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IBC Innovation Awards reflect hot topics

The shortlist for the IBC2016 Innovation Awards reflects the real issues in the industry, including 4K video, IP connectivity and OTT services. Also reflected is the global nature of IBC, with finalists coming from countries as far apart as China and the USA.
Michael Lumley, chair of the international judging panel, put the awards into context. “They are unique because we judge on the benefits each entry delivers to the end user,” he said.

“Ultimately, the award is handed over on stage not to a company developing the newest widgets but to the broadcaster or media company which benefits from a real collaborative process to develop the best possible solution.”

The awards are presented on Sunday night, in an unmissable ceremony to which all IBC visitors are welcome. So who is on the shortlist for this year’s awards?

The first category is for the most innovative project in content creation, and two of the three finalists focus on making sport even more engaging on television. BT Sport has added sophisticated augmented reality to its studio coverage of European Champions League football, including a signature shot flying over a map of Europe to the stadiums hosting each game. Working in a huge and largely black studio was a challenge for camera tracking company Ncam, who collaborated with Moov, RT Software and Timeline Television to create a solution.

Pylon Camera, developed by ESPN, replaces corner posts in the high impact sport of American football. Crush impact zones had to be fitted to avoid injuring players, while still delivering multiple views from each pylon. The pictures are not only sensational, they have helped referees judge critical touchdowns in key games. Technology partners include BSI and Gilman.

The third finalist is the live IP studio built by the EBU and housed at VRT Sandbox in Brussels. It tackles the difficult challenge of real interconnectivity between equipment from multiple vendors to build a practical production studio. The long list of technology partners includes Axon, D&MS, Dwesam, EVS, Genelec, Grass Valley, Lawo, Nevion, Tektronix and Trilogy.

There are three finalists in the Content Management category. MoovIT Production Services was faced with the challenge of shooting the Endemol Shine Germany reality show Wild Island off the coast of Central America but posting it in Cologne, Germany. Working with EditShare, a remote workflow allowed the content to be secured in a hostile environment with an unpredictable power supply, saving 50 per cent on time and resources.

Ketnet, the children’s channel from VRT in Belgium, has been transformed into an interactive, curated online experience. The first app was aimed at two to five year olds, and concentrated on stimulating educational experiences rather than simply offering programmes and clips. The solution – developed by local company Small Town Heroes – saw young viewers spending 50 per cent of their time using the app.

Returning to reality television, Tencent Video in China wanted to make all 120 HD cameras and two 360˚ cameras available at all times on its show The 15 of Us. Tencent worked with technology partner Grass Valley to manage 3,000 hours of content a day for editing, packaging and approval.

For the first name on the shortlist for Content Delivery we return to BT Sport, and its Ultra HD channel which provides 4K coverage of football, rugby, MotoGP, squash, NBA basketball and more. The company worked with its outside broadcast partner Timeline Television to build Europe’s first Ultra HD 4K truck, including cameras from Sony and a SAM switcher. Other technical partners were Ericsson, Fuji, ChyronHego and Telegenic.

Swisscom is looking forward to a future where much television may be viewed on demand, and considered how it could help consumers discover the content they like. Working with ThinkAnalytics, it developed a new user experience which allows users to browse through all the content shown on more than 250 television channels with personalised recommendations. UEFA, the European football governing body, recognised that football fans want much more than just simple coverage of the game. With technology partners deltatre, EVS and the EBU it developed its

Next Generation Services Project, delivering a host of additional content from data feeds to multiple angles and linked second screen experiences.

Nine great projects are in the running. Who will take home the awards? Find out at the IBC Awards Ceremony at 18:30 on Sunday evening in the RAI Auditorium. Free-to-attend for all IBC visitors, this year’s show looks set to be an outstanding evening, with some very special guests and stunning content shared on the IBC Big Screen.