation between the telecoms and media industries. Participation from Al Jazeera, Associated Press, BBC R&D, RTÉ, and others will show how 5G, AI, and big data management can solve business and technology challenges and improve the customer experience.

Here are the three projects highlighted in the Media-Telecom Convergence Catalyst:

  • A 5G-enabled tourism experience, championed by Aardman Entertainment and BBC R&D, and developed with Bristol University, Cambridge Communications Systems, and Zeetta Networks
  • AI indexing for regulatory content management, championed by Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and RTÉ, with technical participation from Metaliquid, QCRSI, Tech Mahindra, and V-Nova
  • Mobile newsgathering using AI-powered compression, again championed by Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and RTÉ, working with V-Nova

The IBC Awards

Finally, the IBC Awards ceremony will take place on the Sunday of the show as usual (15 September this year), and two new awards have been introduced to reflect the way the industry is changing. The IBC2019 Young Pioneer Award will go to someone under 30 who has carved out a role combining excellence and leadership, whether technical, commercial, or creative. The second new award focuses on social responsibility, both corporate and individual, with a judging panel looking at entries which focus on diversity and inclusivity, on environmental matters, and on ethical leadership.

There's more, of course. From the Future Zone to the 1,700 exhibitors spread across the 15Halls of the massive RAI complex, it's difficult to summarise the show in a handful of words. But perhaps it's worth concluding with what has not changed this year, and that's that IBC is a global event that remains at the crossroads of an industry undergoing rapid change. 55,000 people visit every year from all corners of globe, providing unmatched networking opportunities as they do. For a show that features so much new, cutting-edge technology, it still very much manages to be all about the people.

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