HPA Tech Retreat’s TR-X

A Deep Dive Into the Future

By Debra Kaufman

At this year’s HPA Tech Retreat, TR-X co-chairs Mark Chiolis and Craig German will unveil their third collaboration on the half-day program that kicks off the HPA Tech Retreat. This year, industry leaders will address five critical topics driving “the wholesale transformation of the industry today and in the future”: video over IP; mainstream betting; augmented reality; artificial intelligence; and extreme innovation. Chiolis, Director of Business Development at the Mobile TV Group, says, “We’re trying to hit on the five hot topics we believe will shape the industry for the next five to ten years. There’s definitely an appetite for diving deeper into topics of burgeoning interest.”

The event will also feature the popular “Beat the Clock” framing in which five industry experts on the above trends have two and a half minutes early in TR-X to describe the current state of each topic, and at the end, to predict where it will go. TR-X puts the experts on the spot to succinctly state their beliefs and predictions about where the industry is headed. With the overall theme of change and the speed at which it’s happening, Chiolis points out that an underlying message of the entire half-day of TR-X will be to look at how each of these key areas will change the way we work in the future.

The first session, Video Over IP: The Floodgates Open, addresses how quickly and widely video can be distributed. “For decades, we’ve already had video over IP in various ways for consumer experiences,” says Chiolis. “But now we’re moving it upstream into production and other areas of the creative process. It’s going to enable much more rapid control of workflows and adaptation to new possibilities that previously required long-term planning and lots of infrastructure.”

The software-defined network will dramatically speed up the time required to build out new types of video workflow, from niche channels to switching ad hoc feeds. Previously, the planning and build-out of a hardware-based facility required a tremendous amount of planning, expense, and time. The move to ATSC 3.0, which includes video over IP, says Chiolis, is a component – but not the whole story of the promise of this technology. “The Holy Grail is raw, uncompressed video coming in from points unknown,” he says. “That’s still a heavy tax on our existing infrastructure – but that’s where we’re looking to go.”

Mainstream Betting: The Gamification of Entertainment, looks at the growth of real-time, online sports wagering. “This is already starting to affect us,” says Chiolis, who has been following this arena for some time. “It’s going to have a huge impact. We’re already starting to see that with the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR and some of the others that already do it, such as DraftKings and FanDuel.” This topic will bring together a panel of those in the industry already engaged in real-time online wagering and will be moderated by Sports Video Group Chief Editor Jason Dachman.

Augmented Reality: Step into Your Content will focus on the long-term impact of augmented reality on the content creation process.  Cinematographers are able to see a fully augmented reality backdrop that move with their head as they shoot. “There are people pushing the envelope today. People can afford this on the front end with virtual production, but what about editorial reviews or color correction review with augmented reality – when we’re all seeing the same thing in an immersive way?” The session will survey the ways that augmented reality will impact a much broader spectrum of tasks in media and entertainment.

With regard to Artificial Intelligence: When It’s Just There, much of the conversation is either about tasks we’re doing today, such as detecting language, or those for a far-off future. The near future could include using AI-powered assistants throughout the production/post process. “It could communicate everything from common error causes to warning you about a coming deadline,” Chiolis says.

The last session, on Extreme Innovation, will look at some of the “wild and wacky things that are realistic,” such as NASA’s project to broadcast live UHD video from outer space.

One of TR-X’s goals, says Chiolis, is to “broaden our reach.” “The people, industries and technologies are mixing,” he says. “We’re reaching out to companies and industries we haven’t previously targeted. We want them to attend and participate because they have a great deal to add and elevate everyone to a higher state.”

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