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Highlights from NAB: From 4K technologies to cybersecurity

April 21, 2015

Rangu Salgame   

Blog Contributor

As is typical in this industry, business travel takes up a considerable percentage of my life. Moments of down time aren’t frequent but when they occur I like to take advantage of them by taking in movies and television series on my laptop (thanks to HBO for House of Cards!) It’s great to be able to quickly and easily access these bits of entertainment anytime, just about anywhere I happen to be in the world.

Fast-paced technology development and new, innovative business models have made media and entertainment content more accessible than ever. Content providers and broadcasters are transitioning from selling via the traditional affiliate model such as over-the-air broadcasters, cable MSOs or direct-to-home satellite providers to delivering high quality content over the Internet. Media and entertainment consumers expect content to be available anytime, anywhere, and on multi-format devices.

For proof, we don’t need to look far. CBS’ OTT All Access, a digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service, keeps adding markets. Competitors are quickly getting in on the action: Traditional cable television company HBO recently launched HBO NOW on a variety of platforms including Apple IOS and Google Android devices to offer direct-to-consumer OTT service.

With things changing at light speed the usually standard question, “what’s next?” takes on a new energy and intrigue.

To find the answers I recently stopped by Las Vegas to check out the 2015 NAB Show, the world’s largest gathering of the media and entertainment industry.

I was inspired by much of what I saw and learned. For sharing purposes I’ve narrowed it down to my top five:

  1. Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion: New to the NAB Show, this immersive environment solidified that far from being just cool gadgets, drones are an ultra-effective way to discover, capture and report on breaking news in hard-to-reach locations. Despite restrictions placed on the commercial use of drones in several parts of the world, ingenious companies are busy flying out new products. Vitec Group recently stepped into the professional video production drone arena with the acquisition of Paralinx, a company that develops wireless video transmission systems. And our new partner Red Bull Media House showed me eagle-view drone images: mindboggling!
  1. New 4K technologies and High Dynamic Range (HDR): HDR is another advancement in picture quality that provides brighter, richer colours than ever before. Both 4K and HDR will usher in new levels of user experience in television, cameras, smartphones, tablets, computer screens and PC games
  1. Over-the-top content delivery: Several presentations focused on the challenges and opportunities in delivering digital quality content to a new generation of viewers, while developing new monetising strategies. This intersection of television and digital marks an important shift in the distribution of media and entertainment content in developing countries. Those living in remote areas with minimal and often cost-prohibitive cable access will continue to snap up smartphones that are getting cheaper —to the tune of more than 6 billion by 2025— as a means of tapping into live streaming and video content.
  1. Cyber security: How to keep our data safe is an urgent issue that deserves both management and board-level attention. We all know that the consequences of a cyber breach on a business’ finances, its customers and its reputation can be catastrophic and so it ought to be a pressing management issue and it urgently requires board-level attention. The technology to protect a business against cyber breaches is available but I think it needs a focus from business that is equal to that of strategy, product development and R&D. it was fantastic to hear from cybersecurity expert and founder of McAfee Associates and Future Tense Central, John McAfee, on the importance of this topic at NAB.
  1. A dynamic new partnership: Red Bull Media House chooses Tata Communications as its global partner for connectivity and innovation: to me, this partnership is all about energy!

The overarching conclusion I took away from this year’s show is that it is unquestionably a new day out there. We are at a cusp in the industry when broadcasting, Internet, live entertainment and technology are disrupting the traditional business models, and I see tremendous market opportunities that can be exploited by entrepreneurs and innovation-driven organisations alike.

Find out more about the partnership between Tata Communications and Red Bull in the video below