The IBC Conference has value for everyone working in the media, entertainment and technology industry, says Conference Chair Michael Lumley.

Michael lumley

The IBC Conference is the most authoritative, inspirational and stimulating debate in the media, entertainment and technology community’s calendar.

The programme is put together by people working in the industry who know and have a view on how it is shaped and the big emerging issues.

Anyone working in the industry will benefit by attending; not every session in the Conference will be for every person, but everyone who attends will find value that they can take back to their day job, and that’s important.

We develop the programme year-on-year, with the process of planning the many sessions beginning a year ahead of the show. We are very conscious of the fact that this is an ever-changing industry.

IBC audience crowd speakers delegates

Some people may have a historical view that the IBC Conference is a purely technical event, but that hasn’t been the case for several years.

Over the course of five days, the themes of the Conference will have a relevance to everyone: those working in strategy as well as the creation and management of content. It is an event where the industry’s top executives, leaders, strategic thinkers R&D engineers and those working in operational roles can come together to listen, learn, debate and network.

In the conference we look at the entire value chain, from content and production to distribution and we aim to select the big overarching themes that will enable those areas to be explored in detail in different ways.

For example, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality are growing in relevance as they are incorporated in real businesses, while OTT, the cloud, 5G, UHD, HDR and content security are some of the major themes that will feature throughout the conference. 

Rich agenda

VR is something that the Content and Production stream will look at from the perspective of programme makers and those running programme production teams. But the same topic will appear in Advances in Technology, looking at how the technology has developed and will evolve, and the way it is influencing business models will also be discussed in the Business Transformation stream.

With such a rich agenda, one of the issues is navigating a way through it. The answer we have come up with which has been successful over the last few years is to divide the content by streams over the course of a half day, a full day or two days.

We consciously try and find a route through the Conference to avoid clashes and overlaps so that if you have an area of particular interest it is easy to navigate.

Sessions are scheduled and grouped together to provide a narrative through issues. That has been a much greater focus this year and allows us to show the relationship between different areas, such as broadcast and the internet, the introduction of IP, the production processes and workflow, and so on.

The area we don’t do that is Advances in Technology, which takes place on every day of the conference. Advances in Technology is aimed at technologists and is an important aspect of IBC; it is the historical heart of the show and features technical papers with the latest in research and development and blue sky thinking.

We always want to provide opportunity to debate with our delegates through Q&A, informal contact and networking. Personally, one of the biggest things of value is not just sitting in and listening but actually engaging in dialogue either formally or informally with fellow delegates. This part of the conference is substantially as important as the sessions themselves.

We need time for some reflection as well as gazing into the crystal ball.

Michael Lumley is IBC Conference Chair