IBC 2018 SportTechBuzz in Review: Halls 4-7

The SVG Europe and SVG Americas editorial teams were out in full force at last week’s IBC Show, covering the biggest sports-technology news and delivering daily SportTechBuzz at IBC roundups. Here is a look at the IBC 2018 SportTechBuzz from Halls 4-7.

In this post, check out what these companies rolled out at IBC: Adder Technology, AJA Video Systems, Aspera, Avid, AWS Elemental, Blackmagic Design, ChyronHego, Cloudian, Encompass Digital Media, Imagine Communications, Limelight Networks, Marquis Broadcast, Maxon, Ncam Technologies, Primestream, Quantum, Red Bee, Tektronix, Telestream, Veritone, VITEC, Vizrt, and VSN.

Adder Technology (stand 7.A17) showcased a new VGA addition to its ADDERLink Infinity 100T (ALIF100T) range, the ALIF100T VGA. Responding to increasing customer demand the latest version enables connectivity between legacy analog and digital systems without the complexity and expense of additional convertors and adaptors. The company claimed the addition is ideal for customers with analog servers looking to maximize their investment. ALIF100T VGA connects and transmits those video sources enabling them to be controlled from a single source. As a result, users can gradually migrate to digital without a major ‘rip and replace’ operation and continue to gain value from their existing technology investments. Jamie Adkin, VP EMEA, explained at the Adder booth that the ALIF100T can be plugged straight into the back of any computer and takes up zero U of rack space, making it a popular item for OB trucks looking to save on space and power.

At its press conference at IBC, AJA (stand 7.C25) announced new tools and updates that optimize the creation and delivery of multi-format content, allowing professionals to embrace the latest 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 technology, as well as emerging IP and HDR standards and formats. From KONA 5 with 12G-SDI I/O and the IPR-10G2-HDMI and IPR-10G2-SDI SMPTE ST 2110 receivers, to the HDR Image Analyzer, AJA’s latest developments look to address the dynamic needs of production, post, broadcast, streaming, and AV professionals. The company also announced updates for its KONA, Io and T-TAP I/O products, FS-HDR converter, Ki Pro Ultra Plus digital recorder and player, and HELO for H.264 streaming and recording.

HDR Image Analyzer is AJA Video Systems’ HDR analysis and monitoring appliance powered by Colorfront software, offering an advanced toolset for quality control (QC) and mastering of 4K, UHD, HD, HDR and WCG content for broadcast, OTT entertainment, production, and post production. It will be available in Autumn 2018 for $15995.

Lastly, AJA Video Systems debuted KONA 5, a new 8-lane PCIe 3.0 video and audio I/O card supporting 12G-SDI I/O and HDMI 2.0 monitoring/output for workstations or Thunderbolt 3-connected chassis. KONA 5 supports 4K/UltraHD and HD high frame rate, deep color, and HDR workflows over a single cable. For developers, AJA’s SDK offers support for KONA 5 multi-channel 12G-SDI I/O, enabling multiple 4K streams of input or output. The KONA 5 capture and output card is interoperable with standard creative tools such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X, and Avid Media Composer. The card supports simultaneous capture with pass through monitoring when using 12G-SDI, and offers HDMI 2.0 output for connecting to the latest displays.

New product innovations have been introduced to ensure Aspera (7.B25) customers get up and running fast. The Aspera Streaming for Video solution, powered by FASPStream technology, now offers a new ability to quickly and easily launch and monitor connections within a simple web-based UI. The company also previewed the new Aspera Streaming for Video Connection Manager, which offers auto-discovery, management, and monitoring of streaming devices to enable quick and easy live and near-live streaming globally over commodity internet, even when facing difficult network conditions.

Avid (7.B55) highlighted its recent involvement with the inaugural European Championships. Avid MediaCentral was integral to delivering the event, which required a very close collaboration between the vendor and the organizers. As it was the first event of its kind, the project essentially entailed the creation of a specific visual identity for the Games. “Absolutely — identity is the word,” agreed Ray Thompson, director of broadcast and media solutions marketing at Avid. “It was a great collaboration between Avid and the organizers throughout the preparatory period, and they were delighted by the end result.”

AWS Elemental (5.C80) reflected on a big deployment this summer as part of global coverage of this summer’s big football tournament. Supporting numerous international rightsholders, AWS Elemental Media Services powered live streamed experiences as an estimated 3.4 billion people who watched with its equipment being used in the central equipment room by the tournament’s host broadcaster.

In addition, US Spanish-language rights holder Telemundo Deportes — powered by NBC Sports’ Playmaker Media — used AWS Elemental to send contribution streams from its network operations centre in Moscow back to NBC Sports in Stamford, Conn., and to power HD streaming of the matches nationally on En Vivo and NBC Sports apps. According to GlobalWebIndex, the largest TV audiences for this event were in Latin America. Among AWS deployments in that region were izzi, the largest cable provider in Mexico, which serves approximately 4.5 million households. izzi used AWS Elemental Media Services, AWS Elemental solutions, and the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network (CDN) for streaming premium channels and in the 40 matches that izzi had the rights to transmit games over the izzi GO app.

Also, AWS Elemental showcased a host of technology for content production and distribution designed to improve video quality, minimize bandwidth and storage capacity, and optimize viewing experiences, including cloud and on-premises AWS Elemental solutions that streamline ingest, production, processing, delivery, and networking as well as AWS Thinkbox to aid with content production. Visitors saw demos of machine learning services for building AI applications, cloud-based asset management and archive solutions and cloud-based virtual workstations as well QVBR, CMAF, and HDR.

Blackmagic Design (7.B45) got RAW at IBC with the public beta of a new and what the company calls a “very modern” codec that combines the benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed, and file sizes of traditional video formats. The key is moving part of the de-mosaic process into the camera where it can be hardware accelerated, improving encoding efficiency so that file size can actually be smaller than using other popular codecs. That means less work for applications that decode the files for users without any compromise of image quality and flexibility. It can be used from acquisition throughout post production for editing and color grading, all from a single file. “This is quite a big move for us,” said Stuart Ashton, director EMEA at Blackmagic Design. “In terms of quality size and the fact that it’s free of charge, the release of Blackmagic RAW is groundbreaking.”

ChyronHego (7.C21) previewed CAMIO 4.5, the next release of the company’s graphic asset management solution, with key features designed to make producer-driven news workflows even more versatile, flexible, and cost effective. CAMIO 4.5 enhancements include a powerful new render engine, the ability to publish content straight from the newsroom to social media, and the latest version of LUCI5, the HTML5 plugin for fulfillment interface.

Also, ChyronHego (7.C21) launched Vidigo News, an all-in-one newsroom production solution designed specifically for OTT content creation and publishing. Vidigo News packages ChyronHego’s Vidigo Live Compositor, a software solution for live multicamera production, with the LyricX graphics creation and playout solution, Live Assist playout automation system, and a custom GUI based on the Live Assist Panels user interface and control panel creation tool. Vidigo News combines a scalable switcher, audio mixer, video effects engine, LyricX graphics channel, clip players, and even robotic camera control into a single system that can be controlled by a single operator.

Lastly, Dutch Eredivisie is the latest major European football league to adopt ChyronHego’s (7.C21) Tracab optical tracking system. Eredivisie is using Tracab to collect and share real time data on player and ball movements for every match, enabling insight on team and player performance for all 18 Eredivisie clubs, as well as other stakeholders. Eredivisie joins the Premier League, the German Bundesliga, La Liga, and other high-profile football organizations that have adopted the Tracab tracking system. Every stadium in the Eredivisie League is outfitted with an array of special cameras mounted high up in each stadium to accurately register movements of each player and the ball at 25 times per second, resulting in around 3.5 million data points being collected per match.

Visitors to Cloudian’s IBC stand (7.A43) learned more about how to effectively tackle the challenge of storing all that unstructured data with infinitely scalable, on-premises object storage. Also, attendees learned about areas such as disk-based active archive and infinite scalability without disruption.

Before the start of IBC 2018, Encompass Digital Media (5.B75) announced a definitive agreement to acquire Babcock International Group’s Media Services business. At the show Encompass CEO Chris Walters explained that in addition to expanding his company’s scale in EMEA and adding international radio distribution to its suite of services, the Babcock acquisition will provide a major boost to its digital products portfolio. Among Babcock’s most notable customers is DAZN, one of the fastest growing live sports streaming platforms in the industry, for which it coordinates all aspects of the technical delivery, including network monitoring and supplier management.

Imagine Communications (4.A01) was on hand to demonstrate practical innovation and migration strategies that enable media companies to personalize the path and pace of their transition to next generation architectures and business models. IBC attendees were invited to bring their technical, operational, and business questions to Imagine experts who can share insight on key industry issues from how SMPTE ST 2110 actually works in the real world, to how value can be extracted from remnant advertising inventory, to when it makes sense to virtualize playout operations or transition content origination and distribution to a public cloud.

Earlier this year at the NAB Show, Imagine Communications CEO Tom Cotney, who came on board in December 2017, announced that he was splitting the company into two organizations: one focused on playout and networking and the other on advertising technology. Cotney’s vision, which is heavily reliant on the broadcast industry’s migration to IP-based systems, continued to take shape at Imagine’s IBC press conference. With 100 channels launched using IP technology over the past 90 days and a projected 58% CAGR in its IP playout business, Cotney proclaimed that ‘our big bet on IP is finally paying off”. “We made a big bet at Imagine on IP based technology and that is starting to feel a little more like a return on investment,” he continued. “So it’s nice to see those headwinds into tailwinds and getting some momentum behind you.”

In terms of playout, Imagine demoed its cloud-native microservices-based Versio Platform, Versio IOX storage solution designed, and Nexio+ AMP highest-density media server with hybrid SDI/IP and H.265 capability. Imagine also demonstrated various transition scenarios for migrating from traditional to next-generation playout operations at a pace that works for each individual customer.
In addition to playout, Imagine is showcasing its latest innovations for live production, including high capacity 100GbE network links, an intuitive live sports control panel that provides enhanced automation break manipulation, and SMPTE ST 2110-capable processing for HD, UHD, and IP.

Lastly, Imagine Communications worked with Italian systems integrator Chromaline to build a truck for Italian outside broadcast company, Global Production. The new truck is a first in terms of the number of true 4K Ultra HD cameras it supports and its comprehensive production capability. While there are a number of Ultra HD trucks on the road today, most rely on up-conversion of some cameras to provide the number of viewpoints that sports viewers expect. Global Production aimed for maximum quality, and asked Chromaline to investigate the practicalities of an uncompromised vehicle capable of supporting as many as 30 4K cameras.
“The challenge lies in the maximum size and weight of vehicle which can be taken on the roads,” said Nicola Dall’Asta, CEO at Chromaline. “It simply would not have been conceivable to fit everything into the truck using conventional technologies and architectures. The only solution was to make everything ourselves, relying upon software solutions as much as possible to maximize space and ensure the best operational environment for the crews.”

Limelight Networks (stand B.52) introduced Limelight Realtime Streaming, the first globally scalable, sub-second live video streaming solution that’s natively supported by major browsers and devices. The new service also supports integrated real time data, making it possible to create interactive live online experiences. As viewing data from the recent FIFA World Cup and live streaming services from social media platforms have revealed, people are watching more live events online than ever before. However, streams of live events are typically delayed from the broadcast feed by 30 seconds or more. Limelight Realtime Streaming eliminates these challenges by enabling organizations to stream live video from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world in less than a second, providing online viewers with the same experience enjoyed by broadcast viewers.

Marquis Broadcast showcased its disaster recovery and business continuity tools (7.D39), including the new Fotonflite secure transfer system. The company also demonstrated its Interplay Metadata Export Tool (IMET) in Europe for the first time, which enables customers to take an Avid Interplay project and media metadata and export it, along with developments in its Project Parking, Medway, and Edit Bridge solutions.

Maxon (7.A59) unveiled the last version of its signature VFX and motion graphics platform, Cinema 4D Release 20 (R20). According to Maxon president Paul Rabb, the new MoGraph toolset and volume-based modeling tools apply directly to motion-graphics creators in the sports-video sector. The MoGraph Fields feature makes it possible to efficiently control the strength of the effect using any combination of falloffs, from simple geometric shapes to shaders and sounds to objects and mathematical formulas. In addition, the OpenVDB-based Volume Builder and Mesher in Cinema 4D R20 offer an entirely new procedural modeling workflow. Any primitive or polygon object (including the new Fields objects) can be combined to create complex objects using Boolean operations.

Ncam Technologies announced the first European presentation of its portfolio of products and solutions that enhance the realism of augmented reality content. The company also showed its newest version of Ncam Reality, its second generation camera tracking solution.

Also, NCam demonstrated Real Light, which makes augmented graphics look real. Real Light, launched at NAB in April, captures real-world lighting and renders it onto augmented graphics in real time. Said Nic Hatch, CEO: “Real Light means you can start integrating CG into the real world. We’ve got a top tier UK broadcaster using our Unreal Engine plug-in that works with Vizrt for its Premier League shows to create a virtual set. The benefit of using a gaming engine is you have much higher fidelity in terms of ultimate quality; virtual sets will start to look real.”

For the first time in Europe, Primestream demonstrated the next generation of its Dynamic Media Management platform on stand 7.C18. The platform features new solutions for IP video capture and delivery covering professional and consumer formats, a cloud-based review and approval system, robust 4K workflow, public APIs to integrate third parties into the Xchange platform, and a new configuration framework for quick and easy installations.

Quantum (7.B07) announced Avid MediaCentral | Asset Management now supports Quantum StorNext archive solutions. The combination of MediaCentral and StorNext is designed for production environments facing exponentially accelerating content growth, increasing resolution, and expanding avenues of content distribution. Avid MediaCentral customers can now utilize StorNext archive capabilities to store and protect content cost effectively and keep it readily available for monetization. “Media producers need fast access to all of their content to generate revenue,” said Ed Caracappa, senior director of global alliances, Avid.

Also, Quantum (7. B07) was on hand in Amsterdam to debut the latest version of its flagship StoreNext storage platform (version 6.2) and the introduction of high speed NVMe storage to its Xcellis scale-out storage appliances. According to Molly Presley, VP, product management and global marketing, the addition of NVMe storage, which offers 22 GBps streaming bandwidth, can boost ingest speed by up to 10 times. In addition, Xcellis can now deliver shared content and files across SAN and NAS, creating the optimal solution for hybrid fibre channel/Ethernet environments. Quantum also now offers an S3 interface to Xcellis appliances, providing easier integration to the cloud or web-based applications.

“Red Bee’s back, but twice as big,” stated Josbert van Rooijen, Red Bee’s head of market area Benelux, Central and Easter Europe. Speaking from its scarlet stand (5.B27), he added: “IBC is important as we show ourselves as an independent brand.” The company showcased a choice selection of its portfolio here, and in particular for the sports broadcast market, its big push into remote live production. Commented Aurelien Revault d’Allonnes, engagement manager for sports and remote production: “With remote production you need a central production venue and that’s what we have; we broadcast hundreds and hundreds of channels. In sport we’re already doing downstream turnaround services for live events. We want to increase our capability to do a lot more, hence remote production.” For the 2018 CEV DELA Volleyball European Championships in July, Red Bee connected the four Dutch venues for the production company so it could produce the event remotely. Added Rooijen: “Remote production; it’s the future.”

Tektronix announced the expansion of its Prism hybrid IP/SDI monitoring line with the addition of a 10G operations unit, integrated audio, and dual-screen extension capabilities, as well as a 25G upgrade path for all Prism products (5.A73). “Our focus with Prism was initially to help the early adopters solve the hardest problems associated with IP deployments,” said Charlie Dunn, general manager, video product line, Tektronix. “Now that the market has become more mature, we’re dialing in the features that the larger set of customers most need.”

Telestream (7.C16) demonstrated a new architecture built on modular, flexible design principles that work across both cloud and on-premise virtualized networks, code-named Project Orchid. Project Orchid integrates live adaptive streaming production with live monitoring and actionable analytics in a virtualized deployment. Commented Stuart Newton, VP strategy and business development at Telestream: “The architectures we are now developing, exemplified by Project Orchid, marry visibility and accountability to the efficiency and economy of virtualized architectures. This is what today’s content holders and service providers must have to gain OTT marketshare.”

Following its acquisition of Wazee Digital last month, AI specialist Veritone (5.A09), has expanded the integration of its aiWARE operating system with Wazee’s Digital Core (SaaS digital asset management) and Media Hub (video captured in a central location, then made available for global access) platforms. With the integration, Veritone is creating what SVP Drew Hilles calls an “end-to-end, AI-driven digital asset management and monetization solution in the cloud,” that can serve both live-production and archiving needs, especially for sports content. aiWARE automatically generates relevant intelligent metadata within Core and Digital Media Hub that will enhance archival search, improving efficiency, as well as content discoverability and usability.

Vitec demonstrated its broadcast-grade HEVC Multi-Site Video Contribution Solutions, including the fully featured MGW Ace hardware-based HEVC encode/decode solution and the company’s Playout Server on stand 7.C34. “As video management for broadcast, government, sports, and entertainment industries becomes increasingly more complex with a multitude of video streams coming in from all over the world, more and more of our customers have requested a simplified and reliable solution to deliver and distribute encoded video feeds,” said Richard Bernard, product manager at VITEC.

Vizrt (7.B01) unveiled the latest version of its MAM including cloud infrastructure zones. The new version extends Viz One with higher resource efficiency across multiple cloud infrastructure zones and increased automation, while using cloud technologies to improve video production workflows and IT return on investment. Viz One 6.1 introduces a new smart transfer system, optimized search for millions of assets and extended media support.

Also, Vizrt had its eye on the ball with Viz Libero AR, its sports analysis tool. Said Dr. Remo Ziegler, VP of product management for sports: “Libero AR combines analysis technology with our AR studio. It brings the viewer at home closer engagement with the studio. Our AR studio render engine really focuses on reality fusion, making it as easy as possible for our customers to gear it up easily.” The company also demonstrated Viz Arena for virtual advertising placement in any kind of sport with image-based tracking.

This year at IBC, VSN (7.B19) debuted new integrated AI tools in its VSNExplorer MAM focused on automatic metadata detection and cataloguing, and improved content creation and news production. According to Roberto Duif, sales director, Latin America and Caribbean, and Juan Valcarcel, pre-sales and solutions architect for Americas, VSN is staying vendor-agnostic in order to allow clients to choose from Microsoft, Google, IBM Watson, and other AI technologies. In addition, VSN debuted a beta version of a cloud-based VSNCrea traffic and scheduling tool.

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