The Norwegian Media Cluster Makes its Mark on NAB

Published 25.04.2016
The Norwegian media cluster, headquartered in Bergen, makes its mark on the NAB Show, the world's largest media and technology conference and expo in Las Vegas. "The amount of innovation that happens out of Bergen just makes you realise that something special is going on there", said founder and president of Reality Check Systems, Andrew Heimbold.

Prizes, shows, executives from the media cluster on stage and a lot Bergen buzz. Despite the more than 100,000 attendees and close to 1,800 exhibitors, many of those we met at NAB knew of both Bergen and the media cluster. Even before the NAB show opened, Sixty was awarded The Broadcast Beat Award for Originality. That was just a small taste of what was to come.

Check out our video from NAB:

NCE Media at NABshow 2016


We met Heimbold (photo) outside the impressive Vizrt booth at NAB. His Company, Reality Check Systems, had its breakthrough with the launch of NFL on CBS, and is now also working on the Super Bowl. Heimbold knows very well what is going on in the media cluster in Bergen, and have also heard about the Media City Bergen™ project.
– It is amazing to see the innovation that happens out of this small city, Heimbold said.
– Seeing what has happened out of TV 2 Norway, looking at their partners, and seeing the development and growth that happened in the path they have taken has been really interesting. The way you work really makes sense, especially bringing likeminded people together that are looking to innovate. That really brings huge value, not only to the individual members in the group, but to the industry as a whole, because you have a lot of new opportunities to grow in the future. More recently I have also learned about Media City Bergen™ and how you are consolidating a lot of the media resources, to work together and collaborate. The benefits far outweigh any competitive nature you might find. It really makes sense.

TV 2 on stage
The annual NAB Show in Las Vegas brings together industry leaders from around the world to see the latest in broadcast, digital media, film, video, entertainment, telecommunications, graphics, post production, virtual- and augmented reality and so much more. It has become an important event for several of the media cluster members, including those exhibiting at NAB to showcase their new innovations. This year it is also clear that the Norwegian media cluster, with the majority of its companies located in Bergen, Norway, is putting its mark on this huge event.

During opening days there are several introductory keynotes and debates, where major players and industry leaders take stage. In the debate on Trends Driving Investment Decisions, moderated by Joe Zalla, President of Devon Croft Partners, senior technology executives from leading broadcasters such as Discovery, Fox and Disney, offer their perspectives on the most significant industry trends. Joining them on stage is the CTO of TV 2, Havard Myklebust.

It is the Greenfield Playout (GPO) project from TV 2 that has caught the attention. This is one of the most substantial technology projects in the history of TV 2, and sets a completely new standard for digital product development.
– It is of course both exciting and a lot of fun to be invited to talk at this occasion. To everyone working on this project in TV 2, this is a huge recognition, says Myklebust. From stage he talked about product development, new digital innovations and also how the Norwegian broadcaster have had success spinning out their products and innovations in new, successful companies.

Impressive Vizrt
The NAB venue is gigantic, and stretches across 95,000 square meters spread over three massive halls. The Vizrt booth is nothing less than impressive. (See video at the bottom of the story for a tour of the Vizrt booth). Two stories high, full of new products and technology, and with a show that runs continuously throughout the day, steadily presented by Vizrt's own Chris Black. People are queuing up in front of the new video wall to watch everything from football and NASCAR to presidential candidates and election graphics played out in the virtual studio in ways one would not believe possible. The traditional green screen is replaced with a seven meter long video wall, where a combination of augmented reality graphics and the video wall makes Vizrt able to create an entire virtual set presentation. Quite impressive.

In the course of a day Vizrt runs a long series of shows in front of the video wall, and countless demos spread over 24 different products and demo stations on the huge stand, in addition to a separate "What´s next" station on the upper floor. Very much deserved, Vizrt also wins one of TV Technology's Best of Show awards for its new innovation Viz Story. This is a story publishing tool that allows media companies to rapidly publish custom video and real-time graphics to multiple platforms at the same time. Easy to use, quickly and efficiently.

Robots are coming
On the Vizrt booth, also exhibiting, is Electric Friends, also from the media cluster, with their robots on rails. CEO Anders Tomren is happy with all the attention and interest in his product.
– It has most definitely been a good show for us so far, and we have had a lot of interesting meetings. NAB is good energy, huge crowds and sore feet - just as it is supposed to be, he laughs, and returns to running demos of the camera robot.

Vimond have quite an impressive booth at NAB. With its Nordic and fresh design it stands out in the huge halls, and attracts lots of interest.

Vimond also have an interesting new product. Nina Andersen, developer, has as a part of her master thesis developed a concept for linking social content to OTT content through time encoding. Vimond Connect is adding the social experience to online TV viewing, and transforms it to an active and interactive activity, making a social layer available for on demand content. From one of the minor stages in the NAB's south hall, Nina Anderson drew quite a crowd introducing and talking about what now has become part of the Vimond product range.

That was not the only news coming from Vimond. Their newest product, Vimond IO, was also introduced. This is a fast video editor and storytelling tool for editors and journalists, and is designed to provide all the editing functions needed to put broadcast-quality news items together quickly and easily, using just a web browser.

– Busy, but very fun.
Wolftech Broadcast Solutions, located as part of the Vimond booth, also had busy days at NAB. When NCE Media visited, Chief Sales and Innovation Officer, Robert Strand, had just finished todays lunch - a Snickers bar.
– It is very busy, but so much fun, Strand said, running between meetings with world leading networks and broadcasters. The interest in Wolftech News, a sophisticated workflow tool, is definitely growing. Robert Strand also feels the Bergen buzz at NAB, and the attention for the media cluster and Media City Bergen™. That fuels some extra motivation.
– It is quite evident that Bergen has a positive reputation and impact at NAB, and that it is a mark of quality. "Everyone" has heard of Bergen and the media cluster. It's actually quite impressive, providing us with both inspiration and extra energy.

The Asians are turning to Bergen
We also met Odd Gurvin, Salesmanager at Knowit Experience. He attended NAB to meet with one of his clients, iFlix, aiming to grow to one of the world's largest VOD providers. Knowit has developed the iFlix solution on mobile platforms, where as Vimond developed the iFlix video technology. Together, Knowit and Vimond also made the iFlix total marked offer. Thus meaning that the Asians are turning to Norway and Bergen when in need of a world class and cutting edge VOD solution.
– Also, we are here to meet with all our Bergen neighbors, Wolftech, Wizrt, TV2, Vimond and Sixty. Ironically, you meet more of them over here in a few days than you do in six months back in Bergen, he laughs.

And the prize goes to Sixty
When CEO in Sixty, Kjetil Horneland, embarked his flight to Las Vegas, he already had an assigned award from The Broadcast Beat (Award for Originality) in his suitcase. In addition, Sixty was on the IABM Game Changer Awards shortlist as one of four candidates for the "Delivery & Playout Systems" award, aligned with Sony, ChyronHego, Verimatrix etc. A few days into the show, a new surprise; Sixty has also won one of TV Technology´s Best of Show Awards for Ease Live. Then - the aforementioned nomination for the IABM Game Changer Award is also a win.

Ease Live have taken the small, but rapidly growing and Bergen based company to new levels. Ease Live is a highly innovative solution that gives the viewer the opportunity to shape their own TV experience. Ease Live integrates with existing broadcast graphics systems and enables interactive, clickable on-air graphics for tablets and other smart devices. Simply put, you can make all your on-air graphics clickable for the end user, and let them engage with multiple layers of interaction.

The attention and interest in Ease Live has been absolutely overwhelming and exceeded all expectations for Sixty, and this year´s NAB show undoubtedly represents a massive all time high.
– It cannot be described as anything other than incredibly successful for Sixty, says CEO Kjetil Horneland.
– We were awarded no less than three prizes for our new interactive on air graphics product, Ease Live, which we believe has tremendous potential. We had all week fully booked with meetings even before we arrived in Las Vegas. We were also very impressed with the Vizrt booth, and as you know Ease Live is now integrated with the Vizrt solutions. The Vimond booth is also very, very good, and truly a source of inspiration as we are planning our own booth at IBC in September, says Horneland. He also highlights the good cooperation between members and companies in the media cluster.
– It is very nice of the major companies like Vizrt and Vimond to bring their smaller partners from Bergen to showcase on their stands. That makes for good collaborations.

Winning several prizes on the world largest TV-tech show is of course incredible rewarding to Sixty. Even more so the fact that orders now are stacked up.
– We will be very busy in the weeks and months to come, so if anyone is looking for work, just call me, Horneland smiles.

The Sixty awards:

  • IABM Game Changer Awards, category Playout & Delivery Systems (80 entries, 9 winners),
  • Best of Show TV Technology 2016 (is given to 50 out of 1800 companies at NAB. Also Vizrt was among these)
  • Broadcast Beat Award for originality (renown magazine in USA).

Sixty received much praise at the NAB Show for Ease Live. Yet, non said it better than the IABM jury:
"Ease Live provides a very practical way to enable broadcasters to merge traditional linear channels with interactive functions utilizing existing infrastructure. This will allow local broadcasters to enter this space with their current workflows. Brilliant – a true game changer".



CTO i TV 2, Havard Myklebust on stage together with senior technology executives from Discovery, Fox and Disney.

CEO of Vimond, Helge Hoibraaten.

CEO of Electric Friends, Anders Tomren.

Always busy at the Vizrt booth.

Chris Black is giving yet another demonstration.

With its nordic design, the Vimond booth stands out in the crowd.

Laila Leonida and Ketil Moland Olsen from Vimond.

Ingrid Agasøster (left) and Anngun Dybsland from Vizrt.

House is packed at the Vizrt partner meeting.

The launch and introduction of the award winning product Viz Story.

Nina Andersen from Vimond on Vimond Connect.

Lots of visitors to Arne Berven og Robert Strand in Wolftech.

Odd Gurvin, Salesmanager at Knowit Experience. Knowit is also a member of the Bergen media cluster.

People filming the Vizrt show, eager not to miss anything.

A NAB highlight: Bob Woodruff, ABC News Correspondent is awarded the NAB Distinguished Service Award.