The recent EBU Network Technology Seminar 2023 took networking to a whole new level, with the introduction of a new format that placed a strong emphasis on discussion and dialogue. While the first day consisted of the usual high-quality mix of keynote speeches, technology updates and use cases, the second day offered what was for most attendees their first unconference. And they took to the format with great enthusiasm!
The opening day programme served as the ideal preparation for the unconference that would follow. Several speakers highlighted topics or questions that could benefit from deeper discussion and, indeed, many of these ended up on the agenda that was built the following morning. The event opened with AI-focused keynotes from Nvidia's Rich Hastie and Microsoft's Liviana Zürcher and Susanna Pepe. The latter highlighted in particular the role that AI could play in tackling cybersecurity challenges, while Rich Hastie focused more on virtual production and the creative possibilities enabled by generative AI.
An extra-special keynote was the contribution from Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology and its Minister for Digital Transformation. Mykhailo Fedorov joined the conference on a live link from Ukraine and explained how the country's digital transformation, which had already made great strides before the Russian invasion, had taken on a greater significance and urgency with the war. The government's Diia app has proved a hugely valuable tool in keeping citizens informed and empowered. It has been so effective that other governments are now considering their own implementation of the technology.
EBU Members can watch all presentations from Day 1 of NTS 2023 on demand. (Mykhailo Fedorov's presentation is available to all.)
On Day 2 of the event, it took less than 30 mintues for attendees to co-create an agenda with more than 20 sessions focused on a broad range of topics. To mention just a few: profiling ST 2110 network traffic; virtualizing media workloads; communication between broadcast and network engineers; building a cloud-native, infrastructure-agnostic media house; and so on.
The sessions then ran in parallel throughout the day, with attendees rotating to the relevant room each hour to join their chosen session. A short report was filed for each session and the session hosts provided an oral summary during the closing circle that rounded off the day. In each case, hosts were asked to highlight any next steps that would or should be taken with regard to the topic in question.
EBU Members can view the full unconference agenda and read through the session reports here. The video below provides an impression of how the first EBU Technology & Innovation unconference unfolded.