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News from IBC 2011

If it’s September and you’re visiting Amsterdam, there’s a good chance you’re attending the International Broadcasters Conference or IBC.  As the main global show involved with the production AND delivery of video, it seems that the vast majority of people on my plane were involved with encoding, decoding, or transporting video.  The result is a techno-invasion of nearly 50,000 people in a medium sized city, cramping hotels, restaurants, roads, and the RAI convention center.  Think of it as a physical metaphor for the video wave that is coming…

From a news perspective, the big theme at the show was not as much 3-D TV as last year, but rather a renewed focus on “any-content-to-any-device” or n-screen in some industry parlance.  We take it a step further by extending the concept to even devices on unmanaged networks or unmanaged services-- Cisco Videoscape, which had two major announcements:

  • KT, a top telecommunications provider in Korea announced that they are advancing its systems architecture in line with the vision of Cisco Videoscape and are deploying technology from the Videoscape portfolio.  All of this is part of its desire to enable a new culture for ‘N Screen’ media services by offering connections to a wide range of content including video, audio, e-books and online games.
  • Telenor, from Norway, also announced it will be using Videoscape technology in its Satellite Broadcasting division to enable their customers to deliver their channel offerings across any number of screens.

On the show floor, virtual studios seemed to be more prominent today than the past few years of IBC, with lots of live green-screening going on… but otherwise it seemed the most vendors were primarily highlighting piece-parts… not solutions.. and definitely not architectures as Cisco is with Videoscape.

Certainly a few vendors are using the architecture word, but they aren’t nearly as comprehensive and, ironically, tend to look at the network as an afterthought.  How it could be relegated to that level is totally foreign to me – sure, it’s hard to deliver and needs to make everything work… but without an obsessive focus on it, you’ll be stuck in a silo-centric view that won’t really be able to deliver on the full vision.  I suppose that that difference is thinking – to take on the challenge of the network and work in the blurry areas between the network, cloud, and clients --  is just one more way that sets Cisco apart from the competition as the real wave of video continues to come.

More news, both about the network and video, is coming soon over the next week – stay tuned, thanks for following us on SP360, and all the best from Amsterdam.

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