Normally during a big trade show, such as NAB or IBC, we would have a blog from the show floor – primarily to give our readers not attending the show a glimpse into the main topics of discussion and general vibe at the convention center. The sharp-eyed among you will, therefore, have noted that we’re a little late on this one – sorry – the show was simply that busy that we never had the opportunity. To make it up to you, we’ve compiled show highlights from some of our Academy all-stars.
Ben: The one comment that has stuck with me from the show was, “It’s nice to have a focus on technology after all the mergers and acquisitions of last year!”
I don’t think it’s fair to say that the industry stopped innovating or releasing new products last year, it’s simply that the news and talk at both last NAB and IBC was largely around the quantity and nature of all the M&A activity and, as a result, many key developments were overlooked.
This year, not only did we start to see some of the benefits of the merging of disciplines and technologies, such as the combination of the Dalet Galaxy Workflow Engine and Dalet AmberFin transcoder, but also some significant steps forward in support of 4K/UHD workflows, IP and virtualization.
Kevin: Being another busy NAB, I had very little time to walk the floor. But in meeting a lot of present and future customers and partners, I noted two key takeaways.
It seems that our industry is getting out of all the Cloud “buzz” and entering a time where there are actual professional applications for it. It feels like everyone is much more educated around the topic of Cloud. Broadcasters, media organizations and vendors alike understand better the challenges and opportunities that it brings from a business point of view, and how it can / should fit in their operations. I think we are finally in a position where we can start to use the cloud for smart workflows and was really happy with the warm reception for our various cloud initiatives, particularly the showcase of our “Newsroom in the Cloud.”
Collaboration was another major highlight at the show. Everyone seemed highly interested in the topic. In Dalet systems, we have been implementing and promoting collaboration tools for many years, whether in the facility, across different locations or for users on the field. But this year, the interest and feedback we received about our latest improvements (like bringing some social collaboration tools into the professional world) was way beyond any response we’d gotten in the past. Having various talents collaborating to produce better content seems now to be a priority for our customers, and I’m happy we are in as good a position as ever to help them do it.
Bruce: Many discussions of how to ready a business for UHD and whether that UHD would be higher resolution, higher frame rate, higher dynamic range, higher colour profiles or all of the above led to discussions on IMF – the interoperable mastering format. Personally I find this to be excellent news. Seven years on from specifying AS02, it is reassuring to see it reborn with shiny SMPTE IMF specifications and a better understanding in the industry as to the commercial benefits of working with media in a componentised form. Seeing the level of understanding amongst our customers leads me to believe that the transition to IT thinking is now firmly in train. No longer is “IT-based” a technology that you buy, it is a way of architecting and thinking about the business problems to be solved.
Stephane: It is interesting to see that this industry continues to evolve rapidly year after year. Information technology is an integral part of the future of radio and television. In the early days of Dalet, I used to say informally that our mission was to bring the best of IT technology to the broadcast and media industry. This continues today with Cloud-based solutions, IP distribution, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Business Process Management, and Dalet is at the forefront of that trend, bringing innovations that are changing and improving the workflows to produce and distribute content.
Constant change indeed, but with the need to link the old and the new, whether in formats, protocols, or workflows, to preserve valuable content produced in the past and make it available on an ever-increasing range of distribution platforms. These are factors of complexity: Will IT help us resolve these challenges? At Dalet we believe that emerging new standards and industry initiatives such as IMF or FIMS should help reduce that complexity. The whole industry should take part and benefit from these efforts.
Bruce summarizes: The big takeaway for me from both the show and this discussion is that there is no single dominant technological driver any more – there are a number that are pushing and pulling the industry in different directions. No single human can understand every nuance of the technological drivers, and so community education becomes more and more important. The great turnout that we had for all the free Dalet Academy presentations and workshops is a testament to the fact that our customers, partners, competitors and newcomers to the industry all need access to the latest information. I can’t predict the future, but I can be confident that the breadth of our work here at Dalet is helping prepare a broad section of the industry to be ready for that future.