Q. Evaluate 3D one year after it was perhaps over-hyped by various industry types at IBC2010 — what is the reality settling down into?
I don’t think 3D is living quite up to its hype yet. Not technologically, and not among consumers. Thus far, it can only be characterized as “interesting,” by no means a “must.” There is no doubt that 3D is here to stay, but I don’t think it will be a “bread and butter” technology for a few years yet.
Q. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC?
The two-screen experience, connected TV, synchronized companion apps, synchronized widgets and synchronized Web apps.
Q. What’s new that you will show at IBC and that broadcasters should look for there?
We are showing our Synchronized Companion App Framework for the first time in Europe. This extension to our Interactivity Suite allows complementary content and functionality to become available on the second screen in sync with TV playout, even during live broadcast like news and sports. Reciprocally, it allows consumers to directly influence broadcast playout from their personal devices such as pads/tablets, smartphones, etc. We introduced this technology at NAB in April, and the first Synchronized Companion Apps are already in use. Both broadcasters and consumers are enjoying the benefits. At IBC we are showing a few examples of how our customers are using the solution.
Q. How is your new product offering different from what’s available on the market?
Over the last year, we have seen several products, which enable second-screen synchronization with taped content, typically based on sound watermarking or sound fingerprinting. Our product is different in two ways. First, it works perfectly with live productions (news and sports) and with unscheduled and even unexpected events. Second, it includes a return channel, allowing viewers to influence the broadcast playout in real time. Take for example, a breaking news situation. As the story unfolds on TV, relevant background material is being pushed to consumers’ second screen. The producer may decide to ask the audience for contributions to the evolving story. He or she may then shoot off an ad-hoc poll to the viewers’ smartphones/tablets, and with one keystroke bring their second-by-second sentiments onto the TV screen. Also, contributed tweets, images, Facebook updates, text messages and so forth are immediately available to enhance the live storytelling. We are showing at IBC how the location data of viewer contributions can be tagged in real-time 3D maps, enhancing the value of viewer-generated content for live news and sports.
Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
We’re a technology company with 15 employees based in Oslo, Norway, and satellite offices in the United States and United Kingdom. Our technology base was invented 10 years ago as a universal platform architecture for development of interactive TV formats, regardless of network topography, consumer terminal or playout technology. Our Interactivity Suite is in use by broadcasters worldwide and powers a wide variety of interactive formats, ranging from hyper local stations to the biggest international brands, from social media integration during BBC’s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest final to the American 365/24/7 nonstop interactive music video network SWRV.
Q. How many years have you been going to the IBC show and what’s your fondest memory? What’s your favourite restaurant or pub?
I love Amsterdam and always look forward to coming here. This is our sixth year as an exhibitor. I always try to spend at least one evening at Maxwell Café at Beukenplein. Great, friendly atmosphere, good multi-culturally inspired home-cooked food.
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