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Don’t let AI and blockchain NAB you when in Vegas

Fintan Mc Kiernan, CEO of Ideal Systems, South-east Asia, predicts a more prominent future role for AI and blockchain in media and broadcast

If you are heading to Las Vegas, USA in April for NAB Show 2018, chances are, “artificial intelligence” (AI) and “blockchain” are likely to be among the top catchphrases you will be hearing, suggested Fintan Mc Kiernan, CEO of Ideal Systems, South-east Asia.

But, while believing that these technologies will become more prevalently deployed in broadcast systems — catalysed by the accelerating move to IP and cloud solutions for broadcast and media — he does not expect them to become mainstream in the near future.

Mc Kiernan told APB: “Initially, the price [to deploy] will be high and the functionalities limited; thus, AI and blockchain are likely to be applicable only for the big media players with deep pockets. However, these new systems will evolve and become more affordable and useful to smaller media organisations over time.”

Blockchain technologies, for example, offer security and audit capabilities to support a more efficient and accountable mechanism to underpin future media asset management (MAM) systems and media distribution systems, Mc Kiernan cited. “However, the current lack of blockchain software developers, while they play in the casino-like environment of crypto-currencies and their high cost, will slow the permeation of blockchain technologies into systems for media companies and broadcasters,” he said, quickly adding that the relatively low returns in the broadcast technology market versus financial technology (fintec) will make it harder for broadcast system manufacturers to access these expensive development resources.

AI, while offering some “amazing technological opportunities” to media solution architects, will similarly be held back by initial rarity and high development costs, which remain prohibitive for the niche broadcast technology market, Mc Kiernan predicted, adding with a note of optimism: “Always remember that technology time is much faster than real time, so it might not be long!”

For more insights into how blockchain can potentially bring to the broadcast and media industry, be sure to read the March 2018 issue of APB.

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