It was a year where UHD certainly is being talked about but not because of resolution, the underlying murmur of the industry was talking about High Dynamic Range and Wide Colour Gamut. This was largely because standards, although converging, are still many (Dolby, Technicolor, BBC etc) when it comes to how to really delivery these key pieces of functionality to the customer experience. Too much is currently ill defined or not defined at all, to the extent that the vendor and infrastructure parts of this industry are very vocal about how this needs to change for the proper commercialisation of UHD. This is where we have to watch the movements and efforts of industry voices such as the UltraHD Forum, the UHD Alliance, DVB, ATSC and many others. In fact, we (and many others) strongly believe that more focus needs to be placed on profiling the technologies, standards and customer experience so that we can get to the point where UHD delivery works effectively whether you are in this party for resolution, colour or compression efficiency. It is in this context, and with our work with clients on UHD technologies and products, that we have moved to become a supporter of the Ultra HD Forum.
OTT technologies and services are now in the mainstream, which in many respects was true of the last couple of years, but it can now be said without doubt that OTT is an enabler for all and not a classification of new services from network-less operators such as Netflix, Amazon and others. The halls of IBC were filled with whitebox OTT solution providers old and new, whether they had history or not. A great shake-out is underway in our view, such that those OTT companies today will become part of the greater mass of video service technology and platform providers so much that in some years time, OTT will not be talked about – it will just be about Pay TV On-demand providers who use a variety of different technologies both on and off-net. The universal head-end has its time now, certainly as investment in software/cloud services and encoding, IP distribution and DRM give operators of all types the opportunity to move to single source delivery of Live and On Demand content, whatever the medium it finally uses to get to the customer home.
Consolidation and Acquisitions
This IBC also saw a significant set of announcements in acquisitions, and it was exciting to walk the halls expecting another announcement any moment after the Accenture/S3, Ericsson/Envivio and Amazon/Elemental news crashed over the industry just before and during IBC, it was such a shame that no more happened after the weekend. Those acquisitions are indicative of a competitive environment that gives the industry vibrancy with just a hint of concern about what these consolidations bring, so we do look forward to see these acquisitions play out in positive change in the industry as with every consolidation, new actors come to the fore.
So what did IBC 2015 bring Fairmile West? It was pleasurable to see and hear so much about products and services that we have worked on in the last 18 months or more coming to fruition. We also spent time speaking with new and old Associates and partner organisations, including those that we are working with in the next few months to deliver new value to our clients, and we look forward to helping more clients deliver great things over the next 12 months.