The Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, and 1967?
How about The Institution of Electrical Engineers, and 1968?
Does it help if I mention the beach at Brighton? A pavilion, or a caravan?
A name, perhaps? John Wilson?
History is a cruel medium. Not only are we condemned to repeat it, but we also forget its lessons. We are consistently poor at recording it with fidelity, and especially without bias.
A cynic might echo the same sentiments about broadcasting. Maybe, back in the 1960s, when colour television was new, when channels were few, when adverts were a novel innovation, then the idea of having an International Broadcasting Convention that would still be running more than 40 years later, would fit the global mood of change, of hope, of peace, of love. The passing of those intervening years contains lots of change and hope, but…
Technological advances are often curious and convoluted, changes of name can be more so. That global television convention from the 60s has become just three letters: IBC. Casting off the original meaning is something akin to Newspeak, from George Orwell’s ‘1984’. Broadcasting has widened, to media, to networks, to streaming, to software, to protocols, to object-based-everything, to The Cloud and IP. Most of these words would mean very little to a person in 1967 – context is important... but jargon is also fleeting. So, IBC means…IBC, although ‘Media’ might be a synonym for many people!
Actually, IBC means a lot more than just a convention, an exhibition, a show, a conference... Anything that takes over the whole 112,000 square metres of Amsterdam’s huge RAI Convention Centre is automatically a major event, and with a record attendance of 55,000 in a pre-pandemic 2017, that’s a lot of people. The first IBC was held in a hotel in London, but had outgrown that for the second year, which is also when what is now known as the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) started to manage it. From then, it gradually filled Brighton’s available hotel and conference space (plus the beach), and in 1990, John Wilson started turning IBC into an independent organisation, looking for a new home, culminating in the first RAI IBC in 1992. Nowadays, six organisations own the IBC: IABM, IEEE, IET, RTS, SCTE and SMPTE, and it is indeed an international event on the grand scale.
Ultimately, IBC is ‘an institution’. Not just of engineering and technology, but of creativity, innovation, and networking – in every sense. After the shock of a locked-down world for several years, the shock of discovering that videoconferencing was actually usable by just about anyone, and the shock of people editing, producing and working from home, then it probably is a big shock to you that you are now much more informed about the history of IBC!
Do you have any stories to tell or memories of IBCs past? Share them in the comments below!