Trip report: IEEE BTS Symposium 2018

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Peter Siebert, DVB Head of Technology, reporting from Valencia.

The annual symposium of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society is a little different to the other conferences in which DVB participates: while it has significant industry involvement, its focus is more towards the academic side of things. With a high proportion of research students among the attendees, the Broadband Multimedia Systems and Broadcasting symposium – to give it its full title – was alive with energy and ideas.

Hosted by the by the Institute of Telecommunications and Multimedia Applications (iTEAM) of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), the event attracted 160 participants. They came mostly from Europe, China, Japan and Korea. (IEEE BTS has around 2,000 members, of which more than 50% are outside of the USA.) The BTS symposium is attractive for the academic community as the papers presented are considered as peer-reviewed publications. It is also, of course, a good place to discuss common research and innovation activities.

5G was a key topic on the agenda, and in particular how it could interoperate with broadcast technologies. Also discussed were the new ATSC 3.0 standard, 4G MBMS, advances in video compression and new video coding applications (especially Virtual Reality), DASH, and Quality of Experience for UHD and VR applications.

DVB keynote

DVB was invited to deliver one of the three keynote talks on the third day of the event. In my presentation I gave a short overview of DVB's first 25 years before focusing on the challenges now facing standards development organizations (SDOs) in the broadcast domain. I explained how DVB is looking at an interactive, hybrid, software-driven environment, touching on our newly launched DVB-I work area and also the increased need for conformance testing.

It was encouraging to receive so many questions and comments following my presentation. I also participated in a panel discussion on "Research Challenges for 2030 Broadband Multimedia Systems and Broadcasting", where one theme that emerged was the need for cooperation between those working on standards in both the broadcast and broadband domains. Naturally 5G was mentioned as a key technology in this context. There was general agreement that network convergence between broadcast and broadband is not a technical challenge. The real problem is to bring the different market players together and to agree on common technical specifications and business cases.

There were plenty of familiar faces from the DVB community among the delegates and speakers in Valencia. Thomas Stockhammer (Qualcomm) and Benjamin Bross (Fraunhofer HHI) were among the keynote speakers, while Peter Klenner (Panasonic) and Erik Stare (Ericsson) presented technical papers.

Next year's BTS symposium will be hosted by ETRI – another DVB Member – in Korea.