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IBC 2023: Mission critical to comprehend and embrace artificial intelligence & machine learning

By Shirish Nadkarni

The world’s most iconic broadcast industry exhibition, IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) is all set to open in style at its traditional home at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre on Friday, 15 September, and run until Monday, 18 September.

The main theme of the Show is “Transforming media” by:

  • Changing expectations — where the future of the media and entertainment industry is defined and actioned.
  • Changing conversations — where exhibitors from around the globe showcase game-changing innovations.
  • Changing perceptions — bringing the most influential thought leaders and media brands together for ground-breaking discussions.

“Our objective is to energise the market, enable content everywhere, inspire new conversations, deliver innovation and empower people,” said IBC Conference host Sasha Twining, who will deliver the welcome address to delegates on the opening day of the conference. 

According to the organisers, this year’s show will be at least 20% larger than it was last year. Twining reveals that Halls 3 and 4, which were closed last year, have been reopened, and 45,000 square metres of show floor space are being utilised. “Virtually all our exhibitors of the 2022 Show are back this year, and we are also pleased to have 120 new, first-time exhibitors,” Twining added. 

“Our IBC Premium offers a programme of structured networking activities, including networking breakfasts, content-led roundtables and access to an exclusive lounge where you can have meaningful conversations and open up new relationships to help you grow and develop your business.”

Not surprisingly, the spotlight will be on artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and on the free-to-attend presentation in Hall 3 towards the end of the first day of the conference by Dr. Jack Gao, chairman of the ZEASN Global Strategic Committee and CEO of Smart Cinema, ZEASN. Among his exalted past postings are former President of Microsoft China Co and Interim CEO of Hollywood Legendary Pictures.

“AI has the capability to transform traditional smart TV experiences into personalised and intuitive journeys for users,” said Dr. Gao. “Driven by ML algorithms and data-driven insights, AI can understand viewers’ preferences, habits, and interests. This invaluable knowledge enables the creation of tailored content recommendations, enhancing user engagement and satisfaction.

“Through ZEASN’s innovative approach, we aim to revolutionise the smart TV landscape by enabling smarter content discovery, seamless navigation, and interactive user experiences. The integration of AI into Smart TV operating systems empowers viewers to effortlessly access a vast array of content, including movies, shows, and applications, all catered to their preferences.”

Moreover, AI augments advertising opportunities by delivering targeted ads to relevant audiences, ensuring advertisers achieve higher return on investment (ROI). As AI capabilities continue to evolve, ZEASN’s vision, under the guidance of Dr. Gao, is to transform Smart TVs into intelligent hubs where user-centric features and AI-driven enhancements converge to create the ultimate viewing experience.

“The ‘AI’ moment for Smart TV is not merely a buzzword but a transformative paradigm shift that promises to redefine the way we engage with content and unlock unprecedented possibilities for the future of entertainment,” said Dr. Gao. “ZEASN is at the forefront of this revolution, reshaping the smart TV landscape for the better.”

Another feature of IBC’s free-to-attend content programme is the Partner Programme that includes seminars from organisations such as European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF), DAB+, Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE), Society of Broadband Professionals (SCTE), IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, IET (Institution of Engineering & Technology) and MovieLabs. It covers topics such as content, delivery, sustainability in broadcasting and the future of the media industry.

Also on the opening day is the session held by the International Association for Broadcast & Media Technology (IABM) on the thought-provoking subject “State of MediaTech – Key drivers of change in 2023 and beyond”.

In this session, IABM will be presenting its latest research on the key drivers of change in MediaTech, including an analysis of the impact of macro headwinds on the market as well as data-driven insights on MediaTech investment patterns and business models. 

Also open to the public is the presentation by Keith Buckley, President and CEO of Xytech Systems on “The Evolution of Media Operations: Achieving centralisation in a decentralised production environment”.

“The pace at which we produce content has accelerated more in the last five years than in the last 50,” said Buckley. “Thanks in part to streaming and the emergence of new forms of broadcast entertainment, like esports, the thirst for content has never been higher. 

“Yet, the way content is produced is also more varied, dispersed, and dynamic. Both remote production and the remote teams behind them continue to challenge the way producers are producing, scheduling and managing content.”

Buckley claimed that the last five years have seen a 185% increase in media operations roles resulting from the increase in productions. “However, the requirement to drive efficiencies in both cost and operations adversely impact the workflows and budgets of production, particularly in live television,” he said. “How do producers balance the increased demand for content with lower budgets while managing a dispersed team? Cloud-based centralisation and automation.”

Yet another session that should attract substantial interest, but will only be open to conference pass holders, will be “Plotting the Effects of Disruption: Charting the new media ecosystem”, piloted by media cartographer Evan Shapiro.

“In today’s media landscape, the only constant is change and embracing a culture of adaptability is mission critical to surviving and thriving,” said Shapiro. “What future trends must the industry prepare for to stay ahead of the curve and avoid collapse? I have attempted to plot the effects of disruption across the global media ecosystem, and the opportunities to be found in navigating a brave and volatile new world.”

For every one of the 40,000 expected attendees at IBC2023, mainly broadcast and content professionals, it will mean tramping across 10 halls on the four show days, comprehending the innovative exhibits and observing the effect on the industry of the latest advances in the realm of broadcasting.

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