SportTech Europe 2015: Record crowd expected for Manchester United FC event

What is set to be the largest ever attendance for a Sports Video Group Europe event is converging on Manchester for SportTech Europe on 7 May. Even though Thursday is Election Day in the UK, the sports broadcast production community has not been deterred or distracted and instead is heading to Manchester United’s Old Trafford venue in what should be record numbers for this high-profile summit.

They will first witness a welcome address by Peter Angell, COO at IEC in Sports and Chairman of the Advisory Board at SVG Europe. There follows a Keynote Q&A with Barbara Slater, BBC Sport, Director, in conversation with Sadie Groom, Bubble & Squeak Communications, Managing Director. Slater is responsible for approximately 20,000 hours of global sports coverage across radio, TV and online each year, including live sporting events, highlights, sports news and magazine programmes. Output is produced by 450 staff across the UK.

Next on the agenda is ‘Rugby Special: RBS 6 Nations and Rugby World Cup 2015’. We will look back to key innovations introduced at the 6 Nations tournament that will feed into the production coverage of the Rugby World Cup in England later this year. Panellists include Stuart Coles, Alston Elliot, Sales Director; Matthew Griffiths, BBC Sport, Senior Producer/Director; and David Shield, IMG Studios, SVP Global Director of Engineering & Technology.

As one of the most complex workflows, sports production is also one of the most exciting – live events, tight schedules and multi-stream high-resolution broadcast make it a no-compromise environment. Consumer demand drives the need for even more secondary content pulled in real-time to support the live action. Add to this the need to transcode on the fly, delivering across multiple platforms from mobile to the highest resolutions over IP.

High-end file-based workflows are an integral part to this providing scalability, performance and robust operation. These demands are discussed alongside the importance of an integrated storage workflow to meet current and future needs. A session from our title sponsor, Quantum Corp, is entitled ‘The Importance of an Integrated Storage Workflow’.

A key 2015 industry theme is the rapid emergence of live production over IP. How soon can live IP replace SDI routing? How can broadcasters build IP into their live production systems, encompassing system cameras, switchers, servers and network management? Can a central IP switch reduce the complexity of live 4K production – and how do we control the increase in bandwidth from HD to UHD?

Leading manufacturers discuss the latest developments in IP-based operation with reference to some flagship product launches made at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. They include Steve Dupaix, Imagine Communications, Sr Director – Strategic Partner Marketing; Trevor Francis, Quantel, Director of Broadcast; Andy Newham, Ross Video, EMEA Business Development Manager, Switchers and openTruck; Sam Peterson, Grass Valley, Senior Segment Marketing Manager – Live; Laurent Petit, EVS, VP Product; and Hiroshi Yamauchi, Sony Professional Solutions Europe, Senior Manager 4K IP Production.

Audio innovations and virtualised workflows

After a Networking & Coffee break, we head straight into ‘Wheels Within Wheels: Production Innovation at Tour de France 2015’. Luc Geoffroy, CTO at Euro Media Group will provide an overview of the enormously complex RF operation behind the Tour, while Avid Technology’s Director of Solution Design Rob Roberts will discuss the connectivity and media flows for the Production system at the Tour de France.

Following hard on the heels of the Tour is ‘Audio Consoles and the Evolution of OB Facility Design’, in which leading manufacturers address ponder current trends, including the rise of IP-based operation. Panellists include Rainer Kunzi, Lawo, International Sales; Peter Glaettli, Studer, Director of Engineering/R&D; and Patrick Warrington, Calrec, Technical Director.

With a number of major sporting events taking place over the next few years, and in anticipation of the global audience these events expect to command, some leading industry technologies are being integrated to provide ground-breaking end-to-end virtualised solutions for digital rights’ content – a growing trend that is further unleashing the power of cloud workflows for international sporting events. A session titled ‘Integrated Virtualised Services: A Revolution in Digital Content Production’ will be addressed by Pete Burns, deltatre, Commercial Manager and Jason Cowan, Forscene, Director of Business Development.

Our wrap-up session is ‘Great Debate: Post-NAB 2015, Can We Define a 4K Roadmap For The Future?’ There is little doubt that 4K is one of the hottest topics of 2015. But how, exactly, is the sports production industry, and the broadcast TV industry in general, supposed to approach the format? With reference to developments taking place at the NAB 2015 show, we will debate the hows and whys of 4K production and distribution, and collectively search for a realistic roadmap for tomorrow – one that can influence purchasing and production plans today.

Panellists will be Brian Clark, NEP Visions, Commercial and Technical Projects Director; Paul Clennell, dock10, CTO; Steve Hart, RT Software, Development Director; Barry Johnstone, CTV, Managing Director; Steve Knee, Cloudbass, Managing Director; and Peter Schut, Axon Digital Design, CTO.

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