The DTG Team @ IBC 2016 September 9th to 13th 2016, RAI Amsterdam

Our DTG Team of experts will be at IBC 2016 for the duration of the show – here you can see what they are looking forward to at IBC this year along with their top tips and recommendations for making the most of Amsterdam.

Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO, DTG

Our DTG team will be out in force and Richard our CEO will be summarising his thoughts during The IBC 2016 Wrap-Up: Identifying the key trends on the last day of the conference but here's a heads-up of what he's looking forward to during his 17th visit to the show:

Richard Lindsay-Davies

What do you think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?

From what our Members are interested in we believe that key trends will be Interoperability, UHD, PVR and the timescales for IPTV. We're also seeing a great deal of interest in VR, Content Rights and Spectrum.

What will the DTG be highlighting at IBC 2016?

We'll be speaking to Members about our new Initiatives. As usual we've been involved in the Technical Paper Committee which is the cornerstone of the IBC Conference. We'll also be chairing a Paper Session on 360 degree video on Saturday 10th September - and don't forget I'll be doing the IBC Wrap-Up Session at 11:30am on Monday 12th September.

What are your top tips for surviving IBC?

Keep focused, book half hour meetings and be really friendly and pragmatic in meetings. Try to keep some meetings down to 10 minutes so you can spend longer on those which you know will be important.

What are your favourite places in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

The Supper Club is the go-to place for FUN. The best way for me to unwind is to walk down Prinsengracht to get a drink at Envy in the early evening, and then head to the Dylan Hotel for dinner and a nightcap. It has great ambience and amazing levels of service - I can't recommend it enough.

Ian Medland, Head of Technical Development, DTG Testing

This will be Ian’s 18th IBC and here’s what he’s looking for at this year’s show and a recommendation of what to see while you’re there:

Ian Medland

What do you think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?

I’m interested in the direction the conference as a whole will take. I feel the industry is at a real branching point between technologies and I’m interested to see which path will capture people’s imagination the most.

HDR technology is definitely going to make a big appearance at IBC. I think the main focus will be demonstrating the ability of the technology rather than the advancement of the technology itself.  It also looks like there is going to be an onward march of OTT IP technology, it will be interesting to see if any new competitors emerge for Netflix and Amazon Instant Video services at IBC this year.

High frame rate technology (HFR) looks as though it is the next obvious move for the industry. HFR is likely to be a lot easier to achieve than 8k standards that some people think is the next move. The manufacturing cost of HFR technology is significantly lower than 8k which would require entirely new panels to be made for production lines. I don’t feel the consumer market is quite ready for 8k yet but HFR looks like it is just around the corner.

Home automation integration with TVs is something I am keeping my eye on. Samsung is making a push for TVs to act as a control hub for the home which I feel is an interesting development that has a lot of potential.

As for Virtual Reality (VR) I think the amount we will be seeing will depend a lot on what part of the conference you are at. VR video and 360° capture equipment are likely to be on display but there will have to be a big push to convince me this is the future of entertainment technology.

Augmented Reality (AR) has a lot of potential for entertainment purposes and developers have clearly tapped into something with Pokémon GO. There is still a lot of discovery to be done in this field and I look forward to seeing how this will influence the broadcasting market.

What are your favourite places in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

Vondelpark is a must for me. It is like an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the conference. The entrance is quite hidden so people may not see it from the outside which adds to the exclusivity of the place.

Ranjeet Kaur, Head of Product Testing, DTG

This will be just Ranjeet’s second IBC on behalf of the DTG and here’s what she’s looking for at this year’s show and some tips for your visit:

Ranjeet Kaur

What do you think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?

I think Virtual Reality (VR) will be everywhere, there is a tendency in the TV industry to pick up new and emerging technologies very quickly. Especially at IBC which is an event that tends to focus on the latest trends. I see a lot of potential for VR in the gaming market but I will be interested to see how much of an impact it makes on the programme making industry.

Ultra-High Definition (UHD) is likely to still rule the convention. Everything we will be seeing will be UHD. You can already see this is the future from the trends in IP streaming set-top boxes/ TVs being produced today. These receivers are capable of displaying UHD HDR content. I think there will also be a lot of talk about HDMI 2.1 and I’m interested to see where that can take us.

In the UK market we have already seen a massive demand shift for more UHD-ready TVs – significantly beyond that of any other European market. The only exception to this has been Germany which comes a close second to the UK. This spike in sales occurred April and May which was probably caused by the Euro 2016 tournament and shows there is a real desire by consumers for 4k content at home.”

What are your top tips for trade show survival?

It’s very important to know where your targets are at the conference. Make sure you go with a purpose as well. Pre-plan your meetings as well, this will free up a lot of your time.

I find it is also important to make sure you have a bit of a flexible time at the conference too. A new opportunity will inevitably be presented to you and when it does you want to have enough time to be able to do something about it.

Parties can be good for networking but I don’t find it too useful talking to strangers. I much prefer to focus on talking to our members to help grow our relationship with them. However, everyone works differently, some peoples’ jobs rely entirely on networking and for them I would recommend attending lots of events.

What are your favourite places in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

I haven’t had much of an opportunity to explore Amsterdam since I’ve only been to one IBC but I thought the Keukenhof Tulip Garden was lovely last time I was there. Fresh flowers and colourful ambience rejuvenates and refreshes you.”

Is there anything you particularly want to see at IBC this year?

I’m looking forward to being able to see what the application developers for the TV market are up to at IBC this year.

It will also be interesting to see the home automation technology on display that puts the TV as the control point. At the moment the fundamental use for TVs are still audio and visual but there are more and more features being added TVs every year. I think home automation will ultimately depend on how much people want to use and adopt the software and hardware that they are provided.

George Robertson, Principal IP Engineer, DTG

George has been to IBC three times for the BBC and twice for the DTG. Here’s what he’s looking for this year, and a recommendation of what to see while you’re there:

George Robertson

What do you think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?

I think IP technology in the content production market will be big at IBC this year. It’s going to be really interesting to see if companies are going to be able to make existing and expensive methods of production accessible to wider scope of producers.

Being able to use multiple 4G transceivers to send video over mobile is also something I’m going to keep my eye out for this year. I think there is a lot of untapped potential in this market. In my mind, it definitely has the potential to revolutionise the electronic news gathering (ENG) industry. At the moment, when people using satellite phones try to contribute to a live news programme their streams are often grainy which would no longer by an issue if multiple 4G transceivers are being used.

On the whole I’m not expecting too many big surprises at IBC this year though.

What are your top tips for trade show survival?

IBC is really what you make of it. It can be very easy to walk around and get a bit lost in the noise.

When you’re talking to a company, make sure you know you’re talking to the right person. Ensuring you have a meaningful interaction with another company requires good discipline. Don’t just exchange business cards and promise to talk to each other in a few weeks because it will most likely not achieve what you want it to.

Contacts that I find often go somewhere are the ones I wasn’t expecting to make. Maybe this is because conversations that happen away from the stand can be a lot more meaningful than those on the stand. You find people are a lot less likely to rattle off the script they have been told to memorise and as a result you get to know them a lot better. So, my advice is to know what you’re going to say to someone before you start talking and know what it is you really want from them.

Also, don’t have that one last drink the night before a big day.

What are your favourite places in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

The Rijksmuseum is one of my favourite places in Amsterdam. It really showcases how intelligent the Dutch people are because of how they can make very functional things so simple and beautiful. It provides a nice opportunity to step away from IBC that can often feel like a sprawling technological monster.

The Anne Frank house is also nice because I feel it always provides me with a good grounding.

Is there anything you particularly want to see at IBC this year?

I’d like to see where the IP streaming solutions market is aiming – to see if they’re aiming at the OTT market or the broadcast market instead. I think depending on which path they chose at this fork in the road will significantly change the entire industry.

On the whole, I am looking forward to seeing if companies are designing innovative ways to make the content we create more accessible to the market. Whether it be making existing technology cheaper, easier to use or redesigning things entirely – I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Ian Mecklenburgh, Special advisor/agent, DTG

Ian has attended IBC more than ten times, for Virgin, BBC, Sky and DTG. Here are the trends he's predicting this year, and some tips for IBC and Amsterdam:

Ian Mecklenburgh

What do you think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?

I think there will be a lot of evolution rather than anything revolutionary at IBC 2016. The industry has reached a level of coherency with UHD, the core platforms are already out there, but we need sufficient time for the ecosystem to fully adopt everything there is to offer. I personally am a bit of a UHD sceptic from the customer experience POV absent HDR, but it will be interesting to see how this is picked up across the existing consumer and broadcast base.

High frame rate (HFR) technology is another thing to look out for this year. This is usually what happens when a technology like HFR is introduced to the market, there is a considerable lag between technology and mass deployment. I think there could be a lot of bandwidth allocation issues around this technology (in ‘traditional’ and IP platforms) along with further updates needed across a production and distribution chain still debating investments in 4K and HDR.

Virtual reality (VR) in the context of TV/video (not gaming) will probably be making less of an impact at IBC than many people think. I get the impression this has reached its “3D moment” so to speak and we will be seeing a decline in demand for this as a ‘TV’ technology over the coming months.

Augmented reality (AR) however, is another matter. The recent boom in use on smartphones (not just with Pokémon!) we have seen stands testament to demand by consumers. It is a lot more adaptable than VR and as a result I think we will be seeing developers and content producers making more use of it. Right now it is unclear how the TV industry will make use of AR but it is certainly a new technology that has potential to enhance existing programming and properties.

The DTG is really hoping to be able to act as broker between manufacturers and developers to help make some sense out of the confusion that accompanies the evolution of platforms and rapid growth of emerging technology like AR/VR and of course the inexorable move to IP platforms. We are focused heavily on how to achieve interoperability within the market that has grown from ‘TV’ to a range of platforms providing digital entertainment. It will be interesting to see what comes out as the biggest ‘new things’, but more importantly what the talk behind the scenes is highlighting that the industry needs to deal with.

What are your top tips for trade show survival?

Definitely make sure everyone’s contact numbers are up to date. There is nothing worse than needing to contact someone at a crucial moment and then not being to get hold of them.

RAI Amsterdam is huge. Make sure when you prearrange meetings that you take into account how far you have to walk to get there! As a result, I always leave extra time to buffer meetings both before and after when they are arranged.

Oh, and make sure that you keep the local time in the text of the meeting!

What are your favourite places in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

Envy and The Dylan are two current favourite restaurants in Amsterdam, but for a bit of IBC and Dutch nostalgia I like the Five Flies (d'Vijff Vlieghen). Other than that it’s great to make use of all of the outdoor spaces where you can actually sit and talk to people away from all of the noisy venues, the rooftop bar at Doubletree is also a good place to unwind (although they always seem to close too early…).

Is there anything you particularly want to see at IBC this year?

The main two areas I want to investigate are what is happening with compression and distribution (supporting wider IP distribution of live and on-demand) and how augmented reality (AR) is being considered. Both of these have a lot of potential to change how we consume content in different ways and it will be interesting to see which direction manufacturers and developers are moving. Search, discovery and recommendation are also key to anything we will be doing in the future, but I’m not sure IBC is the place the big picture for these really comes to the fore.

The DTG has a pivotal role to play in removing the confusion around these various emerging technologies and managing long term interoperability in the UK, so seeing how well the providers and standards bodies are playing together is of course something I always want to see at IBC.

Peter Sellar, Associate Director, Broadcast, DTG

Peter has attended four IBCs for the DTG, and two on behalf of Freesat. Here are his predictions for this year's trends, and some tips for IBC and Amsterdam:

Peter Sellar

What do you think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?

I think there will be a lot of talk about virtual reality and 360° video (VR) along with high dynamic range (HDR) technology being discussed a lot at IBC this year.

VR is maturing as a technology and I feel the market is really beginning to understand the direction VR can take us. However, there still needs to be some clarification as to where its strengths lie in the entertainment industry as it is still very much games orientated.

The BBC have been using 360° video for the Olympics in Rio which caught my interest as it is the first time they have used it on such a large scale. The main reservation I have about this new stream of immersive technology such as VR and 360° video is that it takes away from the how entertainment content has been traditionally viewed in a social environment. The TV has traditionally been the centre piece in a living room and these innovations challenge that. There are some in the industry who feel that these technologies are not the future but I am very open to being convinced and am curious as to how the consumers will react to these latest developments.

HDR is the other big thing, this is what really makes the difference ih UHD and with standards now being agreed I can see this really helping to deliver that step change that consumers will sit up and see.

Content delivery to mobile devices will again be a talking point at IBC this year. We still seem to be some way from the industry investing in broadcast delivery of content to mobile devices at scale rather than for specific events or venues, but the decisions on the best tech solution have not yet been made with arguments for and against the contenders continuing. Peoples’ behaviour on mobile devices is constantly changing and if the consumer really wants live broadcast the tech will be there ready to deliver it; which is what is currently making it so hard.

What are your top tips for trade show survival?

Plan your meetings carefully, the RAI is big and not a place where you can get from one end to the other in 5 minutes. If you’re also going to the conference plan your sessions you want to attend early, meetings can quickly fill your timetable but the insights you can get at the conference are excellent.

My parents would laugh to hear me say this, but get at least one proper meal a day, eating at the food joints for the entire exhibition really won’t do you good. I won’t go as far as to say always eat breakfast as I normally miss it as I’m catching up on sleep due to not following my last tip.

Be sure not to stay out too late on the first night. You will definitely not have a productive weekend if you do.

What are your favourite places in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

The Dylan is one of my favourite places. Nice food, nice drink, good atmosphere. You can’t go wrong.

I also like to wonder around the canals to take a break when the conference gets too busy. And also getting a good seat outside a bar on one of the squares, you can relax with friends and do some people watching, but not for too long, see my previous tip.

Is there anything you particularly want to see at IBC this year?

There are a few sessions on HDR and on advances in terrestrial and mobile video broadcasting I want to catch, also getting a chance to look at some of the stands of our members is always useful, it’s one thing to be dealing with the standards in broadcast tech, but seeing these implemented in products and solutions makes the results more tangible.