Wed 14th October 2020. Usually, we'd bring together our colleagues from The Royal Television Society (RTS) and our local IET audience at our Savoy Place venue in the London for the annual review of news and exciting developments from the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) held in Amsterdam. Sadly this, and the IBC event itself, were not possible this year owing to Covid-19 health precautions.

Undeterred, we opted for an on-line webinar to showcase the amazing projects that had progressed under the IBC Accelerator programme.

After a warm welcome from Amanda Weaver (Director Professional Publishing and Learning, IET), the webinar was driven along by Mark Smith (Mark Smith Marketing) and Muki Kulhan (Chief Innovation Officer, Muki-International), the IBC Accelerator Innovation Leads.
The eight projects were kicked off in Feb '20 and then sixty-plus media organisations got involved over the 4-5 months development. They covered practical applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G mobile and Virtual Reality (VR) - all hot topics.
  • AI-Automated video shot listing: Use AI to capture the scene and list what's happening.

  • Live content moderation: To flag inappropriate content in real-time and predict what might happen later; Green/Amber/Red traffic light warnings.

  • AI-Backed interactive live music talent show: To be safe and accessible, ethically responsible; Viewers providing content; machine moderation plus human interaction.

  • Usable VFX archive: Allows 3d assets to be searched and retrieved easily; Label, look for and share. Aids collaboration - a very international project.

  • 5G Centralised streaming for location based virtual reality (LBVR): Content is adapted to suit the user's location: outside or at home - there are no boundaries.

  • 5G remote production. How can 5G really enhance it? Led by Ian Wagdin & Purminder Gandhu of BBC R&D, they looked at what had been done with 5G so far and what they wanted from the service: flexibility .. sport, comedy, TV dramas; Untethered cameras to enhance creativity. The size of the group snowballed with the excitement generated. This culminated in a multi-location, multi-vendor outside broadcast: 5G camera on a boat with a 5G drone above in  Amsterdam; Lighting and cameras controlled by AI and 5G; remote production in London. Used existing vendor kit - from loads of companies - Very complicated stuff.

  • Animation production; XR/immersive and real-time workflows for CG (computer graphics). Allows the designer to focus on creativity and art, rather than the tech & software. Presenters Rafi Nizam and Inga Petryaevskaya.

  • TV delivered as objects: Putting control into the hands of the viewer over what soundtrack to hear, which way for a story to branch. Great collaboration between BBC, ITV, Unity and many more - good to try things out in an open forum and just see what works.

Such a huge amount of exciting technology and enthusiasm – it was really good to hear positivity and optimism in these disturbing times.
I give my thanks to all the presenters, guests and contributors and to our colleagues at RTS, especially their London Chair  Phil Barnes for his impressive production skills in Zoom and YouTube!
The event can be viewed on YouTube at this link
Robert Heaton