The fascinating thing about our industry – and what keeps me associated with IBC – is that it is constantly changing. Every time we think we have reached the peak, something new comes along and the industry grows again.
This time last year I was proud of the fact that we had reached the magic 50,000, both in square metres of exhibition space and in visitor numbers. Well, this year the numbers are even bigger.
IBC really is where the leading brands, the finest minds and the wisest investors come each year. It is the premier annual event for professionals in electronic media and entertainment worldwide.
As such, the job of my committee is to deliver an exhibition which shows the capability of our industry.
This year it means we are even bigger. Our partners at the RAI have fulfilled their side of the bargain, adding a new building on the north-east corner of
the site. It’s called the Amtrium. It includes a new two-storey restaurant called The Roast, which I am looking forward
Perhaps even more important, it includes a large space which we can convert into tailored accommodation for a major exhibitor. So just as Sony has made its home in the Elicium building, this year the open space in the Amtrium will be given over to Imagine Communications.
I have mentioned two of our exhibitors: and I would like to mention the other 1,700 or so if I had room. But I know they will all be making their presence felt onsite, showing off new technology and new ideas.
One of the most dramatic innovations of the last year or so is the drone. Affordable and easily controlled miniature flying machines and the new breed of small cameras have come together in a new creative tool capable of delivering a stunning new viewpoint.
But there is a limited amount you can say about a drone sitting on an exhibition stand. So we are building a very large flying cage, in Congress Square in the centre of the RAI. IBC Drone Zone exhibitors will have access to the flight cage to demonstrate their products in a real, outdoor environment. It is going to be a spectacular demonstration area.
Moving back indoors, I think one of the other highlights this year will be the ability to deliver 4K, With DirecTV in the States and BT in Europe announcing Ultra HD channels, it will be good to see the latest from cameras to codecs.
Last year we launched IBC Content Everywhere Europe, and this year it is bigger and better than ever. Although it is aimed at the convergence of IT, telecoms and broadcast, it is an important part of IBC and it is open and available to all. That includes the popular IBC Content Everywhere Hub, in Hall 14, which hosts presentations, panels and a couple of daily debates. This year we are adding another stage, the IBC Content Everywhere Technology in Action Theatre, located in Hall 3, which will also be a hotspot for discussing innovation.
The IBC Future Zone is where the cutting edge work in the world’s R&D labs and universities comes to life. Always popular, you can find it in the Park Foyer near hall 8. This year there are special sessions in the conference linked to some of the exciting innovations in the IBC Future Zone, including wearables and augmented reality.
Talking of innovations, we have launched one of our own. The IBC Launch Pad is a new feature designed for first-time exhibitors. New companies can get their cutting edge products and services in front of our 55,000 expected visitors, looking to catch the eye of the international community.
I just have space to mention the FREE Touch & Connect networking system we are using this year. Last year it was just for the IBC Content Everywhere community, this year everyone will have access to the extended functionality. Far more than just a badge, Touch & Connect is a valuable networking tool, a great way to schedule appointments, and your key to the IBC community and exclusive content all year round.
And when another year rolls around, the RAI, and IBC, will have another new permanent hall. Located between the current halls 8 and 9, it is due to open in time for IBC2016 and will give us more space to offer more features for our visitors.
For now, though, can I say to all IBC visitors, may you find the solutions to your challenges, and to all IBC exhibitors, may you find the most fruitful new commercial relationships. See you in September.