After two years of cancellations NAB is finally back!
For as long as I can remember vendors have been talking about the value of tradeshows. With NAB and IBC six months apart and the huge investment in both time and money, it’s not surprising that vendors regularly question the value of attending. However, it is certainly my opinion that tradeshows provide a huge service for the broadcasting community.
Television has reached a technical maturity and we no longer need to see equipment working on the trade show floor to believe it exists and does what it says on the tin. The advances in both hardware and software over the past ten years has created a stable platform with which vendors can provide solutions unique to media, and this allows us to focus more on understanding how the solution functions for our application rather than whether it works.
Although it’s certainly important to understand the value of a vendor’s proposition, for me, what is equally important is the relationship broadcasters build with vendors. Broadcasting may have reached maturity, but it hasn’t reached commoditization. That is, there is still a lot of customization that goes on as each broadcaster has a unique way of working. Broadcasters may share similar core components within systems, but how they are connected and interact is unique to their facility.
This level of customization, whether in the cloud, on-prem, SDI/AES, or IP, relies heavily on the relationship a broadcaster has with a vendor, and vice versa. It’s fair to say that in an ideal world every solution would cover all the customizable options a broadcaster requires, but this is simply impractical. And despite the efforts of every development engineer, there is always a big sale hanging on a feature that is yet to be released. It’s this relationship between the broadcaster and vendor that helps smooth out these anomalies.
There is also the outstanding opportunity for networking. This isn’t just about finding your next job, but also helps technologists exchange ideas and understand better methods of working. Zoom calls may well have been our savior during lockdown, but I find it difficult to have productive creative discussions where ideas can flow from team call over videoconferencing. Chance encounters rarely exist in a virtual room and for me, it’s the randomness of bumping into long-forgotten colleagues that adds to the productivity and excitement of tradeshows.
It's fair to say that the number of exhibitors and attendees will probably be lower compared to previous exhibitions, but regardless of the reduction in attendance, there will still be tens of thousands of attendees walking the floor, having chance encounters, and finding a new vendor that will provide just what they were looking for, and of course catching up with their existing suppliers.
NAB is back and IBC is just around the corner!