ETC@USC Mourns the Loss of Industry Veteran Jim Houston

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jim Houston, a longtime friend and supporter of The Entertainment Technology Center. In addition to attending our events and contributing to many of our programs, Jim served as a moderator and panelist for several of ETC’s Digital Town Square symposiums. He was a two-time Academy Award-winning engineer, SMPTE member, and 34-year veteran of the industry, serving senior positions at media leaders including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Pacific Title & Art, Walt Disney Feature Animation and, most recently, Samsung Research America. Continue reading ETC@USC Mourns the Loss of Industry Veteran Jim Houston

HPA Tech Retreat: Evolving Security for Media & Entertainment

An increasing concern over content security was the subject of HBO/WarnerMedia productions and content security head Marc Zorn’s talk on “Why Traditional Information Security Doesn’t Fit in Most of Media & Entertainment.” “Film security was based on physical controls,” he said. “Post production began after photography, and threats were primarily from post onwards.” Once the workflow became digital, he added, threats to digital media looked like IT security, “from an IT security professional’s perspective.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Evolving Security for Media & Entertainment

HPA Tech Retreat: Latest From Academy Software Foundation

In 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences established the Academy Software Foundation, with the mission of increasing the “quality and quantity of open source contributions … [to] lower the barrier to entry for developing and using” it. Its genesis was a survey conducted by the AMPAS Science and Technology Council that found 84 percent of those in the media & entertainment industry used it — but had challenges. At HPA Tech Retreat, ASWF executive director David Morin updated the group’s activities. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Latest From Academy Software Foundation

Facebook Reveals More Details About Its Oversight Board

Facebook’s Oversight Board, comprised of people from outside the company, will determine if specific user posts violate its rules. But the company just divulged that it expects the board to “come to a case decision, and for Facebook to have acted on that decision, in approximately 90 days,” a lengthy period of time that makes it unlikely the board will be able to block misinformation from spreading virally. The board may play a role, however, in changing the company’s policy on paid political ads. Continue reading Facebook Reveals More Details About Its Oversight Board

CES 2020: 5G and Robotics Come to Cars, Factories, Farms

A session on 5G and robotics, moderated by Eugene Demaitre, senior editor of WTWH Media’s The Robot Report, drew a substantial crowd at CES 2020, although few in the audience raised their hands when asked who was involved in robotics. The panelists drilled down into how the advent of 5G is already and will further impact their industries, including manufacturing, agriculture and automotive. Produce Marketing Association vice president, technology Vonnie Estes noted that more and more farmers are adopting the new technology. Continue reading CES 2020: 5G and Robotics Come to Cars, Factories, Farms

CES 2020: A Look at Improving IoT at the Edge of the Cloud

Moderated by Deloitte Consulting chief cloud strategy officer David Linthicum, a group of experts gathered at CES to address the issues surrounding IoT at the edge of the cloud. Linthicum asked panelists what they think the big announcements of CES 2020 will be. Sikorsky Innovations flight control technical lead Derek Geiger echoed many of them when he said, “I don’t think there will be one major announcement.” “It will be little pieces of technology coming together,” he said. “It won’t be one company solving the problem.” Continue reading CES 2020: A Look at Improving IoT at the Edge of the Cloud

Big Tech Companies Collaborate on Smart Home Standard

The ordinary home is increasingly connected to the Internet, via cameras, doggy doors, lights, locks, sensors, switches and thermostats. But lack of an industry-wide connectivity standard can make these devices frustrating to use and manage. For that reason, Google joined with Amazon, Apple and other big tech companies to create Connected Home over IP. The independent working group, managed by Zigbee Alliance, aims to create a new, open smart home connectivity standard based on Internet Protocol (IP). Continue reading Big Tech Companies Collaborate on Smart Home Standard

3GPP Greenlights 24 New Projects for 2020 to Advance 5G

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is the organization responsible for global standardization of 3G, 4G and, now, 5G. The group considers the cellular technology innovations of many companies to create features that work across various networks and phones. The 3GPP just approved 24 new projects to advance 5G, which are targeted to go online in the second half of 2021. The projects will commence their work in early 2020. 3GPP’s Release 15, approved in mid-2018, enabled early 5G to use 4G as a foundation. Continue reading 3GPP Greenlights 24 New Projects for 2020 to Advance 5G

Google Melds Data Privacy, Advertising in Privacy Sandbox

Google said users will gain more control over the data that it shares with advertisers via a Privacy Sandbox, a new set of standards for its Chrome browser. Under pressure from the public, Google acted to create what it said will be “a more private web” that will make individual search histories harder for advertisers to follow and give users more choices over the types of data shared with marketers, including the ability to opt-out. So far, however, Google has remained “fairly vague” about the standards. Continue reading Google Melds Data Privacy, Advertising in Privacy Sandbox

Phone Companies Adopt New Plan to Combat Robocallers

A dozen major phone companies — including mobile and broadband service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon — are teaming with 51 attorneys general from across the U.S. to introduce call-blocking tech and additional measures designed to help regulators take on scammers by preventing robocalls. According to Irvine, CA-based call-blocking service YouMail, robocalls reached 4.7 billion consumers in July alone. “Robocalls are a scourge — at best, annoying, at worst, scamming people out of their hard-earned money,” said North Carolina attorney general Josh Stein. Continue reading Phone Companies Adopt New Plan to Combat Robocallers

Apple to Pay $1B For Intel’s Smartphone Modem Business

Earlier this week, we reported that Apple was close to a deal to pick up Intel’s 5G mobile chip business. Now it’s official. Apple revealed yesterday that it would spend $1 billion to purchase the majority of the chip giant’s smartphone modem business in a deal expected to close during the fourth quarter. The acquisition, which will provide Apple with new intellectual property, equipment, leases and about 2,200 Intel employees, should help the company gain more control over the development of wireless tech for its iPhones and reduce its reliance on Intel-rival Qualcomm. Continue reading Apple to Pay $1B For Intel’s Smartphone Modem Business

Senators Press For National Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Several U.S. senators have proposed the Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act to create a national AI strategy and fund federal R&D in this growing area to the tune of $2.2 billion. The initiative’s $2.2 billion would be awarded over a five-year period to multiple federal agencies. At the same time, although the European Commission put out guidelines for artificial intelligence technology, some experts are saying that the tech companies that participated in drafting guidelines compromised them to protect their own interests. Continue reading Senators Press For National Artificial Intelligence Strategy

ACES: New Features, Governance, Timeline, Call to Action

In a packed NAB 2019 Birds of a Feather session, ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) project chair Annie Chang led a meeting to bring attendees up to date on the volunteer group’s latest work. “ACES is a beast,” said Chang, urging attendees to share their feedback and get involved in the various committees. “We need to understand what people need to get it working.” She also mentioned that with SMPTE’s standardized ACES IMF format as an archival format, IMF and ACES are working together. Continue reading ACES: New Features, Governance, Timeline, Call to Action

New Distribution, Preservation Standards for the Digital Age

A modern laptop contains 251 technical interoperability standards, said Erik Weaver, global director of M&E market development at Western Digital. He added that only 20 of them come from Microsoft. The proliferation of standards in a digital era — and the need for interoperability between them — was the topic of a NAB 2019 Birds of a Feather discussion including representatives from five different groups involved with creating and redefining relevant standards: ASC, ETC, MESA, MovieLabs and CineCert. Continue reading New Distribution, Preservation Standards for the Digital Age

NAB Panel to Cover Digital Deliverable & Archive Standards

The move to digital has created major challenges for content creators and owners. As part of the Birds of a Feather program at the NAB Show in Las Vegas next week, Erik Weaver of HGST and an all-star panel representing key industry working groups will discuss “Redefining Deliverable and Preservation Standards for Digital Times.” The panel is scheduled for Monday, April 8, 12:00-1:00 pm in N243. Guests will include Jesse Korosi of SIM Digital, Mary Yurkovic of MESA, Seth Levenson of The Entertainment Technology Center@USC, John Hurst of CineCert, and Craig Seidel of MovieLabs. Continue reading NAB Panel to Cover Digital Deliverable & Archive Standards

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