A Guide to the SMPTE 2018 Symposium

This year’s SMPTE 2018 Symposium is going to be a thrilling ride for those who look forward to enjoying media in self-driving cars.

The SMPTE 2018 Symposium that takes place on Monday, October 22nd before the SMPTE 2018 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, is an opportunity to spend a whole day concentrating on a forward-looking issue that will be confronting the media industry.

As Michael Zink, program chair for the Symposium, said, “While the Technical Conference that fills the next three days of SMPTE 2018 is filled with peer-reviewed papers and presentations on a wide spectrum of topics of interest to the digital content creation industry, the Symposium is an opportunity to take a moderated deep dive into a topic that we are all going to be confronted with in the near future.”

This year’s theme will be “Driving the Entertainment Revolution: Autonomous Cars, Machine Intelligence and Mixed Reality,” and as Zink explained, “What we mean by that is what will be the in-car entertainment experience once self-driving cars become available everywhere.”

To Zink, this goes far beyond strapping an iPad onto the seat in front of you, but instead using the consumer experience in a vehicle that is driving itself as an opportunity for either an entertainment or learning experience.

Keynoter Doug Davis of the Automated Driving Group at Intel Corporation.

Keynoter Doug Davis of the Automated Driving Group at Intel Corporation.

This year’s Symposium keynote address, given in the San Francisco room at 9:45 AM by Doug Davis, senior vice president and general manager of the Automated Driving Group at Intel Corporation, will be “Experience the Power of Data,” dealing with how driverless transportation will spawn a “Passenger Economy” worth $7T by 2050.

Zink drew the picture that this could mean having screens replacing windows that could be your choice of transparent or opaque, letting you either augment the reality outside or completely replace it with their own images.

The point is that the experience inside a moving bubble traveling from one place to another will be completely different from sitting in a living room watching home theater.

“You could potentially use this form of transportation to take you to a completely different space,” Zink said.

For example, in the “Content Applications” session after the keynote, one of the presenters from Framestore, Mike McGee, will describe an experiment called “A Field Trip to Mars” where they covered the windows of a school bus with digital displays and, as the school kids were driven around, all they could see outside was the moving landscape of Mars. Even when the bus went over a bump, the images bounced up and down.” 

Video of "A Field Trip to Mars"

You could also use transparent displays, and with Augmented Reality technology make touring into a multi-dimensional entertainment experience.

The, after the lunch break, during which the “Women in Technology” luncheon will also take place as a separate activity, the afternoon will be dedicated to “Entertainment Enablement” sessions, discussing what technologies will be required to make these new media applications a reality.

“We’ll have representatives from Corning talking about whether it will be glass that will be needed, or a spokesperson from LG Display making the case for OLED screens,” Zink said. “Representatives from Panasonic and Sony will depict their ‘in cabin’ displays in which a self-contained cart utilizes some of the sensory inputs around it to enhance the entertainment experience for the passengers.”

Some of the speakers will touch on transportation entertainment technologies that exist on the road right now, for example Michael Hill from Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. (MBRDNA) will be talking about the media available today in their cars and how they use AI capabilities to detect who is in the car and what they are in the mood to do.

“Then in the late afternoon we’ll have a presentation from Mauricio Aracena of Ericsson looking at where we stand on 5G,” Zink said. “With all that extra data, it is going to open up many new possibilities.”

Perhaps most intriguingly, Jay Turcot from Affectiva will discuss the use of biometrics in a car to actually analyze the emotional state of the passengers.

“Lastly, we’ll close the afternoon with a talk from Marcus Kuehne of Audi about the interaction between the car and the content engine,” Zink said. “What type of information can be tailored toward the movements of the car and how do the manufacturers need to prepare themselves to take advantage of it?”

That’s more than even George Jetson ever dreamed of.

“Of course, a lot of this doesn’t have to wait for autonomous cars,” Zink finished up. “Most cars are already connected to a certain degree. The fact that a car has a driver doesn’t really change the experience in the back seat. So people who come to the Symposium will be challenged to consider how these technologies can be applied to the transportation we have today.”

But get your tickets early. The SMPTE 2018 Symposium is sure to sell out.

People who attend the Symposium should keep in mind that starting at 6:00 PM there will be a Luau Reception on the Pool Deck Plaza. It will be a great opportunity to discuss the inspiring ideas heard during the day’s presentations.

A ticket for the Luau is included for Symposium attendees, but an additional ticket purchase is required for those not registered for the Symposium.

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