Expectations High for IBC’s 40th

Amsterdam provides the pulse of the electronic media industry as IBC’s 40th conference gets underway this week at the RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre.
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Amsterdam provides the pulse of the electronic media industry as IBC’s 40th conference gets underway this week at the RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre. The conference runs from Sept. 6-10 and the exhibition is set for Sept. 7-11.

IBC organizers expect approximately 1,200 exhibitors in 950 booths this year and total registration is running ahead of the same period in 2006, when attendance shot past 45,000.

“We expect the show to be bigger than it was last year,” said Ian Volans, spokesperson for IBC.

The big information share at IBC distinguishes itself from NAB “by drawing on the broad experience of its six industry partners and a conference committee which draws on expertise from across the broadcast industry,” said Volans. This will be accomplished through five “theme days”—and the conference will serve as a hub where attendees “can reflect on where broadcasting has come from as IBC celebrates its 40th anniversary while looking toward the future,” he said.

DAY BY DAY

The five theme days will address various industry trends, such as the emergence of new distribution platforms like broadband and mobile, which will be the heart of the matter during the “Global Business” theme day on Friday, Sept. 7.

Delivery of multimedia content via broadband and IPTV was covered in greater depth in the “Broadcast by Broadband” theme day on Thursday, Sept. 6, in addition to the technical paper sessions within the conference. New this year is a dedicated IPTV Zone in the exhibition, as IPTV is also a major feature of the Business Briefing program.

The proliferation of consumer electronic devices capable of consuming TV and video content are to be explored on “Digital Lifestyles” theme day Saturday, Sept. 8. The Mobile Zone in the exhibition area also focuses on the growth of mobile TV, video and multimedia consumption.

On Sunday, Sept. 9, the conference’s “Content Production” theme day will examine the latest developments in the creation of quality pictures, audio and efficient workflow, and will also delve into the complexities of multiplatform distribution. Several Business Briefing speakers will also address the management of converged services that embrace traditional broadcast, mobile and Internet distribution.

Lastly, the D-Cinema theme day on Monday, Sept. 10, will consider the implications of the accelerating transition of digital cinema from concept to commercial reality.

WHAT’S NEW

To accommodate demand, IBC has opened a new 1,650-square-meter exhibition area in Hall 12P. It also has a content delivery theme and will house Ascent Media, HP, Alcatel, Teranex and Nokia Siemens Network, among other corporations. In addition, the dedicated IPTV Zone introduced this year, alongside the Mobile Zone, will cover the new and emerging technology horizon; together, these two spaces will canvass 2,500 square meters.

The Training Zone has moved to Hall 11 and will include two strands: hands-on sessions offering an introduction to the latest desktop tools, and technical briefing sessions covering subjects such as HD, audio-to-fiber systems and RF spectrum.

Volans also noted “an increased focus this year on digital signage systems,” with five separate vendors providing demonstration systems in different parts of the exhibition area.

In addition to those vendors, there will be a number of avenues to learn what’s happening at the show itself. IBC-TV News will once again be available throughout Amsterdam and worldwide via satellite; and IBC podcasts, which were introduced last year, are back and will be distributed via the IBC Web site: www.ibc.org.

This year’s show will also feature IBC Radio broadcasting on 105.6 FM around the venue, and IBC is extending its reach into the telecoms and communications sector through its branded channel, IBC Convergence TV, in partnership with specialist online broadcaster TelecomTV.

IBC will also enjoy extensive print and online coverage through its numerous media partners.

THE EXHIBITORS

Although some corporations, such as Avid, Snell and Panasonic, have, in the past, opted not to attend IBC in recent years (and then returned, in the case of Snell and Avid), many other companies remain bullish on its relevance, including Ross Video and Harris Corp.

Speaking of trends, David Glidden, vice president of marketing operations for Harris Communications, said the need to manage multiple channels, including secondary channels for broadcasters, and all of the necessary technology to make that happen, are key this year.

“For the economics to work here, broadcasters are looking for technology like integrated channel release systems, or what many people in the business are referring to as ‘Station in a Box,’” he said.

In addition, “There will be considerable attention focused on the areas of compression and networking technology to support mobile TV and IPTV,” Glidden said, citing H.264/MPEG-4, Part 10, as a critical technology for both. Harris is introducing a line of compression and networking solutions that incorporate that technology, notably with its NetVX product.

Glidden also cited other major themes at the show like HDTV and the 3 Gbps technology to support 1080p routing in the studio environment, as well as “routers, signal processing equipment and other infrastructure and equipment needed to support that distribution,” Glidden said.

Ross Video, a Canadian developer of professional production gear, will also debut new and updated products during IBC, including the new Vision Series Production Switchers, a new line of SoftMetal Video Servers, Version 5.1 of the OverDrive Production Control System, and the openGear terminal equipment platform introduces the DashBoard Control System and SNMP Protocol. Sharon Quigley, international sales manager-EAIME, Ross Video, offered her observations of trends at this year’s show.

“The migration from SD to HD is being driven by Europe and North America, and this shift is occurring in different parts of the broadcasting world,” she said. “In our opinion, Europe and North America drive the changes in this industry. Again [this year], it’s the main trend and clients are looking for solutions to help them make this transition.”

While IBC is a smaller show than NAB, neither Quigley nor Glidden questioned IBC’s relevance. Since IBC attracts a large and diverse group of industry professionals from around the world, she said, “It allows us, the manufacturer, the opportunity to demonstrate our full product range and meet professionals from across the industry at one time and in one place.”

Glidden echoed that thought.

“NAB remains of less significance from a European standpoint,” he said. “It’s bigger for the Asia and Latin America markets. We think the international markets are critical for Harris due to its focus on the European, the Middle East and African markets.”

IBC has always been important for the introduction of advanced technology, just as NAB is. But because IBC comes five months later than NAB, “they serve the same purpose since technology advances so quickly anymore that you can’t wait 12 months to unveil new products and technologies,” Glidden said. “So IBC is absolutely worth it.”