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Our takeaways from NAB 2017

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Henriette S Sæther 9. May 2017

NAB Show 2017 marked our first return visit to the Las Vegas conference and for me, the primary takeaway from this year’s show was the convergence of media, entertainment and technology. It’s at the heart of everything our industry is trying to achieve, and we can see this in the way consumers are increasingly looking for new ways to enjoy their content. They want greater control, more opportunities to communicate with their peers, greater interactivity and overall, a far more immersive and personalized viewing experience.

 Technology has become engrained in the way we tell stories and it is increasingly enabling broadcasters to innovate and transform the way they communicate with their audiences. All the components that we see within a traditional TV broadcast are essentially things that consumers can choose to control themselves. While the producer’s role is to shape and ultimately tell a good story, technology is enabling broadcasters to alter their entire way of thinking, effectively providing the tools to interact and have two-way communication with the end viewer. Today, the challenge is to understand what the end viewer is interested in and in doing so, enable them to choose their individual route through a story.

Another key observation was the shift in focus from making IP based workflows work, to finding ways to integrate and leverage the opportunities of new advanced workflows. New workflows enable the industry to move from a solely static experience and instead, understanding that we now need to return the power back to the end user, and provide them with control over their viewing experience.

There are many ways to innovate. Let’s imagine its cup final day in your family living room. Your mother or father just wants to watch the match through the eyes of the broadcaster – and that’s fine. But what if the rest of the family could choose to tailor their experience according to their interests – and you according to yours?

Today, we can deliver fully automated, personalised user experiences at the click of a button, delivering options ranging from player profiles, live match statistics, instant replays, and even the option to choose alternative commentary during the game. We can now enhance the viewing experience even further. Perhaps the whole family could take part in viewer polls or play games at half time, with the prize delivered to your doorstep within 24 hours of full-time.

Geo-targeted advertisements are enabling relevant and individualised product placements, enabling the viewer to be engaged with the interactive features on screen. Your teenage son or daughter could soon have instant access to the boots Lionel Messi is wearing in any particular live game by simply clicking on interactive graphics, allowing him/her the ability to receive instant specifications and purchasing options on Messi’s football boots with detailed imagery. As I mentioned in one of my recent blogs for Sixty, “[broadcasters] should look at ways in which to capitalize upon the dual screen experience and own it.” Right now, we have only scratched the surface.

We are delighted with the way Ease Live was received in Las Vegas and certainly my favourite piece of customer feedback was the line “you have finally solved what has been considered the holy grail of sports broadcasting for over 20 years.” Aside from VR, Ease Live is one of the few immersive technologies today that can complement all-IP based innovations and drive new methods of broadcasting, offering brand new ways to package content and meet the consumers need to get closer to the action.

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