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Firstly, a disclaimer. If you’re looking for some seasoned technical insights from this year’s IBC, I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint. On this occasion, at least, it will be for a good reason… Given the luxury of time, I would have toured the halls, ventured onto stands for ad hoc conversations with industry peers, sought out innovation and gathered intel on the latest technological acronmyn sweeping our industry. Instead for the whole five days of the show I was moored to our stand. This de-facto house arrest in Hall 14 was the happy consequence of full calendar of meetings, which gave no concession to niceties such as free time. Whilst this may have limited my capability to make ‘state of the nation’ pronouncements (of which there are plenty already published), it was a validation, for us at least, of why we attend IBC. 

What kept us so busy? Thanks to the dynamic efforts of our Head of Sales, a growing company and client profile and exciting new product opportunities in the cloud, our feet barely touched the ground from the get go (admittedly it did taper off on Tuesday, but Tuesday is like the coccyx of IBC – it exists, but you’re not entirely sure for what purpose). 

This year it felt more than ever that the cloud was being considered as the primary option for running video services. We encountered much less reticence towards moving to the cloud and fielded a nuanced line of questioning, which showed that for many the cloud is now a default part of the broadcast tool kit. To further validate this perception of maturation of the cloud, it was particularly encouraging to have a significant number of ad-hoc queries from individuals who’d deliberately sought us out, directly referencing our work with other clients.

In product terms, much of our conversation was centred around our work on Apple’s new Low Latency HLS spec, our B2B live streaming solution, which leverages the potential offered by public cloud to revolutionise broadcast distribution (more on that soon…), and the launch of our new ‘totally cloud’ solution, M2A 4K Live Streaming, released just in time for the exciting year of Olympic sport and UEFA Euro 2020 football that lies ahead.   

But why do we spend a significant amount of capital and resource each year, hitching the M2A caravan to Amsterdam, to hold a series of meetings that could easily and more cheaply be held in ours, or our client’s office? The reason is intent. Everyone goes to IBC with the intent to discuss or learn about new opportunities. It is an inescapable irony of IBC that we can meet with clients, who are sometimes located within walking distance of our office. However, there is an intent, and a mutual agreement, to talk about ‘new stuff’; day-to-day operational matters are for back in the office, not IBC. IBC is one of two prime moments each year (the other being NAB), where it’s ok to pitch and be pitched. Being part of the new generation of technology leaders, it’s this openness to opportunity that is of greatest value to us.  

And while we’re there, we make sure we enjoy the show. Sure, by the end you’re  exhausted by the long days and long nights, but catching up with clients and peers, is, in the main, fun. Commercial concerns aside, it’s a chance to be part of a wider community and remind yourself that you’re actually lucky to be a member of such a creative and inspiring industry. 

So, here are my non-technical tips and takeaways from IBC 2019: 

  • The 4K 4Charity Fun Run: It had Robin van Persie and an escaped goat – just a standard fun run in Amsterdam, right? It’s an event that gets bigger and better each year and is actually fun (no, really). It’s also surprising how so many hungover people can run so well on a Saturday morning. 
  • The Beach Bar: Pints of Heineken in plastic glasses have very little appeal, yet The Beach exists to exploit a captive market. As customers I think we all want a little bit more than the corporate equivalent of bad festival bar. It’s not a place to linger. It’s time for the RAI to give the place an overhaul.
  • Hire a bike! Cycling around Amsterdam is not half as scary as you might think and it’s a decent way to slough off the night before. 
  • The Indy Food Truck:  Not only the best food at IBC, but perhaps some of the nicest Thai food you’ll have the good fortune to eat. 
  • Fruit:  Have some fruit on your stand. You’ll be amazed at how many people appreciate the opportunity to eat something healthy.
  • We had a great hotel this year – but that’s our secret and we’re not telling!

Whether it’s on a stand, over a plastic pint of Heineken or red faced at the 4K 4Charity Fun Run, essentially IBC Show is about building relationships the old fashioned way and even for people at the sharp edge of technological advances, that is definitely our favourite way to do business.

Here’s looking forward to next year!

About the author

As Head of Account Management, Guy Taylor works with M2A Media’s customers to deliver and maintain fault-free cloud-native, live streaming and live capture services to meet all requirements.

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