IBC 2017: Record Visitors Reported, LiveArena Taps Microsoft Azure for AI-Driven Broadcast Room

IBC attracted a record number of visitors in its 50th year, IBC said Sept. 19, as the six-day event came to a close in Amsterdam.

Attendance grew to 57,669 this time, as visitors from across the expanding media ecosystem had the opportunity to learn about the opportunities offered by technologies including augmented reality, bots, the cloud, 5G, Internet Protocol (IP), over-the-top (OTT) TV, social media TV and virtual reality, IBC said in a news release.

Visitors to the 15 exhibition halls saw new product and service launches, while Launch Pad grew year-over-year with a record number of exhibitors, IBC said.

IBC introduced three new initiatives that it called “huge successes”: The IP Showcase, where large audiences viewed real-world demonstrations of proven IP end-to-end workflows for production and playout; The Startup Forum, held in association with Media Honeypot, that brought a new unique event structure matching startups and scaleups with investors; and the invite-only C-Tech Forum that brought together senior executives from across the media landscape to discuss and debate cyber security and 5G, “two key issues” that IBC said are impacting the industry.

The IBC 2018 conference will be held Sept. 13-17, 2018 and the exhibition will run Sept. 14-18, 2018.

Microsoft Azure/LiveArena
LiveArena used IBC 2017 to announce the launch of LiveArena Broadcast Room, a production solution that it said Sept. 19 is based on artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced pattern recognition, and enables “fully automated production of live TV” with no production staff required.

Built entirely on Microsoft Azure and using Azure Media Services, LiveArena Broadcast is a turnkey, end-to-end service that LiveArena said “allows any organization to produce and broadcast live and on-demand TV to any device.”

“Integrating LiveArena Broadcast to Microsoft Azure and Azure Media Services enabled us to provide our customers with the best in simplicity and security on a global scale,” LiveArena CEO Anders Nilsson said in a news release. He added that LiveArena Broadcast Room will offer “the same simplicity for live event production” and called it “a big step towards realizing our vision of enabling any organization to have their own TV-channel.”

The advanced image detection technology supported by AI and machine learning used in LiveArena Broadcast Room were developed by the Dutch R&D organization TNO, LiveArena said.

To simplify the production process even more, LiveArena Broadcast Room includes a plug-in to Microsoft Office 365 as its only management interface, according to the announcement. The plug-in “enables full end-to-end control of an automated LiveArena Broadcast Room production from scheduling a live broadcast to invite viewers,” LiveArena said.

To further increase reach and accessibility of live TV-programming produced in a LiveArena Broadcast Room, the service will integrate Azure Media Services and Azure Media Analytics to offer a live speech-to-text solution and real-time translation functions that enable the on-screen subtitling of live broadcasts, as well as the live translation of those subtitles into more than 80 languages, LiveArena said.

“LiveArena’s specific use of Azure Media Services and Azure Media Analytics helps expand the availability of running live web broadcasts to a variety of market segments, supporting our mutual customers with increased audience reach, accessibility and content search functionality,” Sudheer Sirivara, Microsoft general manager for Enterprise Media, said.

LiveArena Broadcast Room will be available for delivery in the first quarter of 2018, LiveArena said.

TiVo’s Cubi Solutions are now available to Conax Arena customers, according to Conax.

TiVo’s Cubi Solutions platform was selected by Conax to be pre-integrated into the new Conax Arena flexible multiscreen hub, the companies said Sept. 18. Cubi Solutions were to be made available to Conax Arena customers at launch, the companies said in a news release, but didn’t specify the exact timing.

But Conax said Sept. 19 that Conax Arena was “available immediately” and was also already deployed at an unspecified European pay tv operator. Conax, a provider of content and service protection for digital entertainment services, developed the Conax Arena multiscreen hub to offer operators the ability to deploy a flexible, pre-integrated solution that encompasses all the key components needed to launch a complete multiscreen offering, according to the company.

Dolby said it successfully completed a High Dynamic Range (HDR) trial broadcast using SMPTE ST 2094-10, the company’s proposal for dynamic metadata within ATSC 3.0, FierceCable reported.

The trial was conducted at the ATSC 3.0 test station in Cleveland with partners the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Tribune Broadcasting and Triveni Digital, the report said. SMPTE ST 2094-10 is being reviewed as an ATSC Candidate Standard and “defines content dependent metadata creation for dynamic metadata that maximizes the experience delivered by the display of broadcast content,” according to Dolby. The HDR broadcast metadata test came as Dolby used IBC to demonstrate its advances with AC-4, which was selected as an ATSC 3.0 audio standard, and Dolby Vision, its HDR standard.