With September’s bustling and future focussed IBC2023 in the bag, the international broadcast and technology bodies that own IBC fill us in on their 2023 accomplishments, insights and hopes for the industry in the coming year.
Central themes include AI and ethics, 5G for content workflows, cybersecurity, skills shortages, advancements in VP and the rise of data, all of which point to 2024 being a big year for broadcast tech.
AI and ML Leading the Content Journey
IEEE, the Broadcast Technology Society commented on the industry trends that continually change our landscape, and how they will bring challenges and new technologies.
“We will see continued advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) with applications impacting the broadcast sectors. AI and ML can optimise content creation, automate workflows, and enhance audience analytics. IP based infrastructure will expand and become more mainstream as organisations look to become more efficient and sustainable in the creation and delivery of content. Immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are gaining prominence; enhancing viewer engagement and storytelling.”
The society also addressed the growing focus on personalised content and targeted advertising to enhance the viewer experience.
“The cloud is driving the democratisation of technology - and who can leverage it.” - Jerry Gepner, CEO, IABM
The IEEE then posed questions regarding the challenges ahead: “How will the deployment of 5G networks influence content production, live streaming and reliable content delivery? As cybersecurity continues to be a challenge and as technology continues to advance, what measures can be taken to protect sensitive data and ensure the security of content? There are ethical concerns related to AI which pose challenges that need careful consideration. Additionally, sustainability and environmental considerations need to be addressed and may drive the way forward towards greener technologies and practices.”
The SCTE, (Society for Broadband Professionals), with its continued commitment to raising the standard of broadband engineering, expressed excitement for “another busy year for the industry… characterised by more jittery speculation about AI, ML and its impact on our industry,” said President Anthony Basham.
While concerns about global pressures that will affect all industries still remain, Basham feels positive about how our sector will tackle issues head on: “There is still uncertainty in the market; skills shortages are an issue, geopolitical concerns will shape the sector over the next 12 months and there are elections coming up in the UK and the US, all of which will affect the economy, but two years on from the pandemic the fibre roll out continues apace, technology is developing at an eye-watering rate and day-to-day the industry is thriving.
He continued: “Over the coming year we see a confident, experienced, strident industry prepared to face such challenges head on, as well as making the most of opportunities as they arise.”
A Cloud-Driven World
Jerry Gepner, CEO of The International Trade Association for the Broadcast & Media Industry (IABM), centred his thoughts around the “inexorable growing importance” of the cloud: “Beyond its increasingly central role in Broadcast and Media, it underpins practically everything we do as human beings. The pervasive use of cloud storage, compute, applications and delivery is driving technology to leverage these services and is unifying all the tools we deploy to do our work. As a direct result, the cloud is driving the democratisation of technology - and who can leverage it.”
He added: “The cloud is also bringing down the silos that used to compartmentalise our business activities. Bringing it all together in the cloud has dramatically reduced the cost of entry, and services can now be highly agile, scaling from small beginnings to global enterprises without requiring huge up-front capital investments.
“Alongside this, the clamour for new content continues to grow apace; there is a seemingly insatiable demand with no signs this is going to abate any time soon. The result of all this is a very different-looking world, and while content will remain king, it will now have to share the throne with data – if you can’t find the content you want, you’ve failed.”
Agenda to Diversify
SMPTE, a global society of more than 5,000 members, from media technologists to engineers, told 365 that whilst 2023 was a challenging year for the film industry, SMPTE “still found ways to innovate, elevate, and celebrate the engineers and technologists in media technology. With the New Year upon us, SMPTE looks forward to continuing that work all over the world,” said Dr Michele Wright, Power of Color Conference Chair and Director Business Development and Outreach.
“The media tech industry has been making greater strides toward diversity, equity, and inclusion, and SMPTE is a major force in shaping this necessary change. Our first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) student Section was formed at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) in 2023. CAU will also be the location of the inaugural Power of Color Symposium, a two-day event dedicated to accurately representing people of colour in film and creating a more diverse industry overall.”
Wright added: “Starting in January, SMPTE will make all standards and self-study classes freely available to members on our website. Members will also get discounts on instructor-led courses. Non-SMPTE members can still purchase classes and standards, making them more accessible than ever before.”
In the coming year SMPTE also plans to do more outreach with international sections, following Executive Director David Grindle’s trip to Mumbai to announce special education efforts through the SMPTE India Section. In the new year, SMPTE will continue to focus on their international work, such as SMPTE Australia’s Met Expo, and expanding services into Africa and the Middle East.
Wright explained that: “The SMPTE RiS initiative continues to make major strides in On-Set Virtual Production and camera lens metadata. In the new year, they will continue their work by assembling a new Resource Library and establishing a benchmark for all peer-reviewed educational, media-related content about virtual production presented on the SMPTE + RiS-OSVP webpage.”
Looking ahead to IBC2024
The outlook for 2024 is huge, with everyone committed to staying ahead of what will transpire to be developments that persist in gaining momentum. According to IEEE BTS, “fostering collaboration within the global broadcast community, and address evolving needs for its members,” is what will keep them ahead of the game, which is why they consider IBC to be the prominent event, playing “a crucial role in showcasing innovations, fostering networking, and driving broadcast industry discussions.”
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