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IBC, the International Broadcasting Convention, will bring a series of online innovation discussions and demonstrations to IBC Digital over the coming weeks as part of its Accelerator Media Innovation Programme. The programme includes three 5G focused projects that originally aimed to showcase their solutions and workflows at the IBC Show, which will now take their learnings online to disseminate and demonstrate the results of their hands-on experiments and evaluation over the last six months.

With collaborative innovation at the core, more than 100 organisations have taken part in IBC’s unique innovation programme in 2021, including more than 40 in the three 5G centred projects, which are:

5G for Remote Production in Live Sports: Ahead of two major global sporting events in 2022; the FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar and the Winter Olympics in Beijing, an IBC Accelerator project led by Al Jazeera Media Networks has been putting current 5G capabilities for live sports content production to the test, including the development of compelling fan engagement experiences via a dedicated app, trialling new contribution technologies and assessing new live remote production workflow architectures at the FIFA Arab Cup™ currently taking place in Doha, Qatar. The team comprises world leading broadcasters and FIFA rights holders as Champions including Al Jazeera, BBC Sport, beIN SPORTS, BT Sport, Fox Sports, OBS, Ooredoo and SuperSport. Participating vendors involved are, AVIWEST, Evertz, Grass Valley, Mobile Viewpoint, Microsoft, NativeWaves, Net Insight, Taswer and TVU Networks plus academic partners Doha College and Evolution Sports. The Session will showcase on IBC Digital in January 2022.

“With one year to run to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, we were keen to exploit IBC’s Accelerator programme to put 5G’s promise to the test,” said Ahmed Alfahad, Executive Director of Technology & Network Operations, Al Jazeera Media Networks. “We were particularly keen to unlock exciting new immersive experiences for fans as well as new creative production techniques for sports, news and events broadcasters. Working collaboratively with such a team of world leading sports broadcasters, mobile networks and specialist production technology vendors to trial use cases at the FIFA Arab Cup this month, our learnings have been extensive, and we look forward to sharing some of the insights with IBC’s global audience of industry professionals.”

5G Location-Based Extended Reality Project: Exploring the role of 5G in Location-Based eXtended realities (LBXR), this ground-breaking Accelerator has focused on examining 5G’s low latency and provision of edge computing as critical aspects required for immersive, ultra-responsive interactivity and the technical feasibility of multi-user, multi-location XR gaming. The group utilised the esports/games market as an ideal template for 5G use cases for XR formats, due to requirements for low latency, high bandwidth, and serious computing power. The project’s POC explored this with two XR formats, using both Augmented Realty (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). The AR workstream harnessed Hado, a virtual yet hybrid dodge ball game developed to be the world’s first in physical esport with a remote gameplay. The second workstream focussed on Nanoclash, the title Virtual Reality IP at Park Playground, which demonstrated 5G via multi-player, multi-location between Belgium, and at Vodafone’s 5G Hub in The Netherlands. The project is Championed by Telenet/ Liberty Global, Park Playground, Hado, Digital Domain, Twickenham Studios, Vodafone, ESL/ Weavr, with Participants: Huawei, Net Insight, Noitom, ProMod Esports and QuarkXR. The session is set to showcase on IBC Digital on Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 1500hrs GMT and then will be made available on demand.

Lian Xiangyu, Project Lead and Chief Engineer, Telenet said: “In this project we developed a solution to run VR & AR content in a competitive gaming style across multiple locations using a 5G network. The low latency and high bandwidth characteristics of 5G ensure we can add cloud rendering, esports production with commentating, live avatar, game data analysis and more and stream to an esports audience in a VR experience. This solution completely reshaped the way to organize a location-based XR event.”

5G & Innovation in Live Workflows: Exploring innovation across four core areas that will be key to technology powered production in future, this Accelerator has been assessing the potential of Private 5G Networks (Also known as NPNs or Non-Public Networks), Multi-Access Edge Computing; Multi-Cloud deployments, and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites. The aims and the Proof of Concept to follow, promises to point the way toward open workflows, where productions can connect from anywhere and run their processes how they want and where they want. The project is championed by a stellar team of world leading broadcasters including Al Jazeera, BBC, beIN SPORTS, BT Sport, EBU, Fox Sports, ITV, OBS, RTÈ, RTL, TV2, ViacomCBS, Vodafone and Yle. With participants - Evertz, Grass Valley, Huawei, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, Net Insight, Nulink, Singular.Live, University of Strathclyde, Zixi. The session is set to showcase on IBC Digital on Wednesday 15th December 2021 at 1300hrs GMT and then will be made available on demand.

Ian Wagdin, Project Lead and Senior Technology Transfer Manager at BBC R&D said: “We stretched the boundaries for 2020’s 5G Remote Production Accelerator, so it’s good to be back to build on the work we did last year, and also to delve more into innovation in live workflows. With so many emerging technology solutions being offered as we move to IP and cloud-based production, interoperability and the ability to function across multiple platforms at different scales is at risk. For this Accelerator, we’ve been looking at workflows as a whole to see how we can give production teams the best options for them – and our proof of concept will demonstrate an open workflow where they can connect from anywhere and run their production processes how and where they want.”

“Collaborative innovation is at the core of IBC’s Accelerator Programme, as seen by over 100 organisations that have been involved in eight project challenges, that are all highly relevant to today’s media sector” said Mark Smith, Innovation Lead and Advisor to IBC. “IBC Digital viewers will see some compelling discussions with project Champions and Participants about these challenges, the specific barriers faced and lessons learned through the Accelerator programme, including their PoC demonstrations that all underline the ‘learning by doing’ ethos of this acclaimed IBC programme.”

The IBC Accelerator sessions can be found on IBC Digital here

The IBC Accelerator Programme – which is supported by Nvidia - was launched in 2019 and empowers companies from across the content and technology industries to identify business and technology challenges and solve them openly and collaboratively. In addition to the three 5G projects, further challenges include More Sustainable Live Productions, Ai for Bias Detection, Smart Remote Production for Real Time Animation, Immersive Audio Sound & Imagery, and RT-3D Interactive Content Creation for Real Time Distribution.

IBC is now calling for Challenges for the 2022 Accelerator Programme, with a deadline of Friday 18th February 2022. Submission forms and further details on the process can be found here.

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