2018 certainly didn’t disappoint. One thing that has become very apparent for me is how much the show changes every year, and although it’s only my 4th IBC, it’s a significantly different show to how it was when I first entered the RAI back in 2015. The fluidity of our industry these days is really quite staggering. The pace of change, innovation, as well as the rise and fall of ‘household’ names in just a period of 12 months make this space exciting and volatile in equal measure. These changes are perfectly reflected at IBC.
This year saw ICP send 6 consultants out to the show, and for the first time, our IoT specialist. The latter reflecting how diverse the show is now becoming and how the lines between different tech verticals are becoming increasingly blurred.
So, without further ado, here are a few personal highlights and trends of our 5 days in Amsterdam.
“Wait, Where’s the Ericsson stand again…?”
There is no hiding from the fact that IBC 2018 will probably always be known as the show where the giants disappeared. With Ericsson splitting off into Red Bee / MediaKind and Synamedia soon to be spawning out of Cisco, Hall 1 looked a tad different this year. The final piece of the puzzle was the repatriation of Velocix from Nokia (which remained a secret until the first day of the show and hidden away in Hall 15). With HP also losing interest in it’s video arm, I suspect that next year will look different as well.
The melting pot that is Hall 14
Perhaps I’m biased as my favourite hall of the show is that lovely, pitch-black, pop up box that is no.14, but it had by far the most interesting tech on display. There was a good blend of solutions and companies, such as P2P streaming from System73, to A.I censoring tools from the super friendly guys over at EpicLabs, there was something for everyone. It’s also great to see some OTT platforms geared up for the esports industry popping up too, such as Maestro.io. I noticed as well a number of Russian content owners and tech vendors pop up this year, as well as a presence from a number of operators such as Telia and Telstra. Sure, there is still a good chunk of consolidation to come to this hall, as the sheer number of end to end OTT vendors is unsustainable, with all the doom and gloom that has been floating around this last year or so, it makes me happy to see real pockets of innovation germinating throughout the floor.
This seems to be one of the most polarizing topics of the show. Whilst last year was all about analytics, this year it was all about A.I. Some people I spoke to felt that these new commercially viable solutions coming to market are genuinely working examples of A.I, whilst others think it’s just a buzzword for slightly improved machine learning. I can see arguments in both sides, but you cannot argue that things are getting smarter and more polished. I point you again to EpicLabs solutions they’ve deployed for Fox.
Super low latency
There were a load of great super low latency video streaming solutions on display this year. God knows we need them after the mess that was the World Cup! LimeLight Networks’ Real Time Streaming solution (built on WebRTC) won best in show at the TVB awards. Other companies like Haivision and System73 all offer useful solutions too.
Android and RDK?
These days, I’ve taken my foot out of the pool that is the turbulent world of STB’s, so when it comes to the Android and RDK uptake stats, I’m certainly not an expert. What I did notice however is that everyone is claiming to be Android ready and using this as a selling point, yet the vast majority have yet to roll anything out. TATA Elxsi bucks the trend here. Rather than shout from the rooftops, they have pressed on and actually completed a number of roll outs. Nice work.
See you in 2019
I don’t think anyone can really predict what this heteropolar mediascape will look like this time next year. More consolidation? Sure. More end to end OTT? Most probably. More A.I, Blockchain and buzzwords? Certainly.
See you next year.