Reimagining SMPTE

(Image credit: SMPTE)

Almost exactly two years ago, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers announced completion of a strategic business plan to guide the Society in becoming an even more valuable resource for individuals and organizations within the media and entertainment industry. We re-examined our guiding principles, vision, mission and value propositions and refined them to emphasize the Society’s role as a global organization and stress its ongoing commitment to being inclusive and objective.

Using this strategic business plan as a foundation, we are transforming every element of SMPTE to meet the changing needs of technology professionals in the digital media industry. This is the essence of an initiative we launched to reimagine what today’s SMPTE can be for its members and for the industry. We’ve spent the past year working behind the scenes to begin this change, an evolutionary rather than revolutionary redefinition of the way we do business.

With its public launch on Oct. 1, SMPTE’s reimagined identity introduces the first and most obvious signs of changes: dramatic redesigns of our logo, website and the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, as well as this year’s virtual annual technical conference.

The new logo is just the third used over the Society’s 100-plus years, and we feel that, with its updated typeface and iconic camera iris graphic using the renowned SMPTE Color Bar colors, it represents our history and our future.

The website features our new logo, a new look and a more inviting user experience. Equally or more important, the site offers our members more convenient access to relevant, timely and useful information and educational material. Over time, we will continue to expand this offering and the utility of to our membership.

On a deeper level, we’re also transforming the Society to ensure our members benefit fully from the tools, expertise, educational offerings and rich network of colleagues that SMPTE provides.

In terms of standards, this means being more nimble and responsive as we keep pace with quickly changing media technologies, creative techniques and business models. We’re focusing on many more software-oriented standards, and we’re using more software-based tools to manage and streamline standardization. While we maintain a rigorous standards development process, we’re also introducing other models by which members and the public at large can contribute to various standards-like documents.

With respect to membership—and our engagement with the industry as a whole—we’re developing plans to promote greater diversity, equity and inclusion. We hope you already see evidence of these efforts, and we will continue to amplify the talents of a broader spectrum of media technology professionals of every nationality, race, gender and career stage. We’ve taken a first step by being the first standards body to remove the use of offensive terminology within our standardization program.

Taking a broader look at our membership, we consider SMPTE to be a society of and for media professionals, technologists and engineers. (Yes, “SMPTE.”) This means that we will continue to fulfill the needs of our core group of traditional engineers, who may require deep dives into specific technologies, as well as the needs of a burgeoning group of creative technologists whose work relies on a solid understanding of technology fundamentals.

Being responsible for standards development, SMPTE always has excelled in providing education and training around standards-related topics and technologies. Education is at our core, engaging thousands of industry professionals with our webcasts and online classes. Moving forward, we’re expanding that offering with foundational courses to address the needs of creative technologists and better serve newer members of our community.

Although the pandemic accelerated our plans for delivering programming virtually, we are proud that this year’s annual technical conference—SMPTE 2020: “Game On,” Nov. 10-12—will be the most accessible SMPTE conference yet. Technical presentations, educational sessions, exhibits and networking opportunities will be available to members around the world, and we’ve created special pricing options to ensure that cost isn’t a barrier for any participant, whether student or professional.

We hope you’ll join us online or at SMPTE 2020 to see how the Society can support you in a successful career!