IBC 2019 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 2019 SportTechBuzz from Halls 4-7.
In this post, check out IBC news from Adder, AJA Video Systems, Avid, Blackmagic Design, Caringo, CenturyLink, ChyronHego, Dell, Deltacast, EditShare, IBM Aspera, IHSE, Limelight Networks, Masstech, Matrox, MediaEdge, MediaKind, Ncam Technologies, Open Broadcast Systems, Quantum, Qumulo, RT Software, Spectra Logic, Speedcast, Square Box Systems, Telestream, The Switch, Veritone, Verizon Media, Vizrt, Wildmoka, and Xytech Systems.
Adder (7.A17) offers a number of reasons to stop by its stand, but the AdderLink Infinity 4000 series, a high-performance 4K IP KVM system, is near the top of the list. Key is the ability for users to migrate to 4K when the time is right and without having to replace gear. The receiver enables the connection of any USB human-interface device, from mouse and keyboard to tablets, jog shuttles, and more. The transmitter, meanwhile, has dual 1GigE ports, SFP 10GigE ports, and an OLED diagnostic screen. Attendees can also see how the system is being used with the Eizo FlexScan EV3237 monitors to showcase the 4K functionality.
AJA Video Systems (7.C25) has announced the new HDR Image Analyzer 12G, bringing 12G-SDI connectivity to its real-time HDR monitoring and analysis platform developed in partnership with Colorfront. The new product streamlines 4K/UltraHD HDR monitoring and analysis workflows by supporting the latest high-bandwidth 12G-SDI connectivity. HDR Image Analyzer 12G offers waveform, histogram, and vectorscope monitoring and analysis of 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD, HDR, and WCG content for broadcast and OTT production, postproduction, QC, and mastering. AJA also unveiled the KUMO 6464-12G, a new SDI router featuring 64X 12G-SDI inputs and 64X 12G-SDI outputs for high-quality signal routing. KUMO 6464-12G suits a range of broadcast, production, post, and pro-AV environments and allows professionals to take advantage of the scalability and increased bandwidth that 12G-SDI provides. AJA President Nick Rashby reminded an IBC press conference that 6464-12G is the company’s seventh KUMO router, “which have been spectacular products for us.” KUMO 6464-12G will ship in the autumn.
Avid (7.B55) is showcasing production and postproduction workflow solutions for video- and audio-content creators. For the audio community, the new Avid S4 and Avid S1 control surfaces provide integrated, powerful yet affordable sound-mixing solutions ideal for smaller broadcasters. Making its European debut at IBC 2019, Pro Tools Ultimate delivers 50% more voice/audio tracks than previous versions. In addition to the increase in base voice limit to 384, Pro Tools | Ultimate software and HD Native customers can further increase the number of available voices to 768 per system — on par with a three-card Pro Tools | HDX system — with the addition of Pro Tools | Ultimate Voice Packs. “Today’s content creators must contend with new formats, higher resolutions, ever-tightening budgets, and broader distribution realities, so media-creation and -distribution tools must work harder than ever,” says Avid CEO/President Jeff Rosica. “At IBC, we look forward to demonstrating how, with Avid, our customers can deliver more content and create at the speed of inspiration.”
Blackmagic (7.B45) is featuring its new ATEM Mini. Priced at $295, the low-cost live-production switcher is designed for live streaming, producing USB output that is recognized by streaming services as the equivalent of a webcam. With 1080p/60 capabilities, according to Bob Caniglia, director of sales, Blackmagic North America, it is considered a valuable tool for small-scale production. Other introductions this year include router-control panels Master Control Pro and Smart Control Pro, which have updated design and capabilities. Also on exhibit are two new 2,500-nit HDR video-assist monitors measuring 5 in. and 7 in. and priced at $795 and $995, respectively.
Brightcove (5.B69) has announced Beacon, a new SaaS-based OTT platform. Beacon enables companies to deliver and launch premium video experiences quickly and cost-effectively across mobile, web, smart TVs, and connected TVs. Historically, launching an OTT service was time-consuming, complex, and costly, but, with Brightcove Beacon, the process is simplified. Users can now create, launch, and monetise OTT apps faster than ever before and at greater scale. Brightcove Beacon empowers companies to quickly develop OTT applications for smart TVs, as well as web, iOS, and Android. New flexible monetisation models include advertising, subscription, and pay-per-view for live and video-on-demand (VOD) content. Brightcove Beacon’s analytics, flexible pay models, and consistent experiences across all devices help content providers retain and engage loyal viewers.
Caringo (5.C33) has unveiled Swarm 11, the latest version of its object-storage platform. Caringo Swarm 11 features Partial File Restore (video clipping), large-file bulk upload in the content UI, file sharing, and backup to any Amazon S3 region. M&E and content-driven organizations that need to keep assets available can now satisfy rapid-access, HTTP-based delivery and protection requirements on a single scalable software storage platform using their hardware of choice.
CenturyLink (5.B61) announced its acquisition of Streamroot earlier this week, and, here at IBC, the two companies are discussing how the merger of a traditional CDN and a peer-to-peer (P2P) provider will improve content delivery within bandwidth-constrained areas. Bill Wohnoutka, VP, global internet and content delivery services, CenturyLink, said, “We’re trying to give broadcasters the confidence to use the internet to introduce the highest bitrates, the highest-quality technology possible.” Streamroot CEO Pierre-Louis Theron commented, “To replace traditional TV tech with OTT tech, you need good P2P technology.” Streamroot worked on the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 with TF1 to meet streaming challenges, he said: “This was the biggest streamed World Cup ever. TF1 was scared they’d kill the French internet, though; when you have 3 million to 4 million people watching the stream and you want to push 4K UHD, you’re going to hit the internet.” Wohnoutka added, “Now, if you’re a CDN and you don’t have P2P assisted, you’re behind.”
Updated applications for real-time data visualization in live sports broadcasts are being showcased by ChyronHego (7.C21). The Paint telestration and analysis tool now features an automatic chroma keyer for clips, as well as style and UI updates. Controllable via mobile app, it also offers the ability to stream an output, tools, or a UI over a network in order to use Paint’s open control API for remote production. At the same time, Virtual Placement, which is used to create tied-to-field virtual graphics on live productions, has been updated with an automatic chroma keyer as well as a built-in Red Zone for in-game advertising. ChyronHego’s new chief executive, Ariel Garcia, is on the booth, sharing his vision for the company. His appointment was announced at IBC 2019 on Friday.
Dell (7.C39) is talking about its full range of products for sports broadcasters. Says Simon Haywood, CTO, media and entertainment, EMEA, “We have everything from servers to storage to virtualized infrastructure to support the apps that sports broadcasters use. We work hand in hand with vendors to validate their solutions, to ensure they perform; then customers can buy from us with confidence.”
A new family of character generators for live sport and event production are being showcased by Deltacast (7.C01). The Delta-cg range allows users to build playlists, control graphics, and update content. Unlike previous Deltacast cards, these additions are designed to be affordable and appropriate for different parts of the market, from the low end upwards. Models include the Easy and the Sport and News, with more variants to follow. “We were very active at the high end of the sports market,” says Chief Executive Christian Dutilleux. “But now we have recognized the need for products for the lower and middle end. We have decided to bring to market a full range of products that takes our experience of the high end and applies it to [these other areas].” Deltacast is also highlighting its virtual offside system, which can be used as an add-on for VAR.
Among a bevy of interesting developments for sports broadcasters and producers, EditShare (7.A35) is showcasing Flow 2020. The forward-looking release features AI-powered audio-transcription and video-recognition services, newsroom–computer-system integration, and an enhanced northbound-facing API. Flow 2020 is available via subscription and works with Amazon S3, Backblaze, Google, Microsoft Azure, and Wasabi. Other debuts at IBC 2019 include the EFS 2020 file-system and -management console. According to Head of Marketing Lee Griffin, the latest release of EFS offers an improved, fast and flexible collaborative storage space with an increase in throughput performance of up to 20%. Also on exhibit is a new version of the company’s QScan software-based automated quality-control solution (AQC). It features Comparative Analysis, a content-testing capability enabling users to run quality checks on various elements — picture structure, IMF packages, audio loudness, Dolby Vision HDR — as well aiding compliance and verification.
Staking a claim as an early adopter at the intersection of video delivery and blockchain, IBM Aspera (7.B25) spoke with SVG about some of its work around adding layers of security to the exchange of media assets using blockchain and digital watermarking. The company is tapping into the rising open-source framework by creating a network of supply-chain partners to develop a distributed ledger based on blockchain to create a solidified chain of custody for content. “Because of the need to put smart contracts into your workflows, there are really interesting future possibilities where we can start to look at things like DRM, encryption-key exchange, other sorts of security measures that you want to apply to your content,” says James Wilson, director, engineering – Aspera Platform, IBM Aspera. “Right now, you have to deeply integrate those into devices and software, but, if we write common interfaces, that becomes something that may become very adaptable: a smart contract that provides a generic DRM interface to have an adapter bit for many different DRM schemes and many different encryption schemes.”
IHSE (7.A09) has released new KVM extenders with 240- to 60-Hz synchronized sequential frame-rate conversion for esports events, enabling live screen display, broadcast and super-slow-motion replay direct from gaming computers. Designed in collaboration with EVS, the new extenders enable real-time recording of 240-Hz gaming streams for later review and analysis of events. To achieve solutions using standard broadcast equipment, computer-generating 1080p 240-Hz gaming signals are recorded in four parallel 60-Hz SDI streams on EVS XT-VIA servers for super-slow-motion playback. In addition to super-slo-mo action replay, the new devices enable direct broadcast of esports events via on-air transmission and online and social media distribution.
New features and enhancements announced for Limelight Networks’ (5.B52) Video Delivery Services include expansion of the company’s global network to almost 50 Tbps of egress capacity and its edge-server capacity by more than 40% since January. This increased capacity ensures that critical quality metrics — such as rebuffer rate, startup time, and bitrate viewed — are improved when Limelight’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) is deployed for live and on-demand video delivery. Live Push Ingest (LPI), a new service functionality available in Q4 for live streaming over HTTP, will allow customers to send their packaged HLS and DASH streams directly to the Limelight CDN for onwards delivery to the end user.
An intelligent storage-, workflow-, and lifecycle-management application for video assets is being showcased by Masstech (7.C55). The Kumulate modular platform allows users to build an object-storage ecosystem that includes asset management, workflow orchestration, and transcoding. It can be deployed across public cloud, private cloud, on-premises disk or tape to create workflows that automate media ingest, transcoding, packaging, and delivery.
Matrox (7.B15) and Vimeo have joined forces to showcase cloud-based, multicamera video-production workflows over public networks. This technology collaboration features the Matrox Monarch EDGE encoder delivering four Full HD camera feeds to the Vimeo Studio 6 live-production–switcher software for broadcast-quality yet cost-effective multicamera productions for live event streaming. At the show, Matrox Video has also announced that Avid’s FastServ Ingest video server now supports Matrox M264 S2 H.264 codec cards for multichannel XAVC live-production workflows. This technology collaboration allows the FastServe Ingest video servers to encode up to eight high-quality XAVC streams simultaneously from in-studio cameras, satellite feeds, and other input sources.
MediaEdge (5.B33) is introducing the QDCAM, a high-speed box camera system comprising a micro 4/3-in. lens, camera, camera-site unit, base unit, and camera-control unit for approximately $50,000. It offers 240-fps recording of 1080p signals to external replay systems from EVS, Grass Valley, and others via quad-link SDI and remote controls can also control iris, focus, and zoom. Also on display is the QDVS-1000 super-slo-mo recorder player.
MediaKind (4.A01) has launched its first range of application-specific packaged solutions in its MediaKind Universe portfolio: Aquila Streaming, Cygnus 360° Events, Cygnus Contribution, and Cygnus Distribution. The solutions address specific needs for core broadcast contribution and distribution applications and for delivering immersive OTT streaming services, multichannel HD or single-channel UHD, remote “at-home” production, and 360-degree video content, particularly around live events. MediaKind also introduced a pre-integrated low-latency solution for broadcasters and operators delivering live content to consumers using ABR technology for OTT or streaming services. The solution leverages “direct path” technology between encoder and packager to reduce the time to move content from one media-processing function to the next.
Ncam Technologies (7.D36) has remodeled its camera bar to make it smaller and lighter, giving sports broadcasters and other media producers greater creative freedom when doing real-time AR. Being previewed at IBC 2019, the Mk2 features Intel RealSense technology that captures spatial data, which is then fed to the Ncam Reality server. The weight improvements will be particularly useful for handheld and stabilized/Steadicam use, and the compact size will allow better-balanced rigging and more-flexible mounting options. Says CEO Nic Hatch, “The combination of Ncam’s software and industry knowledge, Intel RealSense technology, and HP’s trusted workstations enable us to manufacture smaller, lighter, more robust, and more powerful products like the Mk2 as we continue to develop the most accurate camera-tracking products available.” The Mk2 is due to be released in first quarter 2020. All existing Ncam customers will have an upgrade path.
Open Broadcast Systems (7.A49) is talking about how it can help sports broadcasters to keep up with the rapid changes going on in the industry. Says Managing Director Kieran Kunhya, “The rate of change of audiences is drastically changing, so using flexible and scalable technology is important. Using the same kind of technology that Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google are using, the guys that are disrupting media, is as well. But you still need to maintain the things broadcasters consider important. That’s the real challenge, and that’s the kind of thing we can do, with our encoders and decoders.” Kunhya is speaking at 3 p.m. on Monday 16 September, at the IBC 2019 RIST Day, on using RIST for delivering content to tens of millions of users.
After debuting the F-Series at NAB 2019, Quantum (7.B07) has brought its ultra-fast F-Series NVMe storage array across the pond to IBC. According to Jason Coari, global director, product and solution marketing, the F-Series uses NVMe flash drives for reads and writes up to 5X faster than traditional flash-storage/networking systems, delivering fast real-time editing and rendering of 4K and 8K video. The latest versions of Quantum’s flagship StorNext file system and series of StorNext appliances are also on hand, featuring redesigned appliance hardware with 2X faster performance, editing and coloring of 8K content in real-time, new predictive data movement and analytics capabilities, new ways to integrate with cloud, and a simplified user experience.
Qumulo (5.A15) has inked a partnership with axle ai to use its AI-driven media-management software to provide M&E organizations with a complete solution for storing, managing, and automating search of their content. According to Qumulo Global Product Marketing Director Molly Presley, the partnership enables content creators to leverage the companies’ intelligent hybrid cloud storage and media management to accelerate media workflows, link remote teams, and simplify content-creation processes. She reports that a Los Angeles-based postproduction facility recently found that it was able to fully leverage axle ai 2019 software on its Qumulo storage system, with users searching for content from Adobe Premiere Pro CC applications within hours of installing the software. Presley also reports that Qumulo has seen a massive increase in adoption of its NVMe-enabled products over the past year.
RT Software (6.C16) is showcasing Tactic Pro, recently introduced as the next stage in the evolution of the Tactic family, which was launched last year with Tactic Advanced. Among new features are camera morph and editable timeline. Camera morph is a way to transition from one camera view to another to provide the viewer with a better perspective of an event in post-match commentary and analysis. The company is also talking about its long association with Grass Valley, having become a founding member of the Grass Valley Alliance. Says RT Software Sales Manager Lindsay Hughes, “This is the first time Grass Valley has recognized the technology partners they work with. It’s a stamp of approval in recognition of all the work we’ve done in integrating our render engine into Grass Valley’s Ice, Rio, Kahuna, and Kula.”
Spectra Logic (7.B50) continues to expand its product portfolio beyond tape libraries, unveiling the intriguing new StorCycle storage-management software. By creating a Perpetual Tier of storage, StorCycle can reduce the overall cost of storing data by up to 70%, while still giving users full access to their data, according to Spectra Logic SVP Hossein Ziashakeri. He notes that most media organizations store their data on an expensive Primary Tier of storage even though up to 80% of this data is inactive — costing both space and money. StorCycle automatically scans this Primary Tier for inactive files and migrates them to a secure Perpetual Tier (which can include any combination of cloud storage, object storage disk, NAS, and tape) — reducing costs and increasing overall performance.
Speedcast (5.C45) has introduced SMN Mobile LTE, a low-latency, cost-effective uplink solution that bonds the bandwidth of multiple cellular services, to create a fully managed service for quick uplinking of live news, sports, and events, as well as for remote communications. Alberto Carpenè, VP, Speedcast Media Network, says the new service is 100% capex-free, eliminating expensive hardware and OB-facility costs. The 5G-ready service provides real-time video encoding and leverages Speedcast Media Network’s global hybrid network infrastructure to provide satellite-to-fiber, cellular-to-satellite, cellular-to-dedicated fiber, and cellular-to-IP extended connectivity. All live video feeds can be managed from the cloud for scalable and real-time video processing.
Square Box Systems (7.A51) is debuting a completely new web experience, Web3, for its flagship CatDV media-asset–management system. According to CEO Dave Clack, the new web-browser client features a wholly redesigned mobile/tablet-friendly user experience and includes scrubbable video previews, CatChat collaboration with avatars, auto saving, and portrait as well as landscape media support. With Web3, CatDV can function as a DAM, as well as a MAM and PAM across both creative and business teams.
Telestream (7.C14) is showing off its new Optiq platform for managing live infrastructure in the cloud. The framework for Optiq was announced in February and is now being productized, the first application being Optiq Monitor, which was announced just prior to IBC 2019. Says Director, Product Management, Ken Haren, “We created Optiq in response to market demand to enable pop-up infrastructure. This is needed as broadcasters and sports rightsholders are looking to provide more content, to be more compelling, to gain viewership. For instance, ESPN in the States might have 30-40 concurrent events available in their key channels on any one day; before, on three or four channels, they’d have three or four events and could therefore send teams out to cover those. Now they want a smaller on-premises or at-home footprint [to cover all those events efficiently]. That’s the demand we’re looking to address with Optiq. If I have 40 concurrent events in one night, I want to test and monitor all of them at the same time; Optiq Monitor allows you to do that and use it on an on-demand basis.” The next Optiq application, Optiq Channel, will be launched by the end of the year to create streams; it will also be self-healing and self-optimizing.
The Switch (5.A73), in addition to publicly debuting its new brand identity, is unveiling its latest European partnership: an agreement with EI Towers, a provider of network infrastructure and services for broadcasters, streaming services, and other rightsholders in Italy. The partnership enhances the two companies’ ability to acquire live feeds in each other’s key markets and distribute coverage of events via an extensive and reliable international network. The EI Towers deal follows a similar partnership with MTI Teleport, Germany’s leading media-backbone operator, also aimed at bolstering The Switch’s position in Europe. Through the partnership with EI Towers, The Switch’s U.S. customers now have access to games from any of the 24 stadiums in Italy’s Serie A — as they do with Germany’s Bundesliga through MTI — and Italian rightsholders will be able to broadcast live coverage of major North American sports, including NFL football and NBA basketball.
At an IBC Show where the rise of AI is buzzing throughout the halls, a bona fide veteran of the technology, Veritone (5.C24), is showing off its Attribute near–real-time media-attribution solution. The service was an award winner when it debuted at NAB 2019. Attribute offers a compelling option for broadcasters and other media companies looking to measure and apply valuable metrics to on-air advertising campaigns and logo placements through the use of artificial intelligence. “Essentially, we’re helping create metadata where metadata doesn’t exist,” says Drew Hillis, SVP, Veritone. “That’s where AI really shines.”
The backbone powering delivery of many major sports-broadcasting properties in the U.S. (including this past summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup on Fox Sports), Verizon Media (5.B64) is enjoying a productive IBC Show around the release of its new Media Platform. Although the service excels at many of the categories that sports clients expect from Verizon Media (delivery optimization, ad-performance visibility, content personalization, and blackout control), the real star is Verizon Smartplay, a stream-routing system that moves video traffic over multiple CDNs. According to Scott Goldman, director, product management media platform – streaming, Verizon Media Group, that’s where the elite value lies, enabling content distributors to avoid single-threaded delivery, which, in turn, gives faster startup times, lower buffering rates, and an overall better viewing experience for the customer.
Vizrt (7.B01) is talking about a future of software-defined visual storage, enabling remote working while increasing creativity. CMO Steve Wind-Mozley explained the company’s overall focus for IBC 2019: “We all know what IP is about: IP is about flexibility, freeing yourself from expensive copper. The software-defined element is one step closer to freedom, but the visual storytelling is ever more exciting, where the real creativity comes in. It’s about more stories better told. With software-defined visual storytelling, you can master the complexity to concentrate on creativity.” Said President, Global Sports, Stephen Stadler, “We’ve always been a software company, always trying to lower barriers to entry. We don’t care about [location] because our customers don’t care [about location]; people want to say, My operator of graphics can sit anywhere [in the world] to do the job. We are giving [our customers] the freedom to do whatever they want; in the end, it’s about their creativity.” Stadler went on to talk about how the company’s newly launched Viz Arc augmented-reality tool fits into Vizrt’s philosophy: “We have introduced a complete new tool for AR shows here. [AR shows] look fantastic, but, if they don’t corroborate a story, they lack meaning. Viz Arc is a completely new tool on how you run your AR show.” Viz Arc gives media companies a powerful control system for producing virtual sets and AR graphics for day-to-day live production.
NDI, a brand of Vizrt Group (7.C12), has released the fourth generation of NDI technology to both developers and end users. Using software, computers, and networks, NDI is a crucial part of the organisation’s mission of making software-defined visual storytelling (#SDVS) accessible to everyone via the universal power of IP-based video. NDI is an IP standard for digital media using standard Ethernet networks and mobile environments. It is royalty-free–to–use software with hundreds of developers making thousands of NDI-enabled products now in the hands of millions of customers around the world.
Wildmoka (5.C32) has announced a new StoryBot feature on its platform. StoryBot creates automatic reels for all sports but is particularly focused on football. Comments Marketing Manager Lucille Mari, “Mashups are made automatically because the platform recognises what scenario you want to create, i.e. goals; then will publish to multiple destinations, such as social, OTT platforms, and CMS. These days, you need to be very fast [to publish content], and that’s what we’re doing.” The company has also announced that Avid’s new MediaCentral Publisher is powered by Wildmoka, enabling media companies to create content, add graphics and branding, and publish news and sports videos quickly to social media to boost viewership and drive additional revenues.
Managing crew, assets, and scheduling is a complicated task, but a new user interface showcased by Xytech (6.C22) can make a difference, according to Marketing Coordinator Alexandra Kuipers. It has been redesigned to be accessible from any browser and on any device. Internal heavy users will find it easier to complete their tasks; light users like freelancers will find it easier to get the information most relevant to their assignment. Also on display, MediaPulse Transmission optimizes the feed schedule and even tracks costs and has financial-reporting tools.