SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2022: Wednesday’s Latest From Vegas
The NAB Show has returned to Las Vegas, and the SVG and SVG Europe editorial teams are once again chasing down the hottest stories from all over the Las Vegas Convention Center. To make the onslaught of announcements easily digestible for our readers, SVG is sending you a daily roundup in SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2022, with all the top stories gathered in one easy-to-read blog.
Today’s edition features Advanced Image Robotics, Allied Broadcast Group, Ateme, AutomaticTV, Bitcentral, Calrec, Crown Castle, Dalet, Digigram, Haivision, LucidLink, MediaKind, Nemal Electronics, Newsbridge, Program Productions, PSSI Global Services, RTS, Sencore, Shure, Sony, Veritone, and Worldcast.
Digigram (Booth N2238) is highlighting what Derek Badala, director, sales, Americas, Synthax, Digigram’s distributor, calls “a fluid IP audio codec solution,” one that major sports broadcasters, including NBC Sports and Eurosport, have implemented. The high-density IQOYA SERV/LINK multichannel IP audio codec handles four to 64 stereo (eight to 128 mono) audio input and output channels and can simultaneously encode and stream the audio inputs in multiple formats and protocols, decode IP audio streams to the outputs, and transcode IP audio streams. It’s used in conjunction with web platform and connection service IQOYA CONNECT to remotely manage a codec fleet and custom user profiles and monitor in real time all communications and remote-control codecs. The newest addition to the lineup is IQOYA Guest, an audio interface for connecting remotely via mobile devices. Badala observes that, while exacerbating the need for an all-IP solution like the IQOYA units, “the pandemic supercharged their development.”
Advanced Image Robotics (Booth N830C) is demonstrating its fully integrated remote-production solution that makes live-streaming sports simple and more cost-effective. Heading its product line, the AIR One Multicam platform can handle up to 4K imaging while allowing monitoring, switching, and robotic-camera control from a device as simple as a tablet.
AutomaticTV, part of the Mediapro group of companies (all of them to be found at Booth N5420), is highlight its big new addition this year: the ability to add manned ENG cameras that can capture closeups while the AutomaticTV cameras automatically capture the match or event coverage. “It’s an evolution for how our productions can be done,” says Marketing Director Esteban Camp. “All the feeds can be sent to a platform like Vmix, where the production team can do what they want. It allows for an OB van to have less resources, and four or five people can do the whole show. In Peru, it was used for the first broadcast of a women’s soccer match, and they had three manual cameras that could add closeups.” Also on display is AutomaticTV ONE, a single camera with three lenses, designed for lower-level collegiate, amateur, or high school sports.
LucidLink (Booth N7301) is showcasing Filespaces 2.0, its newly updated high-performance remote-collaboration solution. According to CEO/co-founder Peter Thompson, more organizations than ever are taking advantage of remote media workflows with LucidLink. LucidLinks’ flagship SaaS product allows users to access cloud storage faster than ever, and version 2.0 adds new collaborative features.
Calrec (Booth C8008) has an ambitious setup at the show, running three independent consoles — a 48-dual-fader Apollo console, a 40-fader Artemis console, and a headless console running Calrec Assist on a PC — from a single ImPulse core (whose new v.2.2 software update makes it native to IP). In addition, Calrec’s Type R and a Brio console sit on the same IP network, connected via an AoIP box. A much smaller new product, though, garners as much interest: the Talent Panel compact AoIP endpoint can be quickly configured to let users switch among multiple sources via an integrated hi-res TFT display and adjust headphone volume with a dedicated rotary control. Four switches allow the panel to be customized with common functions like talkback and cough switches. Also new: the GPIO unit for Type R is a 1RU box that delivers an additional 32 GPOs and 32 GPIs for interfacing with external systems, such as playout, phone systems, codecs. Functionality can be added to physical buttons on Type R fader panels, soft panels, or web UIs and configured via Calrec’s Connect application. “The pandemic provided a lot of momentum towards remote production, which these systems support,” says VP, Sales, Dave Letson. “But other forces were also at work, including cost saving and the shift to IP. These developments here also support that.”
Shure (Booth C9612) is showing off its new KSM11 wireless condenser microphone capsule, designed to provide low- and mid-range clarity and high-end detail. Performance includes a high off-axis rejection and shock isolation, along with plosive protection; it’s available in black and brushed-nickel finishes for use on Shure wireless handheld transmitters. This next-generation model in the KSM line offers a lighter, streamlined design, outfitted with a ¾-in. gold diaphragm and high-end electronics to enhance dynamic range. Advanced suspended isolation is designed to eliminate handling noise, and the dent-resistant hardened-steel grille features three-stage plosive-reduction pop filtering. Senior Market Development Specialist Ben Escobedo calls it “the flagship new capsule in the KSM line.” Noting that Shure’s Axient Digital line has seen significant uptake, including in broadcast sports, boosted by its pairing with Q5X’s PlayerMic and CoachMic systems, he adds, “That strategic partnering has helped further boost our footprint in sports.”
At RTS (Booth C6108), Senior Digital MarCom Manager Bryan Wilkins points out that, while the company’s focus has been on a steady transition from analog to digital in the intercom sector — for instance, how its VLink enables seamless integration between phone systems and its ADAM and ODIN comms platforms — as hybrid work environments persist, it has also maintained backwards compatibility with older systems. “We’ve had customers hook up their 30-year-old panels to new digital systems, and they connect and work seamlessly,” he says. “That has been important especially in broadcast, where customers need to get maximum return on all of their systems.”
One of the fun things at the NAB Show is checking out next-generation technologies in preview mode. Sony (Booth C10901) is demonstrating a next-generation codec that will eventually be installed in Sony cameras and allow 1080p signals to be transported at 25 Mbps and with less than two frames of latency. “We can do 8X super-slo-mo at 1080p at less than 35 Mbps,” says Sony Electronics CTO Hugo Gaggioni about one of the deliverables on display at the Contribution Technology demo. UHD 4K signals can be transported at 50 Mbps.
Program Productions (Booth C5012) continues to enhance its ProCrewz app. Upcoming features include the ability to allow freelancers and payees to see their pay statements within their profile and improved ability to find job offers. The pay statement will include pay, union benefits, and tax information. Says EVP, Strategy and Development/CSMO Amy Scheller, “No other software and mobile application satisfies the need of the live-remote industry. It’s built to satisfy our needs and the needs of crewers, production managers, and freelancers rather than finance.” President/CEO Scott West adds that the app will soon offer Crisis Support Network resources, which have become increasingly important during the pandemic with the growth in issues around substance use and mental health: “We want to take the best ideas from our customers and the market and design an end-to-end platform.”
Nemal Electronics (Booth C8608) is showing off its full suite of cabling products but most notably its Emmy Award-winning Stadium-4 Plenum 4 cable system. In addition, according to CEO Ben Nemser, the company is displaying a special cable designed specifically for Diversified’s build of the new UBS Arena in New York.
Dalet (Booth C4423) has announced Dalet Flex for Teams, a SaaS offering fully hosted and maintained by Dalet. According to Dalet Strategic Partner/Channel Director, News, Ewan Johnston, the new offering lowers the cost of entry to professional tools for media companies, sports brands, and corporate creative teams, thanks to a multi-tenanted architecture that enables economies of scale. Available on a subscription basis with three plans — Essentials, Growth, Advanced — Dalet Flex for Teams provides the convenience and affordability of SaaS in an agile media-logistics solution designed to support the fluid ebb and flow of creative collaboration. Dalet Flex for Teams, which runs on AWS, can be up and running within one business day, according to Johnston.
Allied Broadcast Group (Booth C10021) is showcasing a 16-ft. remote production trailer jam-packed with top-flight live-production solutions from Sony, Ross Video, NewTek, Blackmagic, EVS, Hitachi, and more. According to company owner Mark Chapman and Sales and Operations Manager Bradley Chapman, the unit has been very popular among sports and live-music clients. Fully outfitted units are offered in sizes up to 20, 24, and even 50 ft.
PSSI Global Services (Booth W6304) has a massive presence at the Las Vegas Convention Center. With strategic partnerships as its focus, the company not only has its own setup in the new West Hall but is also showcasing one of its trucks in conjunction with AT&T (Booth W8400, W8736) and remote workflows with Nextologies. These activations, according to GM Clint Bergeson and SVP, Strategic Television, Jason Land spread the message that the company does more than provide onsite mobile units: it also offers different forms of transmission services. The two executives note that the company continues to see a steady increase in onsite productions, with recent work on WWE and UFC shows.
MediaKind’s (Booth W2800) theme at NAB 2022 is “Live Without Limits.” Its goal is helping customers deliver services with an easy-to-use API-driven workflow on a public cloud where needed. Says Director, Market Development, Sports, Chris Wilson, “We want to open up other revenue opportunities, and that is the key. For us, [it’s that] you start with best quality, flexibility, and cost-optimization. Then it’s about what you do with the stream to open up revenue opportunities and engage with people at the edge.” MediaKind also has a new, expanded relationship with Microsoft designed to help. According to MediaKind CEO Allen Broome, it simplifies the process for customers to integrate and optimize workflows on Microsoft Azure products and platforms. MediaKind also has become an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner and has completed the AWS Foundational Technical Review (FTR), which allows it to unlock funding benefits and become eligible for various programs within the AWS Partner Network (APN).
Sencore (Booth W7000) is offering the latest in transport, encoding, and decoding. The company has added JPEG XS support to its VB330-V software probe and VB440 SDI-over-IP analyzer, integrated RIST features into the DMG 7000, and introduced the OmniHub PLAY end-to-end IPTV solution. With the addition of JPEG XS, the VB330-V and VB440 provide end-to-end monitoring and analysis for broadcast and production systems. The OmniHub PLAY server offers centralized control and management of the IPTV footprint across the network with easily customizable text, imagery, and video-channel lineups. The new RIST capabilities allow users to transmit, receive, and convert protocols like Zixi, SRT, HLS, and MPEG/IP in a simple-to-use media gateway. Strategic Account Manager Brandon Baker notes recent partnerships in sports, including preparation for Fox Sports’ extensive coverage of the FIFA Men’s World Cup, the World Series, and more. The company’s products are also used by the NHL for league-wide projects with all 32 franchises. “We were also able to deploy several of our DMG 4000 gateways on NBC’s new 100G WAN network,” Baker says. “It’s one of the biggest things we’ve done over the last year.” Moving forward, Strategic Account Manager John Earnest is bullish on two areas: the sports-betting market and new customers in that space, and developing workflows in the cloud. With the continued influx of cloud-based and remote workflows, it’s essential to understand the full delivery process for reliable transport solutions. With this in mind, one of his goals for the upcoming year is to optimize and possibly release new products to make this task easier for others: “We have met with a lot of people that have made a move to the cloud and are encountering challenges that they didn’t expect. Analyzing what’s going on in the cloud is really difficult, so working on solving that is a big initiative for us.”
Newsbridge (Booth W7516) is showing NAB 2022 visitors how to make their archives more searchable by auto indexing content using multimodal AI technology. The company deploys deep learning along with applied cognitive technologies, with the cloud-based platform used by media- and sports-rights holders to auto-index, manage, and ultimately monetize content. “To truly enhance production workflows and manage the endless accumulation of content,” says Chief Executive Philippe Petitpont, “it also needs to be easily and accurately searchable. Newsbridge estimates that around 40% of its users are sport clubs, federations, and broadcasters, including France’s TF1, the French Rugby Federation, and the French Federation of Football.
Crown Castle (Booth W8626) is highlighting some of its high-profile partnerships in the sports market. At the top of the list, the company played a vital role in the fibering of SoFi Stadium — one of the NFL’s newest venues and the site of Super Bowl LVI — and the surrounding Hollywood Park campus. Through high-quality services and flexible solutions catering to the needs of sports leagues and teams, Crown Castle gets the job done regardless of the challenge. Speaking of challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t stop Crown Castle from completing its part of the project in Inglewood, CA. Senior Account Executive Anush Sarabakhsh applauds the team’s efforts in working together despite the circumstances and is also previewing a handful of partnerships that will be seen in 2023.
Ateme (Booth W3512) is touting its end-to-end–delivery credentials in its first opportunity to speak with the industry about its broad range of solutions following its acquisition of OTT- and IPTV-solutions provider Anevia. Completed in 2020, the acquisition was part of Ateme’s efforts to address the growing IPTV and OTT opportunity by combining its video-compression solutions with Anevia’s content-delivery solutions. Marketing Communications Director Silvia Candido said ATEME’s control of the video-delivery stack helped in such areas as delivering low-latency solutions: “To achieve low latency, each component must work together, and we can now achieve broadcast levels of latency.” Ateme has a live deployment with Canal+, which is using the technology to stream content to Apple TV 4K devices.
Worldcast (Booth W7413) is showcasing its Kybio Media unified monitoring and control software, the platform promising to simplify the monitoring of complex networks. The vendor-agnostic, end-to-end network-management system allows users to oversee media and broadcast infrastructure by centralizing data and streamlining the management of IP-enabled gear and technology. Kybio’s hierarchical architecture would be particularly useful for content owners with multiple sites, according to the company. For example, stations can each monitor their own network using Kybio software, and a master Kybio can function as an umbrella system to oversee all stations.
Veritone (Booth W4716) has launched Veriverse, a series of AI solutions to open up new distribution, commerce, and revenue opportunities for today’s IP content owners and individuals across multiple digital communities, including the metaverse. The platform offers a path forward in both traditional media channels and immersive environments to securely create and activate synthetic media, protect and manage identity and assets, maintain brand continuity across channels, and safely create and sell NFTs. Veriverse offers specific solutions that operate in traditional channels and the metaverse: Veritone’s Voice, Avatar, NFT, Verify, and Metaverse Migration Services. In a press release, San Francisco Giants Productions VP, Content and Entertainment, Paul Hodges said, “We are seeing a path forward to engaging our fans in the metaverse because of our legacy investment and partnership with Veritone.”
Haivision (Booth W5205) has multiple reasons to celebrate the return to the in-person NAB Show, including the five-year anniversary of the announcement of the SRT Alliance and the company’s formal debut featuring its recent acquisition of AVIWEST. The SRT Alliance has cemented SRT as the industry standard for low- support latency video transport, thanks to the of more than 550 solution and service providers. As for AVIWEST, Haivision VP, Product Marketing, Marcus Schioler shared the details of the new StreamHub receiver and IP distribution platform. Version 4.0 of StreamHub is an integral workflow component of flagship PRO460 and RACK400 contribution solutions and LiveGuest, a new remote interview solution.
Bitcentral (Booth W5100) demonstrated for SVG its streaming platform PUEL+Powr.tv, which provides a unified workflow for streaming, video management, monetization, consumer applications, and distribution for content creators ranging from leagues/governing bodies to teams and media companies. The solution was launched just prior to the pandemic but, following numerous updates and improvements, is making its first appearance at an in-person NAB Show. According to the company, more than 1,000 media and entertainment organizations — among them CNN, Nexstar Media Group, and Hearst Television — use its productions.