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BroadcastAsia 2024: Redefining tech for a better future, beware of data poisoning

By Shirish Nadkarni

This is the time of year when the entire broadcast industry, including broadcasters, broadcast solution providers and content creators, gears up to demonstrate the latest in equipment and services to clients in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Hard on the heels of the recently concluded NAB 2024 convention in Las Vegas, the most important broadcast trade show in Asia-Pacific will be held at the sprawling Singapore Expo from May 29 to 31. The three-day extravaganza, which has “Redefining tech for a better future” as its central theme; it will also feature the second Asia Pacific Broadcasting Awards that seek to recognise innovation and excellence in the broadcasting industry on the evening of May 30.

As the premier meeting and networking place for Asia’s broadcasters, media and entertainment (M&E) professionals, BroadcastAsia is part of Asia Tech x Singapore, the region’s flagship tech festival, organised by Informa Tech and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore. 

The event encompasses BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia, SatelliteAsia, TechxLR8, InnovFest x Elevating Founders, and the ATxEnterprise latest addition to its line-up of anchor events — the AI Summit Singapore.

Singapore, the traditional location of BroadcastAsia, is a thriving hub for innovation in Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is sought to be showcased at the region’s most prestigious broadcast trade show. Singapore’s forward-thinking approach led to the release of an AI blueprint in 2019; and it has been recognised by Google Cloud for its “very high” potential to become a global hub. 

The recently updated Singapore’s National AI Strategy 2.0, unveiled in December 2023, commits more than SG$1 billion to AI development over the next five years. To ensure responsible use and consumer safety, Singapore has established the AI Verify framework, which governs the integration of AI in both private and public sectors.

ATxEnterprise (May 29-31), organised by Informa Tech and hosted at Singapore EXPO, will feature conferences and exhibition marketplaces catering to B2B enterprises across the technology, broadcast media, info-comm, satellite communications, and start-ups.

This year’s BroadcastAsia attracts more than 630 exhibitors, from global names to smaller dynamic companies, including country pavilions from China, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Singapore, Spain, US/Canada and UK. 

Different areas in the exhibition halls cater to broadcasters, broadcast solution providers and content creators. Broadcasters will gain insights on industry and technology trends impacting Asia’s broadcast and media landscape, and can network and reconnect with industry peers to discuss the future of broadcast and the strategies to move forward.

The exhibition will provide a good source of information on the latest broadcast and media technologies from vendors worldwide.

For broadcast solution providers, there will be an opportunity to understand the impact of the evolving media ecosystem and consolidation on their business, and also to meet and network with key decision-makers within the industry as well as to  understand broadcast and media investment trends in APAC.

Content creators would get insights on how virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and other new technologies are creating new content experiences. They could find out the latest creative production technologies that are set to transform the broadcast industry, and discuss content monetisation models that work in Asia.

The show features concurrent conferences on all three days. Among the most interesting topics up for discussion on the morning of the opening day (May 29) are: 

•  “Revolutionising over-the-top (OTT) services in Asia: Localised approach to global success”, being handled by Japan’s Obema TV, with Mayuko Yamazaki and Tomohisa Nomura.

•  “Keeping content secure in APAC and beyond”, by Kari Grubin, of Motion Picture Association Trusted Partner, and addressing APAC’s security readiness in the face of growing cybercrime.

The afternoon session on the first day of BroadcastAsia features a session on “AI and Cloud – a world of possibilities”, which has three presentations, of which the one on “5G, Ultra HD, Cloud and AI’s impact on Sports broadcasting” by Jianping Zhu of QD Broadcast Technology appears the most engaging.

The subsequent session raises the question: “Where is Southeast Asia in terms of IP2110 and NDI adoption?” Dennis Breckenridge of Elevate Broadcast surveys the current landscape, regional trends and challenges of IP and NDI adoption in Southeast Asia.

Among the interesting topics in the afternoon session on May 30 of the conference is one that does a crossover between BroadcastAsia and CommunicAsia: “When DVB1 meets 5G – How interworking networks will underpin migration to sustainable media delivery”. Emily Dubs of DVB will examine optimising mobile networks for media delivery with the use of 5G Broadcast or 5G New Radio. There are bound to be new content monetisation opportunities for both.

Meanwhile, funding for AI experiments continues to flow, with AI software expenditure expected to top $297 billions by 2027, growing at a compound rate of 19% year-on-year. This is examined in depth on the second day of the conference.

Cleansing of data is being considered increasingly essential. Failure to cleanse data can result in damaged reputation, customer loyalty issues, and legal repercussions due to inaccurate information provided by chatbots. 

Setting aside damaged reputation and customer loyalty, companies that neglect to cleanse their data may also face costly legal repercussions when their chatbots provide inaccurate information regarding discounts and refunds. It is crucial to consider that while 75% of businesses are developing AI-powered applications, only a few truly understand how to implement them safely and effectively.

During the show, broadcasters should take the opportunity to look for companies that provide equipment to counter data poisoning, a relatively new threat in the broadcast industry.

Data poisoning is an adversarial attack that involves manipulating training datasets by injecting poisoned data. In this way, an attacker can control the model, and any AI system trained on that model will deliver false results.

In order to manipulate the behaviour of the trained machine learning (ML) model and provide false results, data poisoning entails adding malicious or poisoned data into training datasets.

How are data poisoning attacks carried out? 

If an AI tool is trained with an incorrect dataset, it is not going to know what it needs to know. The systems will take any injected datasets as valid inputs, incorporating that data into their system rules. This creates a path for attackers to pollute the data and compromise the whole system. Thus, broadcasters will have to look for companies that can protect their precious data from attacks by poisoners.

Finally, there is the question of quantity and quality of visitors coming to the Singapore Expo during the three days of the exhibition. According to the convenors of the exhibition, at least 9,520 visitors are expected to attend BroadcastAsia 2024.

While hectic preparations are gearing up to welcome Asian broadcast and media professionals, some exhibitors are bemoaning the fact that BroadcastAsia had been cut down from four days in the pre-COVID era, to three days. “It becomes very expensive to cart all the equipment down for just three days, of which the second half of the third day is wasted in winding-up operations,” said a regular exhibitor. “We really like to have a four-day event, without the organisers making it proportionately more expensive by way of booth rentals.”

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