Bitmovin joined the centennial celebration of the NAB Show 2023 in Las Vegas and came home with the Best of Show Award for the newly launched Smart Chunking innovation. We’ve got hold of our CEO, Stefan Lederer, for a wrap-up and some insights.
What were the biggest highlights for you this year?
NAB is an intense 5 days, but it’s always worth it for the satisfaction of seeing customers, partners and prospects in person. This year’s event was also super special because it was NAB’s 100th show! It made me reflect on how much the media and entertainment industry has changed and how much video has shaped the world – from the growth of broadcasting, which delivered landmark moments such as the
first televised coronation of a monarch to the first music video to ever be aired on TV. The media and entertainment industry was further revolutionized by the growth of video streaming which paved the way for companies such as Netflix, which fast became a cultural phenomenon by pioneering the Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) business model and still remains a tastemaker for content and technology trends today.
100 years of NAB also led me to think about Bitmovin’s own journey at the show as we prepare to celebrate our 10th anniversary as a company on 16th June. We began exhibiting at NAB around 7 years ago with a much smaller team and booth, so it’s incredible to see how far we’ve come from those days and what we’ve built together. This year’s NAB was an outstanding show for us, with a tonne of great announcements, including our CMCD partnership with Akamai, having Nomad on our booth and also taking home an NAB Best of Show Award for Smart Chunking!
AI has gained real momentum as a trend across the technology industry. What are your thoughts on that and did you see any exciting AI innovations at NAB?
A few years ago AI was a huge topic in the media and entertainment industry and the buzz for it has definitely returned because of major advancements in AI/ML with ChatGPT (which a lot of Bitmovers have had a lot of fun with, including using it to make a rap song about video codecs!) and generative AI. Although some might use it as a buzzword, it is great to see some practical applications of AI and Machine Learning in video streaming, such as in our Video Complexity Analyzer and Super Resolution upscaling. With the ongoing interest in the industry, I am curious and excited to see what new solutions emerge, especially when it comes to improving efficiency and sustainability.
Sustainability has also been pretty high on the news agenda, what are your thoughts on that?
It is encouraging to see the industry embracing more and more sustainability as a core value, and I think it’s great the industry’s first-ever Excellence in Sustainability Awards were presented at the show. Becoming more sustainable is something every company should be striving for, and as an industry, we need to do better on a corporate and technical level. At Bitmovin, we are implementing new policies and guidelines to help us reduce our carbon footprint. We’ve also partnered with the University of Klagenfurt on a research project called GAIA, which has the ultimate goal of creating a climate-friendly video streaming platform that provides complete energy awareness and accountability, including energy consumption and GHG emissions, along the entire delivery chain.
I did also hear some cool discussions related to sustainability at the show, including the prominent advantages of cloud-native solutions over the “lift-and-shift” or “rehosting” approach, which delivers promising results in terms of performance and carbon footprint reduction.
What were some of the other biggest trends you saw at NAB?
AI and sustainability dominated discussions at NAB Show, there were also other big topics that are just as important. The first is ATSC 3.0 and 5G local networks, which represent state-of-the-art and the latest evolution within traditional broadcast television and telecommunications workflows. These technologies are enabling new possibilities for efficient content distribution, interactivity, and remote production. ATSC 3.0 had a huge presence in the convention hall this year, and there were a number of demonstrations around using private 5G pop-up networks for live contribution feeds, which is something that some of our partners in the Bitmovin Innovator Network are starting to take advantage of.
On the other hand, WebRTC is a technology that is disrupting a lot of workflows that had traditionally been in the broadcasting or telecommunications domain. It’s been around for several years now, but we’re starting to see it evolve from being an open-source, DIY-type solution into something where there are now mature products and commercial offerings using WebRTC as the underlying technology. It’s pretty incredible that any modern web browser can now power 2-way or group video communication that used to require expensive, dedicated hardware.
Now NAB is over what are your plans?
The last few weeks have been incredibly busy for the entire team as we prepared for NAB. I also ran the Paris marathon, so I am definitely going to have a short break, but not for too long! NAB is a huge event to prepare for, but there is also a lot of work that needs to be done following the show with customers, prospects and partners.