Sohonet CEO Spots Trends at 2019 Tech Retreat

Chuck Parker, CEO of Sohonet, also serves as VP, Board of Directors for Hollywood Professional Alliance. A long-time attendee and popular speaker at the annual HPA Tech Retreat, which is a gathering of thought leaders in entertainment, technology, and creativity. Chuck shares his insights on the recent event which took place in February near Palm Springs, CA.

Chuck Parker Chief Executive OfficerParker: The HPA Tech Retreat offers a rare opportunity to spend a few days immersed in a flow of ideas and focused conversation with colleagues. It’s a thought-provoking event and a great chance to look at key factors in our industry and related technologies that have an impact. While we have been discussing some of these key developments for a while, not just at the Tech Retreat but in many other venues, what became even clearer to me this year is that we have passed the tipping point on a few technologies. We are quickly moving beyond a development conversation and are now in the full implementation and growth conversation.

Here are a few of my observations and hope you will bounce back to me with your thoughts.

It’s clearer now, more than ever that production and post are becoming firmly set in the cloud. While it’s not shocking that cloud HPA Tech Retreatwas a big topic at the Tech Retreat, what is worth noting is the reality of it and its expansion. There is acceptance in the marketplace backed by solid technologies and it’s evolving to be even more powerful for creatives. At the Tech Retreat, Sohonet hosted breakfast roundtables, and the discussion was focused on how people are working. From production through post, there is migration to the cloud and collaborative approaches that are only possible in the cloud. That’s more than a trend, it’s the way people are working now and will be working. People are working remotely, and there is a sustained movement of creative work to the cloud.

A critical benefit of working in the cloud is the huge empowerment it offers creative teams to work how, when, and where they want to. Actual real time collaboration HAS ARRIVED, after a long period of promises. Cloud-enabled production and post means, as one example, that dispersed visual effects teams can be in complete sync with production and stay in step with editorial, studio, and other stakeholders. Combined with the continual decline of enterprise software creative work will increasingly move to towards the cloud. The cloud, with proper tools and management, makes the process seamless and interwoven in a way that has not been possible before.

Obviously, there will continue to be more to discuss here – like the solutions that fuel the creative process and how they are plugged into the cloud and various workflows – so more is coming on this topic!

The hot topics continued at the HPA Tech Retreat with discussions of AI and machine learning. Simply put, AI-ML is how can we do things better-cheaper-faster and there is a keen interest in applying AI tools to a number of business processes.  Understanding the workflows that can be managed by AI is important. AI exists in the cloud and the reality of all AI workflows is that there is no “local AI”, you have to be near the cloud. So effectively you are only able to use AI because of the cloud.

At Sohonet, we are focused on keeping our eye trained on the most developing news and have created an overview of the most important trends facing our industry. We will be elaborating on these trends in the coming weeks. Hint: The human factor is an important part of future technological advancement.


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