Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Honeycomb Delivers Highlights from IBC 2016

Asset Management, distribution and software
London, UK
The Honeycomb team took time from playing with drones to share what most impressed them at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam

This week the Honeycomb team made their way over to the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam, to see what was on the horizon for broadcasters, distributors, and in turn – consumers. 

Held every September at the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre, IBC exhibits everything from drones to cloud transcoding and we asked the Honeycomb team to tell us what most impressed them amongst the many exhibitors and speakers this year. 

Angus Fear, Managing Director UK

The Yospace Stand

No connection between YoSushi (Japanese fast food) and Yospace (dynamic user-targeted ad insertion). 

This amazing tech takes broadcast commercials selected by an adserver and creates a tailored commercial break on the basis of data about the viewer. This can then be inserted into the existing linear stream to replace the standard break with one just for that particular household or individual.

Yospace are already well established. They have been around for a few years and are already working with the biggest broadcasters in UK and other markets. Through set top box and other data, the broadcaster knows where you are down to the post code. They know you have children and own a dog, so the opportunities for localising broadcast and other targeting are huge.

The Yospace Stand

And targeted commercial breaks, maybe with your nearest branch address in the end-frame, means lots of clocks to be delivered. It was exciting to see another example where only Honeycomb speed and prices can meet the demands of this new broadcast landscape.

The Honeycomb team planning their next lunch 

How Secure is Your Data? Panel Session

Panel speakers from ITV, Fox, Microsoft Azure, NABA and IBM shared their alarming experiences in security to an audience of broadcast heavies from BBC, PBS and more. Given the growth of IT in all broadcast, this is a hot issue as broadcasters are exposed to cyber-attacks, and defending against them has become more demanding and expensive over the last few years since the high profile incidents with Sony and TV5Monde.

Some sobering facts emerged during the panel session, for example – on average breaches of security are undetected for 170 days. One major UK channel fends off attacks, which are attempting to cause loss of service, every day, and their real concern is an attack that could actually change content. Mischievous spotty teenage hackers used to be the problem, but now it’s well organised hacktivists.

All this reminds us that broadcast is now very much part of the IT world with all its strengths and weaknesses. And modern broadcasters need a delivery service that is driven by leading edge IT for speed and the visibility of assets. Lucky for them, Honeycomb have got that covered!


We don't know what it is - but it looks cool!

Lindsey Kistler, Head of Product Strategy

Amazon Web Services (AWS) & Elemental Combined Stand 

After the acquisition of Elemental last year, it was interesting to see how they set out their stalls for what should be a match made in heaven; the platform as a service (PaaS) cloud transcoding system that dynamically scales like the best of AWS. Over some good coffee made by a barista, we learned more about how things are going for them together these days. 

It’s a real best-of-both combination, with Elemental fully virtualising what they did as applications and AWS enabling seamless scaling and volume to match the most demanding use cases, including 4K and live-to-VOD. Acquisitions like these becoming partnerships, where both parties keep their identities (which is probably, dare we say, tied to their nimbleness and innovation), and combine their strengths are heartening sights for the industry. They are key to making big improvements for broadcasters and platform owners, namely being able to scale up to UHD and 4K, as well as tackling high-volume traffic like Honeycomb’s at a competitive price point. 

It's nice to see the relationship working out so well.


Caution - branded contents are hot

Hall 11

I have a soft spot for Hall 11, mostly because of two companies, Go Pro and Drone Volt, whose stands are usually neighbours and who I always try to visit when I attend IBC. Their juxtaposition always brightens things up for me, especially after a long day slogging around the halls. They make me think about the exciting possibilities that are hovering (ha ha) around the corner in combining drone and video technology. 

Go Pro is well known for its rugged, tiny high-quality cameras, mounted on everything from surfboards to skydivers. Drone Volt makes some large and impressive 4 and 6 rotor drones. I’m not sure exactly how to explain their appeal to me, as I’ve never been notably into shooting video, extreme sports, or the world of drone hobbyists. I guess it’s because I have a bit of a fascination with the democratisation of video, as well as literally changing the rulebook on airspace with drone technology. They’re a symbol for me of how rapidly change has come in these areas in such a short time. 

While their neighbours are touting genuinely impressive bits of professional studio-quality kit – giant booms, lighting systems and fancy cameras, these two seem to be selling things that ordinary people might reasonably acquire to create and do cool things with, whether as hobbyists or in ways that disrupt current technology or media. And that makes them fascinating symbols of possibility, as well as quite fun.

Rory Franklin, Software Engineer

My first proper trip to IBC was a whirlwind tour of meetings with technology partners such as Signiant, Telestream, Screen and AWS among others as well as a host of random interactions with people on the conference floor and at the Beach Bar. 


It would be rude not to

It's a pretty full-on experience as there is so much to see and so many people there to talk to. It was great to get to explain just what Honeycomb are doing and how it is in such an exciting position to really improve the way advertisers, agencies and the like operate. This was the right audience for that conversation!

Some particular highlights were that giant Sony 4K screen, Craig Russell-Roy shouting "Boom" over and over again (just kidding, that was painful), and being able to have some particularly enlightening conversations with our partners about how we can better utilise the technology we have in place to make our user's jobs easier. 

Bumping in to an old friend on the convention floor who I hadn't seen in a few years was a bonus too - don't get the chance to meet up in London where we both live, but in the mayhem that is IBC – sure! 

IBC is a great mix of people and companies, and it is really interesting to see all the innovation that is going on – let’s be honest, the drones were pretty cool! 


Just one of the many drones you weren't allowed to play with