IP for Everyone
My first prediction for the coming year is that the use of IP to move broadcast content will increase dramatically. Ultimately, it will become the commonplace, just as the use of IP has become part of our everyday, consumer lives. Live sports are closely linked to this growth, as conversion of broadcast signals for transportation across established telecos networks enables content to be viewed in real-time, regardless if it’s in the next room or across the globe.
Our industry is increasingly being driven by consumer demand. Viewers now enjoy 4K TV and so now producing and transporting such content is essential. Media Links’ solutions have been 4K enabled for a while now and this will become expected industry-wide in the near future.
Show me the Money
No longer will technology be developed for technology’s sake. How we all make money will be the driving force behind expensive R&D resources. New product innovation will be required to have a defined market before development is instigated. Broadcast manufacturers will need to increase their business focus and satisfy needs being led by consumer demand.
Organizations are conscious of converging industries but some cling on to the past. The fact is that in the consumer world, industries have already converged in the interests of the ease of use of the end user. This will increasingly be the case in the broadcast industry, as we now start to transverse markets. Vertical sectors such as education, telemedicine and government for example, will now become viable targets for sales and product development.
Pace of Change
One future USP of many successful organizations will, quite simply be: speed to market. The world is changing so rapidly, those that can accurately identify consumer led applications and produce suitable solutions to address those needs, in a rapid time-frame, will reap the benefits.
Hardware – what Hardware?
Good question! Software defined networking will be the future of our industry.
Formats are not an issue for the general public! When my grandchildren come to stay, they are not fussing about their formats of their apps, they just want it to work. Interoperability needs to improve to the point it is accepted and expected. To achieve this, organizations need to work more closely together and agree and conform to industry standards – this must become the norm.
This year will host two of the world’s most watched sporting events: the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea in February plus the World Cup to be held in Russia in the summer. Live content will be more available for viewers than ever before, enabling them to enjoy the real-time action as it unfolds.
For the World Cup, for example, a total of 64 football games will be covered. The use of IP networks to transport live content, from the various events and football games will be critical, in conjunction with some very clever technology to ensure 100% hit-less availability for the live content.
We know a little about this project so I will descibe it: IP transport units will receive and process up to to 32 camera signals from each match, including all audio, video and data plus ultra HD signals. The streams will be produced in a local OB vehicle, then 12 mulitlateral signals will be transported over an existing telcos network which has been upgraded for the event, to the main broadcast studio in Moscow. Other signals produced from dedicated, specific broadcasters will also be transported onto the host signal dependant on regional consumer demand to view particular matches from around the globe enabling fans from all corners of the earth to view and enjoy the unprecedented live action of this high-profile event as it unfolds in real-time.
The World Cup and the Winter Games – another project we know a little about - are good examples of how changing viewing habits will now become established. However, the availability of different devices and mediums to suit the customer is only part of the story. Fan will now, literally, be able to follow their favorite athlete or team. It all comes back to satisfying the end user.
Similarly, virtual reality trials will take place this year, allowing fans to get closer to the action. Putting on a headset to create an immersive experience, whether that is for live sports or other applications we have not even thought of, will become increasingly commonplace.
Whatever next year holds, technology’s place in the world will be driven by consumer led demand and revenue applications. The most successful organizations will be those that recognize and fulfill these requirements. Here’s to a prosperous New Year and I hope you enjoy some of the live sports action scheduled for this year. I know we at Media Links will enjoy being part of the excitement which goes into creating the unforgettable viewing experience!