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The IBC Innovation Awards are highly coveted in the media industry. They represent more than just technical excellence: they honour real-world achievements through collaboration and co-operation. This year’s shortlist was reviewed, and the winners announced, in a virtual awards ceremony which premiered on 23 November. As always with the IBC Innovation Awards, the fi nalists cover the complete spectrum of the industry, geographically and technically. The fi rst of the three categories recognised innovation

in Content Creation. Taking the trophy was the Remote Recording Network for a project it calls Around the World in 80 Milliseconds. This was a live music event with both performers and creative team in four countries on three continents. The technology team, led by Riedel Communications, achieved the low latency of the title. Also shortlisted in this category was Songbird, a

production of Catchlight Studios which was the fi rst American feature fi lm to return to production during the Covid lockdown. provided the technology to allow the creative team to work from their homes. Timeline Television developed a remote production kit built around two iPhones and a remote-controlled PTZ camera which on-screen talent can assemble at home. Used for live sports and other popular programmes, the whole system is controlled by a remote engineer. And Sol Levante was a stunning production from Netfl ix, which used 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos to turn hand-drawn anime into an extraordinary immersive experience. Riot Games won the award for Content Distribution, with its innovative approach to staging a world esports championship. The event was held in Reykjavik, but the production team was as far apart as Los Angeles and Berlin. Thanks to JPEG-XS distribution, it all came together perfectly.

Boeing made an impressive fi nalist with its plans to cover landings of its Starliner, a new service for the International Space Station. It is designed to land in a remote desert location, and high-quality video is needed to check on the craft and crew, as well as broadcast live on NASA TV. Like many sports broadcasters, BT Sport was faced with the challenge of maintaining its high-quality output while protecting its crew. The culmination was a fully remote production of the 2021 UEFA Europa League Final from Poland, with all the talent and production crew in the UK. MGM Studios has rolled out a new blockchain-backed content delivery platform, with machine learning underpinning its licensing system for complete programmes and clips. It makes more than 20,000 fi lm and television titles accessible online to its distribution partners. Finally Migo, working with lead technology partner Dalet, has brought a new concept to the media market in Indonesia. Sachet content is pre-paid, low-cost videos for mobile devices, accessible at retail locations. Ideal for developing regions, it delivers a service which is relevant to a large mass of customers, in an environment where traditional digital platforms could not succeed. The third category was for Content Everywhere, and a second entry from BT Sport took the trophy. For sports fans stuck at home, it was the atmosphere and camaraderie of being at the game they missed the most. Through a new

Riot Games’ Scott Adametz accepts the award for Content Distribution

Jamie Hindhaugh celebrates winning the Content Everywhere award for the BT Sport app

Remote Recording Network’s Around the World in 80 Milliseconds was recognised in the Content Creation category. Peter Brandt picked up the award

app, BT Sport let them share the same banter with their friends that they would have had if they were together. Football fans in Germany were also recognised, with a Bundesliga app from Deutsche Fußball. It gives viewers the ability to control their statistic feeds and their highlights. They can even track multiple games, as it is common in Germany to support not just one team but three or four. Like many broadcasters, Sky Sports has been looking towards the cloud to create a new remote production workfl ow. Adding the capacity and simplicity of 5G, Sky has been able to offer high production values to a broad range of sports, while reducing the amount of kit and people to be transported to the venue. Would you like to have a private, one-to-one conversation with your musical hero? In The Room is a new service that uses AI natural language processing and Ultra HD to bring remarkable people to your mobile, to have a personal

conversation with you. The fi rst outing of the technology is with music legend Nile Rodgers. The last fi nalist in this category – alphabetically only! – was Ubeat, a Spanish language OTT web and mobile portal, covering esports and entertainment. Developed by Mediapro, it achieved an extraordinary 7000% rise in page visits in little more than a year. Every project is reviewed and the winners announced in the IBC2021 Awards Ceremony, which you can watch now on IBC Digital. Also included in the programme is a review of the career of this year’s International Honour for Excellence winner, Barbara Slater of BBC Sport.

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