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TVN’S WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY AWARDS 2022
The cloud and machine learning will continue to change the way the industry works, while monitoring, standards and better data will become increasingly important according to the winners of TVNewsCheck’s 2022 Women in Technology Award winners.
The cloud transition is prompting broadcasters to collaborate internally and externally more than ever, while machine learning is opening up possibilities for new offerings and efficiencies. Monitoring technologies for streamed content will continue to improve.
And finally, relevant standards that reflect the true needs of the industry are needed, particularly around data, the WIT winners said during TVNewsCheck’s Technology Predictions for a Changing Industry webinar last week. Represented on the panel were five of the six women who will be honored during the Women in Technology Awards ceremony on April 26 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Judy Parnall, BBC R&D’s head of standards and industry, who is receiving the Women in Technology Leadership Award, said when broadcasters are trying out new technology, such as a proof of concept during a sports event, everyone comes together to try to solve any problems.
“What I’ve seen since then is broadcasters learning from other broadcasters,” she said.
For instance, a broadcaster who has just migrated to all IP infrastructure will share with others who are six to 12 months behind them in the transition.
“They’re saying, this is what we liked, and this is what went really well, and this is where we had some problems,” Parnall said. “It’s been far more collaborative.”
In general, broadcasters are finding the cloud and cloud workflows offer more flexibility and scalability.
Sharri Berg, Fox Weather president and Fox Television Stations COO of news and operations, said Fox has made the big transition to the cloud. The investment was expensive, said Berg, who is also receiving a Women in Technology Leadership Award, “but once your network is in, you have so much more flexibility.”
Machine learning is expected to continue creating efficiencies as it improves, said Anupama Anantharaman, VP product management at Interra Systems. She, along with Kelly Abcarian, EVP for measurement and impact at NBCUniversal, are this year’s Women in Technology Futurist honorees.
“Machine learning is a hot topic now,” Anantharaman said. “The content volume is so high, there is so much variety, and efficiency is a big part of this,” because the work is “not possible to achieve with human resources. You need machine learning technologies to achieve this.”
In machine learning, which is already in use for helping monitor quality of experience and quality of service among other things, an algorithm can be trained through thousands or millions of files to check for quality, she said.
“You do not need the original video to determine the score, but it gives you the required information as to how a real person would rate these videos,” Anantharaman said.
Machine learning is playing a critical role in the complex job of monitoring, Anantharaman added, but along with other technologies and standards, she believes quality of experience and service will only get better.
“So many great technologies have come up in the past few years that are making a big difference in helping companies provide better quality of service,” she said.
Machine learning is also helpful for other tasks that are typically time-consuming, such as captioning.
“I think in the next five to 10 years, we will see many more applications for machine learning,” she said.
Parnall said the BBC is using machine learning for translation in news exchange. For example, the number of people who could translate Ukrainian content into Welsh is limited, she said, so machine learning-based translation has been a game changer when it comes to exchanging news.
And CEO and co-founder of Datazoom, Diane Strutner, one of Women in Technology’s Women to Watch winners, believes machine learning will make complex analyses of standardized data possible.
But first, she said, there needs to be data standards, and the timing of those standards is critical.
It’s important to keep an eye out on “what is coming up next that we can get ahead of” so that the industry has standards ready, rather than waiting until we’re in pain,” she said.
At the same time, those standards need to be relevant, said Kylee Peña, manager for creative technologies program management at Netflix and 2022-23 Hollywood Region Governor for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, who is one of Women in Technology’s Women to Watch.
Creating standards is labor intensive, she said, and it’s important include the groups who will use the standards when developing them.
“It’s not just about bringing others into room,” Peña said. “It’s about making standards committees and groups reflective of the group that is actually going to use them.
And now the time is ripe for an industry standard on data, Strutner said.
“The key to this industry is really creating more data connectivity. It’s bringing more sources of data together,” she said.
Right now, there’s not a lot of great data, and data is just what’s needed to optimize things like end-to-end streaming, Strutner said.
“We’ve uncovered the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the industry knows that they need to know, but there’s this whole growth that’s going to be happening over the next five years or so as data gets more accessible,” she said. “The key to this industry is really creating more data connectivity. It’s bringing more sources of data together.”
Berg said Fox Weather is using data to make decisions about content. A data dashboard for the content makes it possible to “see what’s resonating” as well as when viewers leave and where they go.
“We can make decisions and changes really quickly,” she said.
Read the profiles of all the 2022 honorees here.