The office has returned to its usual buzz at our headquarters in Burlington, MA now that everyone is back from Amsterdam and IBC2014. This year’s International Broadcasting Convention attracted over 55,000 people from around the world, all interested in the future of electronic media and entertainment technology.
I had a chance to catch up with three of our jet lagged Signiant crew about the most interesting thing they encountered. Here’s what Margaret Craig, Rick Clarkson, and Nelson Hsu had to say about this year’s IBC.
SDN awareness is growing
Signiant CEO Margaret Craig spent most of the conference in meetings and a panel discussion with other top industry executives. Since she began her career as an engineer in media technology and then spent decades as a business leader in the space, Craig has a keen interest in how well media professionals understand the technology they use. This year, she was struck at the depth of knowledge displayed about cloud software design. “People are getting very comfortable with the cloud, not just in the sense that they can integrate it into their workflow or keep some of their assets in cloud storage, but how the mechanism of delivering software through the cloud or SaaS adds value to their business,” Craig said. “Now that Media Shuttle is out there, they’ve experienced the benefits of true cloud software like rapid innovation. Then they hear us explain our SDN-like architecture, and elements such as separating the control plane and data plane really make sense to them.”
Cloud resistance is disappearing
Rick Clarkson, our VP of Product Management, was also impressed by attendant’s comfort level with the cloud. “As a person who’s gone to IBC for six years with Signiant, it was remarkable to see the shift from previous years,” Clarkson said. “The cloud is almost universally accepted now, not for every project, but definitely in certain cases.” He went on to speak of how all the meetings he had with enterprise companies interested in our on-premises system-to-system solution, Managers+Agents, ended up in conversations about how and when to use the cloud. “Most people want to adopt a kind of hybrid architecture,” he said, “and Signiant’s product line allows them the freedom to do that.”
8K is here
Nelson Hsu, our VP of Business Development and Alliances, brought back a contagious excitement about increasingly high-resolution video. NHK, Japan’s only research institute specializing in broadcast technology, exhibited the world’s first 8K system at IBC, including cameras, LCD, and the interface connecting them. “It’s interesting to see the continued focus on enhanced imagery technology,” said Hsu. “It was quite something to witness how things like high dynamic range and 8K improve image quality.” And, since it also greatly increases file size, continued innovation in imagery technology will drive greater requirements for file storage, especially archiving. “As post houses increase the volume of their finished work,” said Hsu, “their storage requirements will have to grow.”
Like the others, Hsu ended up speaking about the industry’s adoption of cloud software, including a tiered storage strategy with some storage in the cloud. But ever-increasing file sizes have implications beyond storage. “As the amount of data grows because of production, the more need every company involved in the process from production to post-production will have for cloud-based file transfer software.” Cloud software’s ability to automatically scale according to size is a major reason the industry is attracted to it. After all, 8K could eventually become 16K and so on, and what creative wants to be hampered by something like file size?
IBC is always a milestone in the year for the broadcasting technology industry, and that’s certainly true for us. It’s energizing to speak face-to-face with our customers around the world and meet other media technology innovators. And of course, it’s always nice to have an excuse to go to Amsterdam. We hope to see you next year!