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IBC f2f: Positive vibes palpable as media professionals congregate to do business 

By Loewe Tan

Declaring IBC 2022 a resounding success, Michael Crimp, IBC’s Chief Executive Officer, observed, “It was great to see, feel and hear the buzz of a live IBC once more. The quality of visitors has been outstanding and there was a real sense of positivity.

“We are stronger together.”

Indeed, the halls of the RAI Amsterdam were teeming with activities when IBC opened its doors to the in-person IBC trade event on 9 September 2022. After almost three years of Covid lockdowns, the four-day face-to-face show welcomed more than 37,100 visitors from 170 countries interacting with over 1,000 exhibitors. The vibes of people coming together to celebrate the continued collaboration, alliances, and affirmation of friendship among the broadcast and media professionals was most palpable.

Showcasing their latest technological innovations was an industry-leading lineup of exhibitors that featured some of the biggest and innovative brands in the media, entertainment and technology space, including Adobe, AWS, ARRI, Avid, Blackmagic Design, Canon, Comcast, Edgio, EVS, Fraunhofer, Google, Grass Valley, Hewlett-Packard, Imagine Communications, Lawo, LiveU, LTN, MediaKind, Microsoft, Nagra, NEP Group, Net Insight, Red Bee Media, RED Digital Cinema, Riedel, Ross Video, Sony, Synamedia, Tag, Telstra, Zero Density, Zixi and ZTE.

While the Covid-19 pandemic brought forth a new norm of remote working, notably WFH (working from home), IBC 2022 turned the spotlight firmly on some of the key trends and innovations that will further shape the broadcast and media industry in years to come.

Remote working in the post-COVID era

The pandemic has kickstarted a whole new world of remote working and production. To address the technical issues that colleagues in various time zones are facing in aligning to systematic workflows, Tedial has introduced smartWork, a NoCode media integration platform.

Based on its NoCode approach, smartWork allows media integration platforms to be accessible to everyone, from non-technical users to citizen-developers. Furthermore, smartWork can be deployed flexibly on-premises, on any cloud or in a hybrid architecture.

Business continuity can easily be achieved with smartWork as current systems can be integrated and operations improved by adding new business processes or cloud operation.

With just a simple click from dragging to dropping an application on the platform, smartWork NoCode workflow editor empowers non-technical users to define or re-adapt workflows to business needs. 

smartWork also includes a complete business intelligence tool that enables users to take full platform control. Therefore, users will be able to decide which processes can be modified to reduce costs without substantial commercial impact.

Whole new world of multi-screens

With the advent of smart devices, consumers are no longer consuming content on just one device. How should broadcasters ensure that content delivery adapts to the new world of multi-screens?

Interra Systems’ BATON is a machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) enabled automated platform that provides quality and compliance checks for video-on-demand (VoD) content, in the cloud/on-premises, and for linear and streaming workflows. 

The hybrid QC solution implements organisational QC policy to support a combination of automated and manual QC checks, resulting in a well-integrated and efficient broadcast workflow. BATON, according to Interra Systems, is used by global broadcast, cable, telco, satellite, IPTV, over-the-top (OTT), and post-production operators as well as archiving companies working with file-based content. 

In-house studio: Lights, camera, action!

With the Covid pandemic continuing to create new waves of virtual events, corporations have started to invest in in-house production studios. However, most companies are facing challenges in operating production equipment to live stream events. 

To help them overcome these challenges, Sony is bringing new technologies to life, enabling production anywhere and at any scale through IP for industry players, with a growing focus on sustainability. 

At IBC 2022, Sony and Nevion announced Networked Live, which promises a new era of on-premise/cloud hybrid distributed production solutions that increase the potential for remote and distributed production. 

Networked Live will also focus on introducing Federated Orchestration to IP-based networks, improving media transport, and further enabling hybrid processing and operations. This will allow users to produce anywhere and at any scale, levelling up the quality of productions overall and increasing efficiencies through a better distribution of people and technological resources, ensuring long-term business sustainability.

The new services and products offered by Networked Live, said Sony, are designed to accelerate the transformation of workflows to facilitate distributed and remote production.

Sony has also announced the latest addition to its Cinema Line, the ILME- FR7, an e-mount interchangeable lens camera with a full-frame image sensor and built-in pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) functionality. With versatile remote control and cinematic features, this open creative possibilities in small studio, live production and film-making settings.

Sony is enhancing the connectivity and capabilities of its cameras, allowing corporations to do more with their content at the point of acquisition, supporting the development of remote operations from offices to on-site production.

Olivier Bovis, Head of Media Solutions, Sony Europe, highlighted, “When we look at the future of the content industry, with the explosion of content channels and demand of the recent years in mind, we know we need to move away from one-size-fits-all products and move towards a building-block-solution strategy, where we introduce ecosystems that are highly modular at every step of the production chain. 

“This modularity is the key for customer to deliver on their business and sustainability goals.”

Digital piracy

The rise of digital TV has set off a new form of piracy in the industry. Irdeto, a leading cybersecurity platform, has expanded Irdeto Control features to address service abuses such as piracy and credential sharing. Furthermore, it allows operators to define and monetise their over-the-top (OTT) offerings using diverse concurrency models based on subscriber, content and device segmentation. 

Irdeto Control has also extended its geo-IP enforcement offerings, adding capabilities for pay-TV operators and streaming services to dynamically perform “blacklisting” and “whitelisting” of subscribers’ device IP addresses, offering vast flexibility to enforce geo-restrictions from a subscriber level, content level or both.

Based on subscribers’ location, operators can deploy targeted strategies by country, region, or city. The new capabilities also include innovative tools to detect and block VPN and proxy services, impeding any attempt to circumvent the geo-restrictions.

Irdeto Control can assist operators in expanding consumer offerings with insight-driven data while offering a very high degree of digital rights management (DRM) protection, availability, scalability and operational simplicity.

Shane McCarthy, COO of Video Entertainment at Irdeto, said, “Countries across Asia are active in the fight against video piracy. But there is no silver bullet to stop piracy. Irdeto continues to work closely with pay-TV operators and streaming services in the region to ensure safe content delivery and continuous growth of new OTT business models.

“With nearly 50 billion DRM licenses issued by Irdeto Control in the last 12 months and with our award-winning Cyber Services team, Irdeto is at the forefront of fighting piracy and is well positioned in the industry to solve the most complex challenges for operators and media companies in the Asia Pacific region and globally.”

Analogue to digital in Asia

While more countries in Asia are moving towards digital broadcast and delivery, analogue-to-digital transmitters and switchers were  also a key highlight at this year’s IBC show.

GatesAir, a global leader for wireless and over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, unveiled Flexiva GX, a new FM analogue transmitter line for its radio customers. With the strongest power-to-size ratio for power levels up to 10 kiloWatt (kW) and latest LDMOS, Flexiva GX packed exceptional power density into a compact 5RU chassis, delivering a remarkable overall efficiency rating up to 76%.

“No one has ever put 10kW with an integrated exciter into a 5RU system, and the Flexiva GX Series makes this reality,” said Ted Lantz, Vice President, Product Line Management. 

“When you think of N+1 operations, broadcasters are looking for an extremely compact transmission infrastructure. We are supplying one customer with a complete 5+1 Flexiva GX system within a single 37RU rack.”

As broadcasters seek to refresh its existing FM infrastructure for national broadcast to achieve operational efficiency,  Flexiva GX Series also carries traditional GatesAir solid-state design benefits forward, including modular, redundant transmitter designs with hot-swappable power supplies. With auto-switching inputs and coupled with new Intraplex IP Link 100e module, the transmitter enables direct receipt of contributed FM, reducing the rack space required. 

As national broadcasters move towards digital broadcasting, they are faced with technological challenges in switching networks and to fill up the gaps in between and during the transition. They also need to contend with the significant cost that will be incurred from switching out of legacy systems and to upskill staff to operate new digital systems.

Maxiva OP Series offers flexible frequency transmitter line that covers low-to-high VHF band and DAB/DAB+ radio. The VLX-OP series also offer software-defined modulations, similar to Maxiva VAXTE, to support global analogue and digital standards.

Most importantly, the series leverages on reduced size and weight Maxiva transmitters to optimise maintenance … maximum output at minimum cost?

IBC 2022, besides showcasing cost-efficient innovations that enables broadcasters and media operators to achieve business goals, the face-to-face event also facilitated numerous meaningful conversations surrounding sustainability and new business models.

The next in-person edition of IBC will return to the RAI Amsterdam from 15-18 September 2023.

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