With a highly respected and peer-reviewed conference, a trade floor that exhibits more than 1 400 leading suppliers of sophisticated electronic media technology and an unrivalled networking platform – International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) is a must-attend for professionals in the studio and broadcast industry .
Held in Amsterdam between 6 and 11 September, this year’s IBC had a slight upsurge in popularity by recording 0.93 percent increase from last year’s trade fair.

The exhibition’s total number of attendees, conference delegates, exhibition visitors and exhibitors were pinned at a record 50 937 by the end of the six-day exhibition.
Speaking at the end of the trade show IBC’s CEO Michael Crimp noted that its success was a result of the quality associated with the exhibition. “That we have drawn a record audience at a time when there are still economic challenges in many parts of the world – and when broadcasters are dealing with massive events like the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games and US presidential elections – clearly shows that, above all, IBC is relevant to people at every level in our industry,’ he stated.


At the IBC Conference, a huge draw card for many visitors, more than 300 speakers addressed the audience but none drew more attention than Black Eyed Peas front man and Hip Hop impresario – Will.I.am. He is a technologist and Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation and drew a capacity audience for his highly subjective view of the future in a session co-hosted by Intel Corporation’s marketing VP – Johan Jervøe.

In their keynote address entitled “Creativity and Technology Forces Combine – Transcend the Barriers of Convention and Rethink What Can Be Achieved,’ the duo dealt with how creativity combined with technology can be used as a nexus for change to identify and overcome conventional thinking and challenge the status quo. When Will.i.am was asked about his thoughts on broadcasting and technology he said that the world needed more innovation.

Will.i.am recently inked a multi-year deal with Intel, which sees the musician using Ultrabooks to communicate with his two million Twitter followers and compose and record new music while on tour in different cities. The relationship ties in with Intel’s “compute continuum’ vision, in which more and more devices will compute and connect to the Internet.

Another prominent meeting was the “The Loudness Breakfast’ presented by Florian Camerer, Chairman, ORF & EBU/PLOUD, AUSTRIA. The session dealt with the complaint made by consumers to broadcasters relating to the irritating jumps in audio levels between channels, programmes, clips and commercials. This session offered a solution and a comprehensive explanation of the problems encountered in audio loudness for multi-platform and connected world applications.

The practice of focusing on loudness in mastering audio recordings dates back to the days when vinyl records were played on jukeboxes in clubs and bars. Any recording that was mastered louder than its competitors was more likely to gain the attention of the audience, and so disks were produced to replay at the loudness limit of the medium.

Fifty years on, modern computer-based digital audio effects processing allows mastering engineers to have more intricate control over the loudness, compression and quality of a recording. Therefore with the recent rise of international broadcast standards, “audio loudness’ has become one of the most important and debated topics in broadcast and pro-audio today.

Local perspective

When talking about an international trade fair such as IBC it is always important to bring the discussion back home and to get a local vantage point. Pro-Systems spoke to two South African industry professionals – Steve Alves of Concilum Technologies and Francois Lotter of Prosound, to get their impression on the show and insight on exciting products that will be hitting our shores soon.

Alves, who regularly visits IBC, believes that the exhibition lived up to previous editions and stated that event organisers seem to improve on the visitor experience year on year. “The show seemed to have much more of a vibe than in recent years. All of our partners had very impressive stands, and there was no shortage of traffic through them so the recession does not appear to be having a major impact on the broadcast industry. We find IBC is a good opportunity to build on the relationships we have established with many premium suppliers over the years,’ he said.

With regards to notable products paraded at IBC, Alves highlighted that Glensound and Prodys showcased solutions that improve the quality of audio for remote broadcasts stating: “Glensound and Prodys, have been implementing new technologies to improve audio quality over bandwidth limited feeds. During this year’s IBC exhibition Glensound was awarded the IABM Award for Excellence in Innovation and Design 2012 for their GS-MPI004HD HD Voice Broadcasters’ Mobile Phone.

While Prodys introduced portable codecs that have the versatility to connect an audio broadcast via cellular or satellite technologies that can be deployed in any remote area, even where cellphone connectivity is not available.

Lotter, who had last visited IBC in 2004, was excited about returning to the exhibition after a long absence. “It was great attending the IBC show – it has grown considerably since the last time I visited the trade fair. However, it is unfortunate that the pro audio side has not grown at the same rate,’ he stated.
While at the exhibition, Lotter attended the “Digital Radio Experience Seminar’, which he found very fascinating. Of interest to him was how certain countries approached the uptake to digital radio, reasons why some are not moving forward, and some of the misconceptions about digital radio. Lotter also picked up new trends that he sees may be adopted in the country in the near futur


“On the audio side one of the more key issues and trends that stood out for me is the adoption of the new loudness metering and processing set out by the ITU. The South African industry will naturally have to adapt to these standards very soon,’ Lotter explained.

By Simba Nyamukachi