IBC 2019: See You in Amsterdam!

Stein Erik Sørhaug


With the promise of fall, the best season of all, fresh in the air Europe’s annual media, tech, and entertainment show is upon us.  For some it’s simply an excellent boondoggle & it is that for those who want. A chance to drink, eat well on expense accounts, and mix and mingle.  Open and close deals. See friends, colleagues, and peers. Unlike it’s gaudier Vegas based counterpart NAB, IBC is very much a working conference.  Educational. Informative. A chance to dive deeper into trends and ideas shaping our industry and consumer entertainment.  

By Stein Erik Sørhaug

That’s not to say it’s also not a massive hype cycle of buzzwords, copied marketing, and other well meaning BS we all use to sell our products.   Hype and buzz spotting is a real part time past-time at IBC. You’ll often find hordes of vendors with mildly differentiated products using almost the same worded marketing messages on their stands.   A couple of years back everyone had something about AI or machine learning. Blurbs about cloud, cloud native, cloud agnostic dominated another year. Personalisation another. But lack of creativity in differentiating your product and lazy marketing is just that.  A texture of the back-drop & common.    

It’s not all overhyped though, obviously.   Real trends do march us all in common directions.   This is a rapidly evolving industry. Fundamentally changing from the packet level on up.  This year we’ll no doubt hear and see a lot about the horse race that is premium content streaming.  About how Disney+ and other new entries look to differentiate themselves from the current Kings and Queens of streaming.    I’m sure, as in articles, there will be much talk of streaming wars. Hopefully someone wins eventually.  

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  • The transition of broadcast to IP with the SMPTE 2110 standard in place will be a big topic of interest.   The enablement of remote production will trend because of it. This will change the industry in time. Work can be done from anywhere with an IP connection.   What once bound people to locations and terminals will now be unleashed to working at home on the couch in your pajamas. Pants optional.

There will no doubt be talk in the streaming space about how TV is the new TV and Android TV will no doubt be a thing.    Further with 4k well in place there will be an expansion of 8k offerings showcased beyond the trickle drip of the last couple of years.   Wifi 6 will be discussed too as better TV resolution requires greater bandwidth. The long awaited realization of 5G as a massive enabler to streaming at higher quality will also feature well.    

I’m sure IOT will still be talked about, but do we really need every device to be connected?  Like it’s enough already. We’re overconnected as it is. I don’t need my refrigerator to tell me the weather.  I need it to keep my food cold.  

eSports will have a moment.   Maturing, popular and now even a viable career choice for the dedicated gamer it’ll be interesting to see how end viewing experience has and is evolving.   Live sports like eSports will also be a topic to trend with factors like low latency taking the stage.   I’m sure there will be talk of advertising & user data, but I’ll graciously pass on that.

Beyond the AI buzz that’s been creeping for years there will be more clear examples of the practical application of the technology.  From personalization of content, to virtual assistants, facial recognition, automated workflow optimization, automated content extraction, and a reduction in human driven tasks will no doubt be of interest to some.  Maybe we’ll whisper about deep fakes too.

We’ll also see the shifting face of the industry.  A bit more inclusive and not just the domain of middle aged men who haven’t noticed that their bald on top ponytail look might not be their best option.   

Above all, there will be a lot of selling, hustling, learning, and boondoggling.  Maybe some hugs and high fives too. All of which we look forward to each year. So see you in Amsterdam.   

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