IBC Musings: Stuart Almond, Sony Professional Europe

Stuart Almond, Sony
Neal Romanek
September 5th 2017 at 2:24PM : By Neal Romanek

Sony Professional Europe

Sony's Stuart Almond thinks AI will radically change not only how we consume content, but how we create it.

Name: Stuart Almond

Company: Sony Professional Europe

Job title: Head of marketing and communications for media solutions

Number of IBCs you've attended?

Several IBCs over the last decade, but in a mix of guises and roles through these years, having gone from being an 'end-user' as a broadcast journalist, to global SI vendor, to my current role at Sony. There's nothing like variety to help you understand the market!

Flying, driving or train-ing to IBC this year?

Coming from the UK I've opted to fly - but I do hear the EuroStar train will start operating from London to Amsterdam by the end of the year, so I'm hoping it'll be a different answer this time next year!

What is your goal for this year¹s IBC show?

For me it's time to start highlighting the strengths of Sony that often go unrecognised; yes we're pioneers of technology, and have consistently delivered a level of technical excellence over the years that keeps us at the forefront of industry change (and we know how quickly that's happening!), but despite the core need for us to continue with helping our customers with infrastructure transition, be that IP, 4K cameras or software gateway products, we now offer more cloud based technologies, and specifically more ?cloud-native technologies and the services and business models to match these.

Showing what we're doing at Sony Professional to drive these business changes for our customers, how focusing on their customers and business objectives, is my focused goal this year.

What will be the big tech trends at this year's IBC?

Virtualisation and virtualised services. As I mentioned, with more cloud-based technologies, and specifically more ?cloud-native technologies and the services becoming available, the media supply chain and traditional 'end-to-end' media operation is rapidly changing. Multi-platform production and delivery is becoming key to our customers, as their audience becomes more in control of where, when and what content they chose to engage with.

Therefore, cost saving, efficiency driven and wide audience reaching solutions are what is driving a lot of business decisions right now. And the ability to embrace technologies and services that allow greater agility, greater collaboration and greater ROI is key. Cloud based technologies and virtualised services is what will dominate the headlines for me.

What gear/software/platform do you wish someone would make?

It's hard to ignore the rise of AI - more so within media operations, developing automation with more machine learning to deliver faster, less manual workflows. However, as consumer 'big data' develops, imagine bringing this into the media supply chain workflow - all the way back to acquisition - so content could be automatically created on shot, frame or angle popularity with the consuming audience. We'll end up consuming content that we know we want to engage with in a more personalised manor - not just at a 'programme level', but a personalised version of that programme? content, shot type, edit, just for me and my preferences. It might sound crazy to some right now, but you watch, this will happen!

What¹s your fondest IBC/Amsterdam memory?

Last year I delivered eight key speaker presentations from the Sony Stand over the IBC conference, and entering to the stage to a musical backdrop of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" on the last day seemed to be a surprise to everyone (in a good way) - being greeted by applause and a little impromptu dancing will always stay as a highlight in my book.

Can you speak Dutch?

After having a brother live in Rotterdam for 15 years, who I took many an opportunity to visit, I believed I was getting rather good at the basics. However, the way in which the recipients of my Dutch would quite quickly both answer me in English and request I did the same, probably shows my Dutch wasn't as good as I thought!