IBC2018 promises to delve into all the new technological developments - and the business implications they present.
This is a key factor in the ongoing relevance and development of IBC. It may be an odd thing to say, but in a technological industry it is not only the technologies themselves that are exciting. Certainly there are big things happening; I think we will see big advances in areas like artificial intelligence, 5G and blockchain, not to mention the shift to IP connectivity and software-defined topologies; the convergence of broadcast, IT and telecoms; and the search for new formats, whether that is UHD or virtual reality.
For me, the real excitement comes when these raw technologies are put into action. IBC puts these ideas in front of people who can imagine the possibilities and create the applications that transform our creativity and our business models.
The last stage of development in IBC was a move away from a purely engineering-based event to one which attracts debate from the creative, operational and commercial sides of media businesses, because amazing technology is meaningless if it doesn’t gel within a workflow or it costs more than it earns.
The broadening of the industry into adjacent markets also means that there are wildly successful companies you’ve never heard of in different sectors, or small start-ups with no advertising budget, that may have just the workflow or product or idea that will make a big difference to your business. IBC is a great place for those collaborations to be incubated.
This diversity is reflected in the conference programme. While the IBC Conference was founded on technical papers - and they remain absolutely central to the programme - this year they are woven more closely into broader sessions, so that the underlying technology is handled alongside the operational and business implications, putting all sides of the story in the same place. We will see new ideas from converging markets and emerging technologies from nascent companies as well as leaders from broadcast organisations that are successfully evolving with the new technology available, showing how the underlying technology is handled alongside the operational and business implications. With over 400 expert speakers across six dedicated streams, there will be much to learn and discuss.
As well as the conference, we have 15 exhibition halls full of all the players in this rapidly changing industry. We are also seeing exhibitors evolve in the way they tell their stories; it’s no longer about black boxes with blinking lights, and they need to sell less tangible (though no less important) products and services as software or in the cloud – so they are devising clear, compelling and exciting ways to present them.
We are expecting more than 57,000 people from around the world this year, and I encourage you all to immerse yourselves in the whole experience. Drop into conference sessions that interest you, or that you know nothing about. Visit the IBC Future Zone, our regular space given over to the hit products of five years in the future. But above all, talk to people. Share your knowledge and experiences, and seize the opportunity to be a part of the big global debate.