2020 has been a unique year for the industry and for IBC. IBC Council chair Naomi Climer reflects on some of the challenges the industry and IBC has faced, as well as some of the exciting projects the industry is leading on
One of the fundamental tenets of IBC is that it is run by the industry, for the industry. It adds value to the global broadcast and electronic media industry by providing the one forum at which everyone can come together to share knowledge and exchange ideas.
One of the firm foundations is the IBC Council. This is a group of 15 to 20 senior executives from around the world, acting as an advisory body to the IBC organisation. I have been proud to chair the IBC Council since 2016.
The members come from traditional broadcasters and new media companies; equipment suppliers both steeped in broadcast hardware and from the IT industry. All are very senior executives, significantly influencing the quality of IBC’s vision and direction.
In a typical year we would meet formally as a group at NAB and at IBC. But the real work was done through regular contacts by telephone and email, at industry events and personal meetings.
But this, of course, is not a typical year. The huge changes forced upon our industry by the global pandemic have added to the burden of council members. But it has also given them a unique oversight of the transformations in the way we work, of the new demands on technology and on people to continue to create and deliver content.
So the unique network that is the IBC Council has had more to talk about than ever, and that shared knowledge has played its significant part in shaping the IBC Showcase, this year’s online event.
I’ve always looked to IBC for truly international thought leadership, so it is important to me that it maintains its position as the one global forum to discover and debate the future for our industry. Talking to my fellow council members during the pandemic, it is clear to me that organisations across our industry have had to rapidly transform, and that the appetite for more innovative thinking is greater than I have ever seen it.
So one of the IBC2020 programmes that I am sure will be thought-provoking is the Media Innovation Accelerator Programme, a genuine hothouse for disruptive technologies.
This year, IBC and its partners are supporting eight projects, which have been in collaborative R&D for the last few months. A glance at the titles of the Accelerator projects shows that they are tackling real issues: 5G remote production, object-based delivery, AI for automated shot lists, archiving effects projects, an AI-backed talent show, animation production pipelines, citizen journalism and 5G centralised streaming for augmented reality.
Each project has champions: broadcasters and production companies who are leading the developments because they tackle real issues in their companies. Champions include BBC and Viacom; BT Sport and Universal Studios; YLE and Al Jazeera; Olympic Broadcast Services and Epic Games.
This is ground-breaking stuff – and that is the very essence of IBC. Since 1957 the industry has come together at IBC to see the newest technologies and hear the latest from the labs. The Accelerator is firmly in that tradition. Each project will report and demonstrate as part of the IBC Showcase, this year’s online event.
I’m passionate about our industry’s sustainability in every sense. I have been proud to work alongside IBC as it pushes the agenda on diversity and on social and environmental issues, but there is still much more to be done as we encourage genuine innovation in technology and creativity.
Like my colleagues on the IBC Council and, I’m sure, many of you, I will very much miss my visit to Amsterdam this September. But the spirit of global co-operation, of shared interests and ideals, will be preserved in the IBC Showcase. I hope to see you there.
Naomi Climer is chair of the IBC Council