Among all the big company announcements and technology solutions, IBC 2015 had a few surprises this year. Here are four things that I thought stood out from the crowd.
Piksel and Transavia
Airlines are struggling to find reliable solutions to deliver entertainment to customers on planes. Transavia, a European airline, thinks it has come up with a great solution. Working with Piksel, the company has introduced Piksel Voyager, an app customers download to their device before flying. The customer can browse the catalog of movies and shows available on the flight they are about to take and download up to 5 items before they board. However, these titles cannot be watched before the plane takes off, and automatically expire one hour after landing.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on United flights where the entertainment system is broken or the WiFi non-functional. Makes downloading the movies beforehand sound like a great solution!
One camera, one lens delivers 360 viewing
I stopped by the Vantrix booth to see a truly amazing demonstration that I think is going to take the sports world by storm. Vantrix, C360 and Immervision are working together to bring true 360 degree viewing to life. The amazing part of this story is the camera uses ImmerVision’s panomorph super-wide-angle spherical lens technology to capture a 360 degree view in 6K resolution. The camera provides 4 HD SDI video feeds and one IP stream.
Vantrix video processing software takes the live video feed and transcodes it for multiscreen delivery.
The end result is amazing. Of course, you can use VR goggles to look around any scene the camera is capturing. However, to me the demonstration on the flat screen was far more impressive. You can “drop down” into the image and the software stitches together a seamless panning picture from the original C360 video feed.
Imagine being able to look around from the point of view of the quarter back in a football game, or see that foul the ref missed exactly from his point of view. I’m sure the creative types will find way more uses to dazzle us.
Customized marketing in an a la carte TV world
Indian pay TV is already fully a la carte, with subscribers picking exactly which channels they want to pay for. That’s a problem for operators. Since they are so many channels, 22,089 in India according to Gracenote, how can a subscriber possibly figure out which channels will be good for them?
WhatsOnIndia, which has just been purchased by Gracenote, has the answer to this problem with a new product it calls, appropriately enough, the “ARPU Enhancer”. The company figures out the likes and dislikes of each individual users by tracking which channels they subscribe to, favorite programs and channels, and language and genre preferences. The company also tracks the amount of content broadcast by channels in various genre categories such as news, sports, drama, children’s content. It then brings these two data pools together to dynamically create a package of channels customized to each individual users.
This could be something operators in Canada take a close look at. Earlier this year the Canadian telecom regulatory agency decided to force the cable industry to sell channels to consumers a la carte.
ROK Mobile’s wireless bundle
We are seeing lots of innovation by mobile operators to try and capture and keep subscribers. I heard about another one from Seachange at IBC. Jay Samit, Seachange CEO, said that ROK Mobile would be introducing a mobile service that bundles voice, text, data and video together. Though Mr. Samit wasn’t saying how much the service would cost, he assured me the content provided would be premium quality fare. Seachange is providing the content for the bundle.
The service is targeted at millennials, whose screen of choice is the smartphone. Though I don’t fit the demographic, I can’t wait to give the service a spin.