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New Technology at IBC Leads the Way to the Future of Content

As the IBC show celebrates its 50th anniversary in Amsterdam, attendees will ponder the revolution in the production and distribution of entertainment

Two of the 55,000-plus attendees at this year’s IBC show will not be humans.

Among the throngs who will flood the RAI center in Amsterdam on Sept. 14-18, sampling the latest in entertainment technology and listening to experts explain new tools and predict trends, will be two advanced robots: Sophia and Professor Einstein.

Sophia is capable of strikingly human expressions and equipped with an evolving intelligence that enables it (her?) to converse with humans and build relationships. Dr. Einstein, built in collaboration with toy inventor Andy Rifkin, teaches complex topics and plays educational games.

The automatons, created by Hanson Robotics, will appear together with company founder David Hanson at the Tech Talks keynote The Future With Robots That Are Like Us. IBC CEO Michael Crimp expresses excitement at the opportunity to meet the duo and “discuss the future of robotics technology and artificial intelligence.”

Cinema technology will figure prominently at in IBC’s Big Screen program. At a session on future camera and display technologies, visual-effects supervisor David Stump and Light Field Lab’s Jon Karafin will discuss how content creators can avail themselves of such tools as virtual reality, immersive media, and holography.

Another session at the program will address shooting and delivering HDR and immersive audio alternative content to the big screen, taking as a case study the broadcast of the UEFA Champions League football final from Cardiff, U.K., in June.

Participants at the Intl. Business Insights session will debate the evolving world of cinema and examine such areas as audience behavior, successful marketing, and the potential of such innovations as VR to increase viewership. Guests will also get a chance to attend a screening of Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver.”

In all, IBC will feature more than 90 conference sessions and over 400 speakers. Among the more provocative session titles: Lies, Damn Lies and Alternative Facts: Striving for Accuracy in a New World Order; Fake News or Alternative Facts: Producing News Content in a Post-Truth World; and Integrating Broadcast and Internet Business: 50 Shades of Pay.

One of the more noteworthy keynote sessions is called Fans, Friends and the Future of Broadcasting, with Facebook product director Daniel Danker and Modern Times Group’s chief executive Jørgen Madsen Lindemann discussing the blurring lines between broadcasting and online video.

At another keynote, Brian Sullivan, COO of the Digital Consumer Group of Fox Networks at 21st Century Fox will explain how his company is dealing with direct challenges from OTT developers.

Separately, John Cassy, co-founder of immersive content studio Factory 42 and former 3D boss at Sky, will discuss the potentially transformative role of virtual reality with Richard Steiber, senior VP of VR at HTC Vive.

IBC marks a notable milestone this year: the show is 50 years old.

It all began in 1967, when a small group of broadcast industry figures organized an exhibition at a London hotel. They called their event the Intl. Broadcast Convention and 550 attendees showed up to sample the wares of 30 exhibitors.

Appropriately, this year’s recipient of IBC’s Intl. Honor for Excellence is Dolby Laboratories, which is being recognized for its continuous work to improve sound technology.

The prize harks back to that first IBC in 1967, at which one of the big technological challenges was tape noise in professional recordings. Ray Dolby, then a member of the Ampex team, which developed the first video recorders, applied his engineering skills to the issue and developed the Dolby A-Type Audio Noise Reduction system, which became a de facto standard.

Today, of course, IBC has evolved into a show 100 times larger than its first iteration and has transitioned from a small broadcast showcase to a global event encompassing all electronic media, entertainment technology and content production.

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