IBC 2018 – Trends and Highlights


IBC 2018 is drawing to a close, showcasing an abundance of new technology and changes that will have a significant impact on the broadcasting and media industry and that will have us working very hard this coming year. Whether its AI, VR, AR, 4K, 5G, NLP, to name a few, here are some of the highlights and trends of IBC 2018.

Data Handling

IBC this year is all about handling data. Data is the key to personalize the user’s experience, the more data that we need to save, and this takes enormous amounts of storage and resources. Therefore, a company that plans to use AI-driven personalization really must make sure that they have the technological sophistication to analyze and user this data.

AI-Driven Personalization

Artificial Intelligence- (AI) driven personalization is probably one of the key trends we’ve seen at IBC this year. AI is being used to drive segmentation models as well as in processing the enormous amounts of data that’s being collected about viewing habits, preferences, and so forth.

What became very evident in IBC 2018 is that harvesting data is only the first step. Personalization is the second and much of it based on the ability to scale. For example, in creating a Targeted TV solution, each user essentially gets a customized unique experience. This means that the calls from the server to the user are specific, i.e., instead of creating one catalog, we’re created unique individualized catalog for each user. This makes it more difficult to manage the number of tasks required by the server – and the more personalization – the more complex it becomes to get the response. One way to handle this is by building an API gateway that caches certain calls to allow personalization and not crash the servers.

Smart Package Composition

Video platform systems use AI to build micro-packages, based on operator settings, content sources, content attributes and user segments. In the past, if a company had one package with a bundle, it would try to sell that package to all users and all at the same price. Nowadays, the company can define a baseline offering, but can also customize the price, discount, and targeted audience, as well as define how to offer the package (text? email? WhatsApp?).

The system should then be able to take these parameters into account and according to the user’s information, to know what to emphasize (and what not) and create a micro package that’s perfect for that user or household.

Digital First, Analog Second

Some companies that are displaying at IBC 2018 were “born” as digital management companies (Kaltura among them). However, there are also many companies that are only now moving to this field, those who began in IPTV, etc.  Companies that weren’t “born” as digital companies are sometimes seen as more analog-like companies, and as we move toward an era of Cloud TV, we’re seeing is a slight lag in the way the two types of companies are coping with this move.

Digital age companies have a better ability and understanding of both new technology and existing technology, using cloud-based infrastructure, and achieving scalability. Companies that are moving from an “analog” background are finding this move slightly more difficult and will need to make a bigger leap when moving into the new Cloud TV age.

Millennials, Global, Local

When it comes to figuring out our users and the content they want, we need to take into consideration three important parameters:

Our users are very often millennials: Millennials have grown up in a world where they expect personalization at every level: in communicating, in banking, applications and more, so that, in many ways, personalization defines their lives.

Content is global: Broadcasters that want to compete and succeed can no longer afford to act only locally; their users are now watching content that was created in a country the broadcaster never thought about (Turkish telenovelas? Polish drama?). To meet the needs of a global world, broadcasters must understand not only the competition, but also their niche, and to create a service that’s global and that can be useful globally.

Local is still important: Despite the global village we’re living in, broadcasters can’t just rely in getting global content and expecting their users to be satisfied. There is always the need for a local angel (remember “think globally, act locally”?) so that, for example, if Vodafone launches a service in Romania or the Czech Republic, it’s going to be very different from the solution they have in Spain.

All this means one thing: that while the technology may be the same for all countries and users, the broadcaster is still going to have to know how to balance personalization, global content, and local needs.

OTT Maturity

2018 was the year that OTT truly matured and took its place as the replacement of legacy TV solutions in the form of Cloud TV. Kaltura has already embraced this maturity with the launch of Vodafone TV, Kaltura’s comprehensive Cloud TV solution, but the future promises a lot more Cloud TV. I could go on here but you might actually want to read our comprehensive white paper on this topic, because it covers the topic of Cloud TV from cover to cover.

Attending IBC? Be sure to stop by the Kaltura booth, 2.B41, and check out a demo of the Kaltura TV Platform Cloud TV solution.

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