AI was a hot topic throughout 2018 from transforming productions to global adoption and disruption; blockchain, light field technology and 8K dominated the trends in tech advances. 

1) AI: Transforming media production

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AI: Set to transform media production, workflows and audience engagement

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were two of the top trends for 2018 with technologies being adopted by many different industries. Advances in AI and ML have enabled manufacturers and broadcasters to develop and implement smarter tools and applications to boost the entire content lifecycle. 

Experts forecasted in January these technologies would be incorporated as part of the standard toolkit for broadcasters to transform the process of creating and managing content. 

2) See the future: VR headsets and hardware trends
The US ski team at 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics used virtual reality (VR) technology to experience the downhill courses ahead of the games. IBC365 looked at the VR hardware, the ranging price points and those behind bringing the tech mainstream from the high-end HTC Vive Pro and Oculus Santa Cruz to the all-in-one wireless Lenovo Mirage Solo. 

3) Wimbledon serves up AI-enabled highlights

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IBM Watson used to create Wimbledon highlights 

Source: Wimbledon

Programmers have taught AI platform IBM Watson to learn the meaning behind expressions, fan reaction and body language assembling full highlight reels of live events within five minutes of the end of a match, some two to 10 hours more quickly than before. 

The system clipped over 75,000 points from close to 1,000 hours of coverage of men and women’s singles matches during the course of this year’s Championships in July slashing the turnaround time from 45 minutes to five minutes. 

4) Towards the Holodeck: An in-depth look at light field
A holographic video, or holographic light field rendering, produced stunningly realistic three-dimensional images that can be viewed from any vantage point. IBC365 examined if VR is just a stepping stone on the path to holographic video content creation and display, with experts claiming we are on the cusp of a major breakthrough set to transform the future of media. 

5) 8K: Ignore it at your peril
Manufacturers have been showcasing their latest 8K displays and the PyeongChang Winter Games was the springboard for 8K productions, but what does the long-term future hold for high-resolution content? IBC365 looked at the advantages, developments, bandwidth requirements and global uptake.   

6) How Japan’s SoftBank plans to bridge the global digital divide

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Greg Wyler: OneWeb Founde

The Japanese multinational telco and media player is, according to Forbes, the 62nd largest public company on the planet that announced in January its plans to invest in OneWeb to help it deliver a smarter, interconnected, and automated world. OneWeb initially planned to orbit  648 Low Earth-orbiting satellites in an attempt to bridge the global digital divide, this concept has now expanded to over 2,000 satellites and has contributed to SoftBank becoming the fourth fastest increase of any business in the world’s ‘Top 100’ companies. 

7) Putting blockchain to work in media
Blockchain’s ability to track rights and maximise the monetisation of content is worthy of experimentation despite its negative association with cryptocurrency, experts claimed. For those involved in monetising content, the tangible benefit of such a technology will immediately be clear, including automatic transactions, generating smart contracts and securing a rights holder’s IP.

8) The startup industry explosion 
The global startup community is expanding with pioneering and agile technology offerings that challenge established companies and disrupt the marketplace. IBC365 interviewed five startup companies from around the world that offer innovative solutions to disrupt the traditional technology ecosystem. Video transcription using AI, gaming and app development employing VR and AI and decentralised video streaming are among those featured. 

9) Technology priorities: Adopting AI and neglecting VR

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IABM research suggests VR is being neglected in favour of AI

Multi-platform delivery, 4K/UHD, IP infrastructure and AI were the main growth areas of investment in media technology according to an analysis released in April by the IABM. VR was not a priority while the data suggested as IP-adoption increases it is likely to drive more investment in UHD content and most technology users planned to deploy AI services across content management, distribution and delivery to automate tasks and gain audience analysis.

10) Tech paper: Blockchain technology: Revolutionising the video value chain 
Blockchain is a technology that is generating significant interest within the video industry. This technical paper outlined the steps being made in applying this technology to the video value chain, with the most utility gained from major industry players working together and coalescing around one global rights blockchain, by Arqiva’s Nick Moreno.