Looking to the Future at IBC 2013

One of the main benefits of attending IBC, and one of the main reasons that 50,000 + people from 160 countries do so every year, is to understand what the future holds for the industry.

In the exhibition, 1,400 and more key suppliers showcase their latest wares that will power the world’s electronic entertainment and media industry forward over the coming year; and in the conference you will find debates and discussions over the direction the industry will take in the forthcoming decade.

But for a really deep look into the world of tomorrow, the IBC Future Zone, which is situated next to Hall 8, is hard to beat. This is where the concepts and prototypes from the world’s R&D Labs often get their first public airing and is a part of the show which regular IBC attendees always swing by to check out what is happening.

The 2013 exhibitors are led, as ever, by NHK, whose annual showing of the latest advances in its 8K Super Hi-Vision technology has become something of an IBC institution. This year visitors to its stand can see the world’s first realtime 8K encoder running under the new HEVC codec, as well as a new single-chip compact camera that sees the units becoming steadily smaller and thus more flexible and portable.

Elsewhere, BBC R&D will reveal the latest advances of its various research teams; HBB-NEXT will showcase its augmentations to the European HbbTV standard, including implementing facial recognition technology so that a TV set makes personal recommendations according to whoever is sitting in front of it; Korea’s ETRI will demo a satellite UHDTV broadcasting service via Ka-band, which adopts rain fade mitigation schemes to provide channel-adaptive service availability; and ViSTA TV will demonstrate prototype applications enabled by realtime information obtained from live streams of IPTV audience data.

It’s a fascinating collection of technologies, and there’s far more than there is space to mention here. A visit to the Future Zone is much recommended.

One of the perennial obsessions in the Future Zone has been in creating a more engaging entertainment experience for the viewer, which is also one of the main themes underpinning this year’s conference. It is also, of course, one of the main themes preoccupying the entire industry: how do you keep hold of viewer eyeballs in the face of so much competition for their attention from so many different screens?

One of the ways, of course, is to co-opt that second screen yourself, and there are several sessions looking at all things to do with the companion screen in an impressive range on contexts, from their use in a live environment in sports stadia through leveraging the power of social media and on to the always thorny topic of monetisation.

One of the most intriguing ones, though, is ‘Waiting for the ‘‘Sergeant Pepper’’ Moment’ on Saturday 14 September at 13.30 which promises to be a provocative look at creativity in the digital age and features such luminaries as Godfrey Reggio, Director of ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ and ‘Naqoyqatsi’. As the session description puts it: “Forty-six years on [from ‘Sergeant Pepper’] we have creative technologies that make the Beatles’ Abbey Road equipment look like stone axes and wooden spears. Still, the way we create and tell stories has remained virtually unchanged for a century.”

The chances of it staying the same for another century, however, are slim. And IBC2013 will provide the best seats in the house for seeing exactly what that future will hold.

For more information about the IBC Conference and Pass types please visit www.ibc.org/register