IBC 2019 Cloudy, Streaming and 8K

In this thought-provoking missive, Gary Olson delivers his predictions and insights for IBC 2019.

As IBC approaches, I thought I’d dust off my crystal ball and see if I can guess some of the hot topics and products to expect. I fully expect IBC to be very cloudy, not Amsterdam weather, just the show floor. More and more products are becoming cloud based plus cloud storage is becoming more attractive. Of-course, the pricing models for storage and retrieve still need a lot of improvement, but I expect that will happen.

More and more applications are moving to the cloud with a subscription model rather than a license model. While the financial aspect may be attractive as an OpEx, will it be restrictive in using multiple vendor products, due to the interoperability challenges between cloud products? Additionally, even staying with one cloud provider, there is a toll cost as media moves between different cloud products or plug-ins.

Cloud Interoperability

So, the actual OpEx costs will vary as different production tools are needed or B-Roll content is required. I strongly suggest anyone looking at cloud solutions ask the hard questions regarding interoperability, integration to other products, and total cost of ownership. Cloud certainly reduces the on-premise costs of hardware, software, power, and environment. However, a good cost comparison doesn’t hurt.

The other consideration in moving to cloud based products is the use of open Internet connections. First, there’s the bandwidth discussion, how much is required during heavy production? What impact does it have on business operations, or is that a separate service? As more services move to the cloud, what about redundancy of connectivity? Then there’s cybersecurity!

We are all highly confident the cloud provider is secure and taking the right precautions, but the endpoint device connecting to the cloud is the most vulnerable and having a firewall doesn’t prevent someone from going to a website and downloading something bad. Endpoint protection is a very important consideration if using cloud services across an open internet connection.

Streaming and Mobile

One of my observations recently is that at IBC vendors seem to be more focused on streaming and mobile based solutions. I expect there will be a lot of IoT (Internet of Things) concepts floating around although I don’t see that playing a major role in production. I do expect there will be lots and lots of streaming production products, and lots of vendors now integrating streaming technology into their main products. The streaming services will definitely be present with all kinds of exciting offerings.

I anticipate there will be considerable focus on UGC (User Generated Content) and field production using the open Internet for media or sharing between venues. That leads us to a new format discussion. What is the best and most robust format to use for media using the open Internet for transport? With the recent acquisition by ViZRT of NewTek, there should be some interesting conversations or new product discussions on NDI as the preferred format using the open Internet. Except VSF has introduced RIST (Reliable Internet Stream Transport) as the better solution for media over Internet. So, there’s a few things to sort out.

Mobile devices have become standard for contribution, so there will be lots of products that integrate content wireless from mobile devices into switched programming. With the imminent roll-out of 5G, productions using mobile devices will benefit significantly. And with new mobile devices capable of 4K & 8K video, it has the potential to have some impact on the camera companies. There will likely be a number of products based on mobile production and using wireless for audio, video and communications. So, that means vision mixers with wireless capability, audio consoles, and intercom. Will return monitoring use streaming?

Japan Olympics 8K

With the Japan Olympics looming there should be a lot of 8K stuff. That also puts stress on network and storage. I am guessing MIMO (Multi-In & Multi-Out) will become a new word over dinner conversations. By the way, that’s how 8K is transmitted uncompressed.

The IP Pavilion will continue to help educate on how IP can be implemented. The recent announcement by the EBU promoting the adoption of NMOS will help move IP forward. The AIMS Alliance announced an interest in creating a specification for the PROAV sector, not to be confused with the Professional Media sector. AIMS is planning a pavilion on Audio and Video over Ethernet (AVoE), for their new initiative. Maybe this is to address the HDMI monitoring connection that isn’t ST2110. Of-course there’s the SDVoE Alliance (Software Defined Video over Ethernet) that’s been around for a few years promoting their standard. Ah well!

HUGE Storage Files

One potential interesting group to look at are the storage guys. With all this 4K and 8K production – maybe, storage becomes a big deal. This is HUGE file stuff! Think about post-production and all the B-Roll content. If a 1-hour, 8K program, is produced at a modest 3:1 shooting ratio, that’s 7.29 TB for each hour. But not to worry because 4K is so much more reasonable at 741.6 GB per hour. So given these parameters, storage is moving from Terrabytes, to Petabytes, to Exabytes, Zettabytes, and Yottabytes! And remember storage is not only about capacity, it’s also about throughput. And what if you are working in the cloud?

So, I think IBC 2019 will be fun and enlightening with lots of activity in cloud and streaming. I predict 5G will have a larger presence than ATSC 3.0. Since the mandate for OBS is to produce the Olympics in 8K, there will products galore supporting that.

Enjoy the Show. I will report on what really happened once it happens.

Editor’s Note: Gary Olson has a book on IP technology, “Planning and Designing the IP Broadcast Facility – A New Puzzle to Solve”, which is available at bookstores and online.

Editor’s Note: Gary Olson has a book on IP technology, “Planning and Designing the IP Broadcast Facility – A New Puzzle to Solve”, which is available at bookstores and online.

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