Ling Ling SunLing Ling Sun is Chief Technology Officer at Nebraska Public Media and the Chair of the 2024 NAB Broadcast Engineering and IT Conference Program Committee 

The 2024 NAB Show in Las Vegas (April 13-17) promises to be a transformative experience for media professionals. New categories for Broadcast Engineering and IT Conference like “Generative AI” and “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) In Broadcasting” reflect the industry’s evolving priorities shaping the future. As the premier annual gathering, NAB Show serves as a microcosm of this dynamic landscape, showcasing groundbreaking technologies, emerging trends and offering a glimpse into the possibilities of tomorrow.

In this rapidly shifting reality, sustainable success hinges on an organization’s ability to adapt. The Law of Requisite Variety states that the complexity of a control system must match, if not exceed, the complexity of the system it regulates. In simpler terms, only variety can effectively manage variety. 

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For media organizations, management acts as the control mechanism, driving them towards maximizing returns while minimizing disruptions. To make informed decisions, they need a deep understanding of the multifaceted dynamics of the media ecosystem, encompassing technological advancements, audience preferences, regulations and competitive pressures.

Figure 1. Technology transformation must create value for organization

Figure 1. Technology transformation must create value for organization. (Image credit: Nebraska Public Media)

The visual framework (Figure 1) depicts the alignment of technology curves with strategic objectives. The value creation for the organization is represented by the vertical axis, while the horizontal axis indicates time progression. Technology curves, depicted as sigmoid functions, trace the trajectory of technological advancements, showcasing an organization’s operational capacity. The shape and position of these curves are determined by strategic business choices, rather than simply chasing the latest trends.

Predicting future technological advancements (denoted by Curve B in Figure 1) requires venturing beyond the confines of the current environment. This is where the immense value of NAB Show comes into play. By actively participating in this event, media organizations gain invaluable exposure to a diverse array of solutions and possibilities shaping the industry’s trajectory.

Benefits of Engaging with NAB Show:

  • Staying Ahead of the Curve: NEXTGEN TV, streaming, AI, 5G, and cloud technologies are rapidly reshaping the media landscape. These trends necessitate adaptation and innovation for broadcasters to remain relevant. NAB Show offers many possibilities, igniting inspiration for future content creation and delivery strategies.
  • Enriching Perspectives: Engaging with industry experts, innovators and potential partners allows media professionals to gain deeper insights into the dynamic media landscape and its diverse perspectives. This interaction fosters the exchange of ideas, facilitates collaboration and avoids duplication of effort.
  • Foresight and Planning: NAB BEIT’s sessions and panel discussions equip media organizations with valuable insights into upcoming trends and disruptive technologies. This foresight empowers them to develop strategies aligned with their specific needs and evaluate compatibility with existing infrastructure, minimizing unnecessary expenditures.
  • Empowering with Requisite Variety: By actively engaging with the diverse ecosystem at NAB Show, media organizations can acquire the requisite variety in knowledge, perspectives, and experiences necessary to navigate the complexities of technological change. This increased variety empowers them to:
  • Make Informed Technology Investments: Exposure to diverse solutions at NAB Show allows for informed decision-making regarding technology investments. Media professionals can evaluate various options, compare features and understand the potential impact on their specific needs and goals, ensuring optimal resource allocation and maximizing return on investment.
  • Adapt to Evolving Audience Expectations: Comprehending emerging trends and technologies gained at NAB Show enables media organizations to create content that resonates with diverse audiences across various platforms. This responsiveness ensures continued engagement and adds value to their offerings.

In the dynamic media landscape, navigating constant change requires a commitment to increasing requisite variety. By actively engaging with diverse perspectives, exploring high-quality solutions and fostering a culture of sharing, the hallmarks of NAB Show, media organizations can achieve sustainable success and solidify their positions in the ever-evolving media ecosystem.