The first thing that struck me about IBC this year is that unlike the previous two years, there were no glaring next big thing or hyped-up technology. Compare this to last years 3D and the previous years HD buzzwords. This is a very good thing. Everyone seems to be just getting on with the business […]
The first thing that struck me about IBC this year is that unlike the previous two years, there were no glaring next big thing or hyped-up technology. Compare this to last years 3D and the previous years HD buzzwords. This is a very good thing. Everyone seems to be just getting on with the business of technology rather than technology for technologys sake. Not even the word mobile was over advertised this year!
Also, there seemed to be a prevailing sense of quiet urgency and genuine willingness to do business, rather than the traditional snobbishness and arrogance that has sometimes been apparent in previous years. These are all definite signs of a market that is maturing and this has to be good for everyone as more value, application and flexibility is squeezed out of products and services.
Compared to last year, I noticed that a number of technologies that were traditionally purely the parlance of the large, high-tech suppliers were now being offered by younger, nimbler, much more cost-effective players. And when you speak to them, you really get a feeling that they know what they are talking about.
For example, take scheduling and playout systems. Channel in a box, scheduling and playout solutions at $3,000 that run on a quad core desktop PC and a $500 capture card are as feature rich as the solutions that cost $75,000+.
Sure they may not be as resilient or scalable (yet!), but as the market matures and the products become more commoditised, the costs will continue to fall and features will be further enriched. This leaves the big players to add more value and again, thats good for everyone. I saw similar changes in a whole range of software solutions, from compliance through to workflow.
Like many others, I attend IBC not only to re-establish relationships with existing customers and suppliers, but to see whats new and to scout for new solutions to solve particular technical issues for projects on which I am working. We have customers who require compliance logging and the creation of on-demand files from the satellite channels that we acquire and stream for them. I was surprised at the number of high-quality and cost-effective solutions that are available, from about $3,000 for a one-channel solution. Just three years ago, you would have had to spend 10 times that!
Another example that illustrates why its so important to stay current with new (and old) suppliers was probably the most welcome and surprising of IBC for me. Wowza is an outfit that did the unthinkable take on the might of Adobe, and win! They provide an alternative to setting up a streaming / CDN infrastructure, rather than using more expensive Adobe Flash servers. I also noticed that Wowza has teamed up with Amazon EC2, not only providing absolute flexibility to their customers, but serving as an excellent example of the Cloud Broadcasting concept.
As always, the Sony and BlackMagic stands were abuzz with energy. There were two great gadgets that I remember one was a portable SatCom uplink terminal by Eversat that fits perfectly on the back of my Vespa scooter, and the other the amazing new little Tivo box.
The one thing that struck me as noticeably absent was the representation by Middle East companies at the show this year. I am not talking about the likes of ArabSat who always exhibit. There is a wealth of experience and superior technology know-how in the Middle East and its about time that this was flaunted in Europe. I would like to see the young innovative, forward thinking companies flaunting their excellence in the European market place. So what am I expecting to see different next year?
I predict that the broadcast industry in general will start to look at the whole Broadcasting in the Cloud concept with greater depth. I suspect that there will be a greater leverage of the Internet to provide services, collaboration, connecting workflow and people and allowing scalability. The acid test here will be what function do I need? Can I do this better and cheaper on the internet?
If you are convinced that this does not apply to you, then I challenge you to look at what you do and see what elements of it can be ported to the cloud. In the worst case, your answer is none of it or all of it!
That means in 18 months, you will not have a business. The trick is to use the internet to enhance and add value, make things easier for your clients and foster ease of workflow and communication. If you can achieve that you will be onto something special and will win business away from the traditional market leaders.