IBC is one of the biggest tradeshows in the broadcast industry’s calendar and it offers a valuable opportunity for content creators to come and see the latest developments in production technology. Unfortunately, it’s also a 4-day event held over 5 days, and the decrease in visitor numbers this year must add weight to the many voices among the larger exhibitors calling for a change to the format and a reduction in the length of the show. After all, if NAB can pack in over 93,000 visitors in 4 days, there’s really no compelling reason why IBC’s 55,000 attendees need 5.
Politics aside, this year’s exhibition was remarkably sunny and remarkably light on new product launches from many major brands, with Ross Video being the notable exception. Ross came to IBC with 21 brand new products and significant updates since NAB in April – a remarkable feat by anyone’s standards. Top of the list of new products has to be the Carbonite Ultra, a brand new 1RU 3ME switcher platform from Ross. Carbonite Ultra starts at less than $11k US list and includes so much I/O signal processing that some customers were buying it just as a signal processor! Also new from Ross this year is Ultritouch, a fully-customisable and configurable touchscreen panel for system control and monitoring.
Ultritouch can be set up quickly to perform traditional applications like router, multiviewer and signal processing control, but its real power is the ability to do virtually anything you want, however you want. Another notable product launch was the PIVOTCam-SE, a new compact 24 megapixel camera with 23x optical zoom. PIVOT-Cam offers extremely powerful performance at a very accessible price point – ideal for productions where space is at a premium or budgets are constrained.
Aside from the product launches, it was very interesting this year to see the continued rise in popularity of 12 SDI as a platform. Several years ago, I visited the major semiconductor companies and found a general reluctance to consider making 12G chips because, to quote one manufacturer, “your competitors are all claiming that the future is IP. I asked them to “make the chips for me and others will follow”. Sure enough, they did follow Ross and there are now a growing number of 12G products in the market from all major manufacturers, vindicating our decision to champion 12G and to continue developing products across SDI, 12G and IP platforms. We believe that 12G represents an accessible, efficient and cost-effective upgrade path for customers who don’t want to make the wholesale change in infrastructure to IP. We’re not denying the importance of IP, of course, and we’re very happy to help customers migrate to an all-IP-based workflow if that’s their preferred destination, but we also try to be pragmatic and help as many different kinds of customer as we can. A great many broadcasters around the world are still operating in SD, and I doubt their CTOs are being kept awake at night by concerns over IP migration. These customers are just as valid to Ross as any other, and I don’t like the idea of telling them that we cannot help them overcome the business, technical and creative challenges they face daily. When asked by a journalist at IBC this year for my views on the speed of IP adoption, I replied by saying it’s definitely increasing, but the speed of adoption of 12G SDI is increasing at an even faster rate. There’s no need for manufacturers to be sheepish about 12G – there is customer demand and plenty of good business out there for those who are prepared to play the long game in our long-tail market.