IBC Through the Eyes of a First-Timer and a Veteran
[Editor's note: If you're interested in reading more about the highlights of IBC, check out Tim Siglin's article here.)
Well, I lost my IBC virginity last weekend and it put a smile on my face throughout the experience. Not that I really saw much of the conference-I saw so many folks from StreamingMediaGlobal.com advanced list/community I could have been fooled into thinking it was a Streaming Media conference!
For what its worth-and for those of you who didn't make it-here's a few moments and musings of interest:
Culture of Openness
iStreamPlanet, Interxion, and Microsoft had an awe inspiring side event (moderated by Streaming Media's own Tim Siglin) where some very big players such as BBC, Akamai, and Turner talked with many of their peers extremely openly. This emphasised to me the culture of horizontal engagement that Europe fosters-a lot of people from the U.S. commented that some mindshare time with like-minded "competitors" (I prefer "peers") was a nice break from simply beating on each other. Maybe it stems from having a lot of historical borders over here? Or perhaps I don't understand "beating on each other" and its actually a friendly act!?
The 3D Hype
Broadly, nobody on the floor was demonstrating anything awe-inspiring. 3D was everywhere, but somehow it didn't look right when passing a stand without 3D glasses. To the naked eye, endless stands of blurry, out-of-focus pictures look slightly odd at an event with a focus on pushing the boundaries of video delivery .
Demonstration or Demolition?
In our sector (I'll be posting some "proper" articles in time) I saw two appalling demos of technology given by some well known companies, who shall remain nameless. Folks, if you are doing a demo, DO plan something that doesn't require excuses about the local Wi-Fi and 3G and so on-or frankly just DON'T do a demo. Have a side event hour at the end of each day in a local hotel with stable satellite/TV/ 3G etc., so people can be properly impressed in controlled environments. Bad demos are easy to remember for all the wrong reasons.
Talk Isn't Cheap
A lot of the streaming people were verbally promoting a lot of really interesting forthcoming tech. Andy Beach's Seawell tech is looking ace, and as always so is Charlie Good's latest innovation on the Wowza platform. And it's good to know open-sourcer Arjen Wagenaar (CodeShop) is giving Chris Knowlton (Microsoft) a good run for his money!!! My nomination for word of the conference was "transmuxing." I look forward to more at Streaming Media Europe and Streaming Media West.
Connected Video Wasn't Connected
The streaming tech providers' stands where very dispersed, and being an IBC virgin, I wasn't sure if that's because IBC is only now kind of getting their head around IPTV, and "connected TV" is as far as they have gotten. Some companies were simply miles from their peers and not in the Connected TV space. Some of these locations made sense for one reason or another, but there's clearly some way to go for the broadcast industry to feel comfort letting the "internet guys" have a seat with elbow room at the table. Indeed I picked Tim Siglin up for describing streaming as "the bastard child of broadcast" and asked why he wasn't describing broadcast as "the cranky old fat uncle of streaming"?!
The Advanced List
A load of folks talked to me about the advanced list: Lots of folks clearly get more from it than other tech forums; one comment that stood out for me was "we love all the conjecture." It made them think outside the box and saw it as a creative pollination place for ideas. Another was talking about the Streaming Media "community" having a growing identity as a key group they wanted to participate with for ideas exchange. Also memorable one was one person's comment about being a fan of the odd scraps. (What could he possible have meant?!)
Just for Laughs
And ill chuckle thinking of 'roadshows' and reflecting on Streaming Media publisher Joel Unickow's canal-karaoke skills late in the night after his and Sjoerd Vogt's excellent floating mystery cartel meeting (wait till you see the photos on the next page:), not to mention Bill Gash from Ooyala fishing a fully dressed lady out of the canals, and Amy from TwoFour rescuing a bewildered Karl (TwoFour) by smiling at a ring of half a dozen drunk thugs in a club with perfect timing! If she hadn't I'd have needed to call George Fraser's team from Limelight out of the bar round the corner for backup.
So as I face a few more weeks before the roadshow gets to London I feel nicely warmed up for Streaming Media Europe. And don't forget the new Content Delivery Summit they asked me to programme on the day before; we have some amazing sessions there too, for the hardcore delivery fans (no, not delivery of hardcore...). We're focusing it on round table, outward-looking peer discussions as far as possible-no soap boxes!-so it will be participatory and interesting..
(Oh and you cheapskates: the SM Europe expo is FREEEEEE to attend—so come anyway, even if you can't raise the game to attend the sessions. As you can see, with this crowd, theres always much more than just exhibition stands and formal conversations. Maybe it's something in the water!!)
Click here to see Joel Unickow's take on IBC...and the photo evidence!
If there's any buzz word for IBC 2010, it's 3D. But will it make it beyond the television set?
In addition to the buzz surrounding 3D and augmented reality, expect to see more exhibitors and conference content focusing on IPTV, mobile TV, and digital signage at this year's IBC in Amsterdam.