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Thursday 18 October 2018

The Media Technology programme is extremely proud to be the UK Higher Education partner for the International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM). Through the partnership, the IABM sponsor two of our students to attend the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam with full conference passes. It’s an incredible opportunity for the students to see the cutting edge of the field and network with world leaders.

The students go through a two-stage process before being awarded a place that involves completing a piece of academic writing and delivering a presentation on emerging technologies to a panel for the IABM. This year’s winners were BSc (Hons) Audio Engineering students Nick Smith and Jedd Pestugia.

Nick prepared the following report on his visit:

"During my time at IBC, I was engulfed in new ground-breaking technology that was very relevant to my university course as an audio engineer. We spent our time walking around the huge exhibition that consisted of 15 large halls, networking with top companies within the industry such as Arqiva, Amazon Web Services and Fraunhofer. As well as this, throughout the days there would be content programmes hosted by people within the industry that would include special panels, classes and speakers.

The BBC hosted two very interesting lounge talks where 5G and immersive technologies were discussed. 5G is one of the most used but least understood buzzwords but BBC broadcast engineer James Goodhand gave us an insight as to what is to come of 5G over the next few years. This included what it promises, its possible uses, why it is better than 4G. I found 5G very exciting as it offers multi gigabyte speeds with very low latency. Ben Vandenberghe, CEO Skyline Communications stated, 'For a software company to succeed, they need an AI team'. This was one of the strongest quotes of the panel and made me realise how important AI is going to be in the development of the industry."


"I also attended a virtual reality master class, which was hosted by Rob Koenen and taught me that VR is no longer hype. In fact, it isn’t even on the Gartner hype cycle anymore. For what would’ve cost you $2000 previously in the VR industry now costs you a fraction of that price and you will get more for it. 'VR headsets started off at around $2000 but now they are better, standalone wireless devices offering 3 degrees of freedom (DoF) or 6DoF for a fraction of that price.' Degrees of freedom which refers to how the VR world reacts to the user when they move their body or head. As an audio engineering student, I was excited when MPEG-H started to be discussed as the new standard of audio for VR and AR. Prior to this masterclass I had never heard of MPEG-H, so this class allowed me to develop my knowledge of the new codec.

As well as my interest in audio, I am also very open to learning about broadcast and enjoyed a sports broadcasting masterclass. Host Broadcast Services (HVS) provided hands on experience directing a live sports game which was hosted by industry expert and producer of the FIFA World Cup 2018 Riki Van Steeden. During this masterclass we were taught basic directorial concepts and were given access to a switcher where we could direct our own sports game."


"The exhibition itself was also extremely interesting. When walking around the exhibition I noticed that virtual studios, augmented reality and news and sports motion graphics workflows are all becoming very popular. These were the technologies that I was most interested in. It was great to visit companies that specialised in different areas and it made me realise how competitive the industry really is but how this itself is beneficial as it allows the industry to constantly grow and develop.

Overall, I am very grateful to be one of the handful of students that attended the IBC. The conference allowed me gain a further insight to what technologies are being developed within the industry, and also helped me to develop my knowledge on the technologies that I’m interested in. I would like to thank the IABM for giving me the opportunity to attend the IBC, it was an amazing experience and I would love to revisit in the future."

It certainly sounds like Nick got a lot out of his trip and we look forward to offering similar experiences to more students for IBC 2019 later this year.