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(English) My 10 does-the-emperor-have-any-clothes-on questions for IBC17

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To get the most out of my annual pilgrimage to Amsterdam, I’ve sat down and had think about the big questions I don’t believe we have answers on in late 2017.

I came up with 10, which only represent what I’ve been working on not necessarily the complete picture. Clearly we need to take ourselves less seriously sometimes. I for one would never trust an expert who has straightforward answers to all these questions, because the honest truth is that we don’t know.

From new to old topics:

1.   What will mainstream HDR look like in 2018?

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(English) AI, a new battleground for home entertainment

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What goes around in the technology sphere sometimes comes around many times before it finally works and delivers value to consumers or enterprises. That is certainly true for the related fields of AI (Artificial Intelligence), Machine Learning and voice processing. These all seem to be coming together now over 60 years after they were first proposed around 1954 by the US government as vital tools in the Cold War against the old Soviet Union. The ambition then was to translate and interpret Soviet technical documents and scientific reports almost instantly by exploiting the ground-breaking work on grammar by linguist Noam Chomsky. Despite huge investment from the US this failed abysmally because although these early systems could cope to some extent with grammar, machines could not get to grips with context or metaphor and rendered « the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. »  as « the vodka is good but the meat is rotten” after translation from English to Russian and back again.
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(English) No, UHD won’t go the way 3D went!

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Last month IHS Media & Technology Digest published a report authored by Richard Cooper on UHD stating that it could be the next 3D if the industry doesn’t get its act together.

I was an early critic of 3D arguing as early as 2009 that the 3D emperor didn’t have any clothes on. Hopefully that will legitimize my total disagreement with the idea that UHD might go the same way.

In my work at the Ultra HD Forum, we compiled a list of over 50 live commercial UHD services at the end of 2016. This was never the case for 3D.
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(English) It’s that time of year to ask again if next year will be the year of IoT

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Looking at the world through the prism of a service provider (which I often do in this blog) there are at least three new things coming your way:

  1. UHD where the jury has come in: it’s just a question of when and how UHD will permeate the video ecosystem, the ‘if’ has been decided.
  2. The VR/AR jury is still out and this could be the next living room 3D failure or maybe the future of all entertainment. My advice to my consulting clients in the meantime is to take it seriously and investigate. Even if it flops miserably, it will have first had an impact on the way we think of user experience.
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(English) Consolidation in air at Broadband World Forum 2016

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Bonding touted as solution to boost bandwidth for fixed and mobile services

Major trade shows can provide useful bell weathers of a given industry and the recent Broadband World Forum 2016 highlighted two notable trends embracing both the fixed and mobile space, one business related and the other technical. For the former, consolidation was a major theme that will only be accentuated by the announcement of AT&T’s bid for Time Warner coming after the show had ended. But there was also a sentiment that consolidation should not be allowed to proceed so far that it inhibits competition and consumer choice, which are essential for any thriving market in our mixed global economy.
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(English) Operators should take charge of systems integration for control and agility

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Systems integration has become a major challenge for pay TV operators as they embrace IP infrastructures and online delivery, with a requirement to become as agile as Internet companies while containing costs and dealing with legacy. For many the choice of integrator has become more critical even than that of the infrastructure’s core components, because getting it wrong can derail the whole enterprise and risk losing valuable ground at a time when new entrants are arriving and competitors are innovating faster than ever before in TV’s history. Against this background I have just co-written with Ben Schwarz an eBook focusing on SI in  pay TV and drilling down into the core issues through interviews with leading operators, analysts and of course integrators themselves. What emerged was a clear picture of best practice and priorities both in selecting an SI and then managing the subsequent relationship.
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