This was my second year attending the NAB Show, which brings together more than 100,000 attendees and 1,700 exhibitors to check out the latest technologies and learn about the biggest trends in the broadcast, media and entertainment industry. While the range of companies exhibiting and attending at the show varies greatly, I picked up on five key themes that kept coming up again and again, during conversations with media and around the show floor.
- Cloud, cloud, cloud. At NAB 2014, the talk of the show seemed to be the cloud. But, cloud waseverywhere this year. PAN client Signiant successfully broke through the noise and capitalized on the buzz around this hot industry trend, speaking to hundreds of customers and dozens of reporters during NAB about updates to its SaaS accelerated file transfer solutions. Sports Video Group Editor Karen Hogan wrote that “talk of the cloud filtered through the Las Vegas Convention Center this week, and although the concept may still seem a bit ambiguous to some, companies like Signiant are leveraging the cloud’s capabilities in very real ways.” In fact, Signiant won an Emmy® Award for Technology and Engineering for these innovations. The Emmy was proudly displayed at the booth and drew many visitors for photo opps.
- Everything over IP. TV Technology reported in a NAB preview issue that “few topics have been discussed as much before the show this year as the buzz around new IP infrastructure.” And, TVNewsCheck wrote in a “NAB Hot Topics” article that, “IP transport will touch so many aspects of television that it is positioned over time to supplant most everything people know and understand about TV workflows — from origination and contribution to distribution and consumption.” As media and entertainment organizations move away from traditional broadcast infrastructure and embrace new technologies, they looked for insights and solutions at NAB
- 4K is here to stay. One of the most exciting aspects of NAB is seeing groundbreaking technologies in their infancy. I saw a 4K (or Ultra-HD TV) for the first time at NAB last year, and this trend has only grown in the past year. According to PCWorld, the number of 4K TVs sold around the world will almost triple in 2015. The NAB Show certainly reflected this trend, with 4K TV’s prominently displayed around the show floor and technology vendors discussing solutions to the challenges 4K creates for broadcasters (from building infrastructure for 4K production, to moving these huge files fast).
- Drones are taking off. Drones were literally all over NAB, and visitors flocked to the Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion “Flying Cage” to see drones in action. Drones are more than a gimmick – they have the potential to revolutionize the media industry. Think of live sports or news broadcasts shot by drones, for example.
- OTT goes mainstream. FierceOnlineVideo reported that at NAB 2015, “broadcasters gave the world an open acknowledgement that new technologies and new business models were no longer just fringe showcase items but things that they need to adopt, incorporate–heck, even embrace” – including OTT. PAN client Mirror Image focused on the OTT trend, even naming 2015 “The year of OTT.” The company featured an interactive quiz at its booth to understand the prevalence of online and mobile audio streaming compared to the traditional radio, with the chance for participants to bring home a Quadcopter.
The sheer size of NAB can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult for technology vendors to stand out among the crowds. By sharing unique takes on hot trends we were able to make our clients the talk of the show.