Artificial intelligence was arguably the hottest topic at IBC2017, but what can broadcasters hope to achieve by investing in the technology? As with any transformational technology the first issue to address when considering adoption can often be found in identifying the urgent from a long list of requirements.

SwissCognitive LogoIn broadcasting – which brings a wide range of potential use cases for cognitive computing – this can mean beginning with a very long list. Many traditional broadcasters have a desire to achieve efficiency gains. Others want to dive into areas as data, understanding more about the viewer and using data to inform the commissioning of content. There is a standard adoption curve for any new technology, the difference in broadcast being that decision times are shortening and the adoption curve is moving through the phases at an accelerated rate.

Tradition takes a step into the future

Carrie Lomas, IBM Cognitive Solutions and Internet of Things Director, believes that when it comes to understanding and engaging with cognitive computing and artificial intelligence the majority of so-called traditional media companies have moved beyond the proof of concept phase. “We are looking at scaling up in media and broadcast and not just looking at efficiency” – Carrie Lomas As Director of Cognitive Solutions and Internet of Things Carrie Lomas, works within the Global Services division of IBM, where she runs a large team of consultants helping clients in the media space. In terms of cognitive computing, her objective, she says, is “help someone make a decision rather than make it for them.” They want to see themselves as part of the new way of working and as you’d expect they are trying to figure out how. Broadcasting and media is populated by many stakeholders, each bringing their own agenda. So a key question for suppliers is who can you get into the room when discussing AI and cognitive with a broadcaster.

Everyone needs to be at the table

“When we engage, who attends the meetings is a tell-tale sign, that’s how I know we are looking at scaling up in media and broadcast and not just looking at efficiency,” says Lomas. “In one broadcaster we had the head of programming, we had the head of advertising, we had the scheduler. It was really broad, and really exciting to hear the discussions over the adoption. People understand and see what it can do for them,” says Lomas. For example, some broadcasters want to know how to create excitement for commissions or if they have to execute a big launch for a series already commissioned, how to understand the client base by age group, gender and so on to more accurately target viewers. Others want to understand how they can get into areas such as programmatic and targeted advertising. “When we discuss programmatic, we talk a lot about using Watson IBM’s to gain personality insights,” she says. […]