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Keeping it Simple at the 2013 NAB Show

Fresh off an action-packed week at this year's NAB conference, I wanted to take a second to reflect on some of the key takeaways that stood out for us at Akamai over the course of the show. 

The mantra of simplicity was present in full force, just as it was at IBC. Broadcasters and content providers are looking to dramatically simplify their workflows and truly bring them into the cloud. Those who were initially hesitant are starting to take aggressive steps to abstract the complexities of their hardware-based solutions while taking advantage of completely new workflow options such as cloud-based transcoding and advertising. 

Simplify, then monetize. Companies are not only looking to simplify, they are increasingly being asked by the business folks to monetize their video operations. As expected, advertising is one of the best ways to do this. However, existing models make it difficult to do so. Today, a lot of dependency is put on the media player and device, and this doesn't always lead to a streamlined experience. Ads playing at low quality, breaking up the experience and in general providing more annoyance than information can cause the viewer to tune out. These issues generated a lot of interest in Akamai's cloud-based Ad Integration Services at NAB, which can support a smoother experience for the viewer while delivering more relevant, targeted advertisements.
Dual screen is the new frontier. At this year's NAB, we publicly demonstrated Akamai's hyperconnected living room concept for the first time. The purpose of the demonstration was to generate conversation about the possibilities of a dual screen experience. And it succeeded. Customers, partners and the press all responded positively - and the possibilities we spoke about are very intriguing. The phenomenon of the dual-screen viewing experience offers an unprecedented opportunity for content providers. Consumers are voluntarily engaging in dual-screen viewing now, and so far it's been a very manual process. This is a highly engaged audience that is simply not being maximized, yet.

Standardization is coming. And it's going to have a large impact. The DASH Industry Forum held a very well attended reception last week at NAB.  MPEG-DASH is starting to gather significant momentum, as evidenced by companies like Qualcomm, Dolby, Ericsson and Microsoft standing behind it. Companies that might be competitors in the marketplace are starting to come together to realize a standard for the industry that will be mutually beneficial to all involved. Stay tuned to the DASH IF as it will absolutely be worth watching.   

Weren't in Las Vegas to experience NAB in person? Check out one some of the media coverage from Akamai's booth: 

Barrett Monenen is a Product Marketing Manager at Akamai.