The fuse has been lit for the IBC2022 Accelerator programme, the biggest and most ambitious media innovation programme in the global entertainment and technology industries. Eight projects have been chosen, and the process of responding to the challenges and onboarding the project consortiums is underway.

What is the IBC2022 Accelerator programme?

The IBC Accelerator programme was created in 2019 to help the media and entertainment industry tackle new challenges in an agile and collaborative manner. The heart of the concept is to bring together industry end users and buyers of media and entertainment technology, products and services to collaborate in short sprint, fixed term four-to six-month projects, with final POC results revealed at IBC in September.

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Muki Kulhan at the IBC Accelerators Kickstarter 2022

There are two key groups of collaborators in the IBC Accelerator programme - Project Champions and Project Participants. The latter include vendors, manufacturers, developers, sellers of products and solutions, who work together with the Champions to design potential solutions to a project challenge. A minimum of four Participants work on any project, but sometimes this can include several more, depending on the scale and complexity of the challenge. The Project Champions are drawn from broadcasters, studios, platforms and content providers, who lead, support and advise project teams, as well as provide time and supporting resources. The Champions will highlight the critical business or technology challenges they’re experiencing and guide the development of possible solutions. There can be multiple Champions of a project, but the minimum requirement is one – in the past some 14 Champions have been known to take part in one team, indicating just how common some of the challenges are to the Champions.

What are the key benefits of the IBC Accelerator programme?

One of many key benefits of being a Participant (both for solution providers and vendors) is gaining a level of access to Champions’ knowledge and insights that cannot normally be obtained through normal sales routes. In turn, Champions can leverage the skills and product knowledge of Participants to accelerate R&D without complex commercial negotiations.

Very much on the inside track, all Accelerator Participants get to work with cross-industry players and develop solutions to real-world challenges, and apply expertise to new use cases. The value is also in the visibility of participation, through IBC365, show Daily and podcast coverage as well as high-profile exposure on stage and front and centre exhibition placement at the IBC Show. In addition, all IBC Accelerator Champions and Participants get maximum visibility across the global IBC community that extends beyond the final showcase and into the following year.

Muki Kulhan, Co-lead of the programme, touched on the benefits that Participants have already seen from their involvement in the Accelerator programme. “So many of our Participants have seen a healthy increase in their business with many successful commercial relationships spawned between Champions and Participants,” she said. “The open knowledge and learnings gained from the proof of concepts, along with all of the POC materials that are developed between the consortium teams have been a huge benefit in growing their businesses in both profile and profit.”

IBC Accelerator Kickstart Day

IBC Accelerator Kickstart Day

Joe Newcombe, Microsoft, said of the IBC Accelerators programme: “It’s amazing. You get broadcasters, you get Champions, you get people from all different areas that have problems. You have all these different vendors. They could be big cloud providers like ourselves or you could be working with smaller bespoke technology and it brings it all together to solve a problem. And that’s the biggest thing; how do we solve problems specific to the broadcast community [that are] really going to resonate and be relevant? It’s just an amazing environment to collaborate on some real key issues.”

Conrad Gouws, RTE, commented on the value of the IBC Accelerator programme for broadcasters: “I think, especially for us as a national broadcaster, it’s almost impossible to have very open engineer-to-engineer conversations with suppliers, because we are usually stuck in an RFP or in a formal process. Even with competitors, we’ve been in some accelerators where we’ve participated with direct competitors and we’ve had suppliers who have participated with their direct competitors, but we’re all solving the same problem - so that’s amazing!”

Bob Stewart, University of Strathclyde, agreed: “What is unique about the Accelerator programme is just being able to engage and work with some fantastic tier one companies - and some of the smaller companies - bringing them together on a common platform. You’re not pressurised into designing or building a product. You do have a deadline, the deadline of the September show, so it really is an accelerator - that’s exactly what it’s all about.”

Which projects have been chosen for the IBC2022 Accelerator programme?

For the IBC2022 Accelerator programme, the following projects have been selected and are now under way after a shortlisting process, which this year was conducted in person at IBC’s Kickstart Day, held at the IET in London, the first time IBC has held an in-person event since 2020.

Mark Smith and Muki Kulhan, Co-leads of the programme, spoke about the excitement of finally being able to meet the Champions and Participants in the flesh. “It’s been great having human contact,” said Kulhan. “We’ve just been seeing people on a video screen for the last year or so, and now we’re meeting so many people for the first time, and it makes such a positive difference to be together in person as well.”

 

Smith echoed her response. “There are so many tangible benefits to this unique programme, but also many intangibles, such as the relationships that are formed. That’s why meeting in person is so important, and it’s so great for the industry and for the Accelerator teams to be getting together again,” he said.

The Accelerator projects for 2022 are:

Cloud Based Live Events, Analytics and Low Latency Protocols

Aiming to demonstrate how professional live sports events, with multiple camera feeds, can be delivered at scale with full visibility, including live IP signal ingest, standards conversion as well as assessing the potential to introduce low latency protocols.

Champions: DAZN, OBS, BT Media & Broadcast, BBC, ITV, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, TV2

Participants: Net Insight, Zixi (others TBC)

Unified Cloud Architecture to Streamline the Localisation Process

A project to explore fully decentralising the production and delivery of localised media, metadata and artwork, while centralising and streamlining ordering, management, and tracking from a single platform that delivers full visibility and accountability of the whole process.

Champions: Warner Bros. Discovery, ITV, Pokémon

Participants: Fabric, IYUNO SDI, Vidispine (others TBC)

Next Generation News Studio

What will the next generation news studio look like? How will it combine all the newest and latest technologies? Never have there been so many exciting technologies that can be integrated in the news studio production, and so this exciting Accelerator project sets out to explore and define a futureproof concept for news studios.

Champions: TV2, BBC News, Production Park

Participants NxtEdition (others TBC)

5G and the Arena of the Future for XR Events

Fresh off their 2021 Project of the Year victory, the winning combo of 5G and XR (Extended Reality) returns to push 5G’s low latency and connectivity into the 3D arena-verse of the future via live augmented reality esports and multi-location, multi-player fan hyper-personalisation using immersive, real-time technologies.

Champions: Vodafone, Hado, ESL/Weavr, Warner Bros. Discovery, DAZN, BT Sport, Twickenham Film Studios, Olympic Broadcasting Services, Kings College London, Production Park

Participants: Net Insight (others TBC)

5G Remote Production … in the Middle of Nowhere

Following on from work in the Accelerator programme over the last two years, this breakthrough project aims to demonstrate just how portable and flexible a private 5G ‘network in a box’ can be for live broadcast production use cases, taking it to some truly remote global locations, as well as to the IBC show itself.

Champions: BBC, BT Sport, BT Media & Broadcast, RTÈ, TV2, OBS, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery. Academic Partner/ Champion: University of Strathclyde, Scotland 5G Centre

Participants: Net Insight (others TBC)

6DOF Audio-Led Narrative and Music Experiences in the Metaverse

Creating first-person-perspective music and narrative experiences that audiences are free to move around and interact with. This project aims to understand how 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) audio content in the metaverse will impact upon content creation and delivery.

Champions: BBC, Paramount, Kings College London

Participants: Magic Beans, TuneURL (others TBC)

Volumetric Video for Broadcasting, Metaverse Production and RT3D Assets

To build the live studio of the future and evolve the traditional broadcast pipeline to incorporate the latest content creation technologies such as volumetric motion capture and 3D render engines, ensuring efficient delivery of real-time content for multiple platforms including broadcast, live streaming, the metaverse and interactive channels.

Champions: RTÉ, Fox Sports, Connected Ideas Limited, Unity Technologies, Unreal/Epic Games, DAZN, Production Park

Participants: Volograms (others TBC)

Media Content Sharing, Monetization and Micropayment Systems via Blockchain

This progressive Accelerator Challenge will utilise Blockchain to explore content sharing, micropayments and incentivisation solutions that will enable OTT subscribers (authorised users) to share content with a new set of users (non-subscribers), operate as a micro-distribution channel and receive and enable rewards.

Champions: DAZN, Barco Digital Cinema

Participants: Tata Elxsi (others TBC)

The IBC 2021 Accelerator programme saw more than 80 organisations take part as Champions and Participants in eight projects, including AP, Al Jazeera, BBC, BT Sport, EBU, ITV, Meta, Olympic Broadcasting Services, AWS, RTÉ, Sky, SVT, TV2, Microsoft, Audible, Yle and many others. Projects addressed challenges in areas such as 5G, artificial intelligence, CG animation and VFX workflows, and IP transition. The projects from 2021 can be seen here.

What are the project parameters for the IBC2022 Accelerator programme?

The parameters for projects to be chosen for the Accelerator programme are as follows:

  • Projects address and aim to solve common, business and technology challenges
  • Teams comprise Champions and Participants with specialist technology expertise
  • Project aims should be well-defined and scoped in order to be achievable within 4-5 months
  • Projects should open and underline the value of industry standards and best practices.

All eight Accelerators will be presenting their Final Showcases on stage at the IBC Show at the RAI in Amsterdam, 9-12 September. For more information or to secure your delegate ticket, registration is now open.