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How did it get to be 2014 so soon? Big data is the current buzzword across the IT industry, and IBM spotted Aspera and snapped it up. This raises two interesting questions. First, does this mean that IBM – and by association the established IT industry – is getting interested in broadcast again? In the past IT companies have seen broadcast as exciting opportunities and moved in, then realised it is a hard place to work for one or two percentage points of their annual revenues and moved out again, with the cycle repeating regularly. Is this another in-out cycle, or have our two industries matured to the extent that they can collaborate? Charlie Vogt, who was appointed CEO of Harris Broadcast back in the summer, is extremely vocal about the industry moving rapidly from a hardware business to a software business. He came to Harris Broadcast from the telecoms industry, which saw a rapid transition to IP connectivity which he believes will happen as fast in broadcast. He also saw a dramatic contraction in the scale of the supply side of the telecoms industry, with vendors consolidating and acquiring until just a handful remain. The broadcast industry – as measured by the number of stands at IBC or NAB – has been pretty stable at around 1500 companies for quite a while now. Some merge or fall by the wayside, but new entrants come in and fi ll up the gaps. It is hard to argue with people like Charlie Vogt who say that our industry is currently too big, and consolidation is inevitable. So predictions one and two are that we will see a lot more evidence of the major IT players in broadcast, and through consolidation we will see the nature of our industry changing. Whether they are good things or not remains to be seen. by Dick Hobbs A s we get ourselves ready to launch into the new year, I have a few thoughts to share with you. The first is prompted by a press release which landed in my inbox back in December. “IBM to acquire Aspera” was the headline. Aspera is a business started by a fearsomely clever mathematician, Michelle Munson. She came up with some clever technology to make stuff move around the internet really fast. The claim is that transfer time is reduced by 99.9%, or a 24 gigabyte fi le sent half way around the world in 30 seconds. Aspera won an Emmy for the technology. Naturally, this is really useful to broadcast and production companies, because we deal in fi le sizes this big. Aspera has proved massively popular, especially with people keen to move fi les between studios and post houses in different cities or continents. It allows producers to choose the best places to fi nish their content, and it allows post companies to outsource the repetitive tasks to cheaper locations. 98 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 85 JANUARY 2014 Predictions three and four are also linked. First, 4k television. While people get very excited about it – especially the people who make televisions and would like us to spend more money on them – I confi dently predict the general consensus on 4k television will be “meh”. Just as we saw with 3D, the vast mass of consumers do not want an immersive television experience, they want to use television as part of broader media consumption, whether that is watching cricket on the iPad or tweeting on their phones. Add to that the fact that it is only politicians who tell us we are out of recession, and we are not going to believe a word they say. So splashing the cash on a device which is too big for our living rooms and which has no content we can watch is not going to happen. The linked prediction is that I will snap and have a grade one tantrum at people who insist on using an upper case k for 4k. Indeed: I have already expressed to at least one otherwise blameless person that I will come around and break the combination of fi ngers that allows the shift key and k to be used simultaneously if they do it again. The international agreement which established the SI system of units – including lower case k as the multiplier for a thousand – was signed in 1960 so we all have had 54 years to know what is right and what is wrong. It is symptomatic of the rampant use of irrelevant capitals, largely by those whose intellectual capabilities suited them only for a degree in marketing. My particular favourite – in the sense that it is so wrong I fi nd it impossible to take seriously anything else in the article – is the unnecessary contracting of capital expenditure to capex, then spelling it as CAPEX. Dumber than dumb. My fi nal prediction for 2014 is that, as I have a signifi cant birthday in April, I will end the year an even grumpier old man than I am today. I hope to have fun along the way, though, and I hope you manage to match success with enjoyment in the coming months.