IBC2019 has come to an end. We’re back in the office and, with our heads still spinning with information and excitement, ready to catch a breath and bring you this short report. Here are some of the things we saw at the world’s biggest media, entertainment and technology show in Amsterdam.

Among the many highlights of this year’s IBC (International Broadcasting Convention), HbbTV was clearly one of the hottest topics. We are proud to be among the few companies in Europe offering HbbTV app development services. Better Software Group actually made it into the HbbTV Association’s official IBC guide, referenced as one of the industry experts competent in delivering HbbTV apps.

BBetter Software Group mentioned in HbbTV Association’s IBC guide

HbbTV is a widely adopted industry standard (aka ETSI TS 102 796) and an initiative promoting unified hybrid TV delivery across multiple devices. The HbbTV consortium gathers 50+ members, including various standardisation and research bodies, broadcasting companies, software and content protection experts and major device manufacturers.

The Booth

Our presence at IBC2019 was a huge success in many ways. Most importantly, our booth was situated in the Content Everywhere area, which was a strategically important place at the venue.IBC2019 map

BSG booth at ICB2019

The physical proximity of our business partners THEO Technologies and big brands Google, Facebook and Vimeo gave us a unique opportunity to catch up with our business friends and mingle with the industry’s best.

From pure small talk to networking with potential clients and partners, our stand was bustling with life, and welcomed visitors from many other exhibiting businesses, including Facebook and Amazon.

image2

Content Everywhere Floor Plan at IBC2019

We managed to come back to the office with many important contacts and prospects for creating bleeding-edge projects for the TV industry.

Liveact.me

We were very excited to see our brainchild Liveact.me get a lot of attention. The tool allows non-professionals to deliver interactive live streaming with social media integration and studio-like quality. Visitors found the idea very interesting.

image10

Among others, we were approached by Livepeer, a provider of open source video infrastructure services built on the Ethereum blockchain. This led up to us establishing a business partnership between Liveact.me and Livepeer. We will keep you updated on the details of this exciting collaboration as it unfolds in the coming months.

Catching up with the trends

IBC2019 was a unique opportunity to catch up with industry trends. This was a truly valuable aspect of our presence. But attending the event is also an opportunity to gain first-hand feedback from our potential clients, hinting at the future direction of the industry. We observed a growing interest in both cross-platform and native solutions, and a growing popularity of Android TV applications.

Google

To complement its rather ubiquitous presence at IBC2019, Google topped it all up with a couple of announcements that may change the game. We attended Android TV Summit to witness the official reveal of two new, exciting devices from the Mountain View giant.

1. Google Android TV operator dongle – a 4K streaming device designed as a “white label product” that operators can brand with their logos. The operator dongle is not only customizable on the outside – it also launches straight into the operator app and allows the home screen to be freely customized by the operator as well. Not surprisingly, the device comes with a fair share of Google’s products on board, including the support for Google Assistant and Chromecast functionalities built-in.

Google Android TV operator dongle

2. Google’s reference hybrid set-top box design was another piece of Android TV hardware presented at the summit. The STB device is aimed to get operators halfway closer to offering standardized hybrid TV – at least in terms of hardware. Google is clearly on a mission to deliver a reference device and create industry-wide standards for the delivery of hybrid TV on top of Android TV. The box is not here quite yet, but there’s evidence Google may be onto something:

image4

BSG at Content Everywhere

The IBC CE panel session An introduction to app development featured BSG’s own Gregory Trzonkowski, Carl Hibbert, (Associate Director, Futuresource Consulting), Alberto Mari, (Director of Sales, Applicaster) and Elías Pérez Carrera (CEO, Quobis). The four confronted their views in a discussion about the delivery of TV across multiple platforms.

IBC2019 Content Everywhere Panel

From the developer’s perspective, creating and maintaining software for Smart TV is becoming a real challenge today. The proliferation of platforms – Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, FireTV, Samsung’s Tizen and the fragmented Android ecosystem make it really difficult to consistently create and test software that runs smoothly for every user. This is why it is becoming increasingly important for content providers to partner with experienced domain experts like Better Software Group.

In many ways, the process of making apps for smart TV platforms is also becoming more complex than mobile app development. The number of factors impacting the software/service development process is becoming unwieldy. And that’s not only because of the multiple operating systems and their versions, but also due to operators’ push to customize the UX to their specific needs – or introduce changes like adjustments of the recommendation engine. And the importance of smooth experience cannot be underestimated.

Dynamically responding to the ever-changing, dynamic industry of smart TV development requires a robust, agile development team able to embrace the change – and give the operator the first-mover advantage.

Last words

Again, IBC2019 rose up to the promise. Its diverse lounge talks, tech talks and presentations offer an amazing immersion in the world of digital media and entertainment. It’s a go-to event for those after a deep dive into the latest tech trends and innovations.

See you there next year!

image1

image6

image13

image14