Digital Futures Exchange Embraces Its Namesake

Over the last four years, the Digital Futures Exchange has been one of the first stops at NAB Show to share the latest in digital trends, strategies and technology. Powered by NAB’s PILOT, the conference runs Sunday and Monday, April 7–8.

Discussions will center around what digital officers in local media will need to do for their businesses to succeed over the next one to three years. While this will be tackled in a number of traditional panel sessions and presentations, conference coordinator Brian Savoie said this year’s agenda, which will run two full days for the first time, is looking to focus on the roots of what DFX is supposed to be.

“It’s intended to be an opportunity for those working in digital media to exchange ideas with one another,” Savoie said. “And while we do have sages on the stage giving us fantastic information and takeaways, we also wanted the opportunity for the experts in the audience to be able to interact with the group, with other folks that are working in that space.”

At the heart of that will be the DFX Engage! sessions that will close out the conference on Monday afternoon. First offered during the 2018 NAB Show, DFX Engage! is an opportunity for attendees to have the type of interaction that Savoie described. Last year, the offerings were more session focused, offering short talks with some examples and demonstrations. But now the demos are the main attraction to show attendees exactly how they can bring ideas back to their own stations.

All of the presenters for the DFX Engage! will be available from 3:20–4:40 p.m. in room N260 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The topics focus on “Telling Non-Fiction Stories With AR and VR,” “Using Drone Photogrammetry for News,” “The Connected Radio Platform — Visualizing Hybrid Radio,” “MyMelo Opportunities and Demonstrations” about how the program works for broadcasters and lastly, “The Connected Home Experience.” All of these demonstrations will look specifically at how these tools can be utilized in the next several years.

The traditional sessions offer a wealth of information as well, touching on key areas of interest that are providing exciting opportunities, but also challenges, for broadcasters. In what Savoie believes could be the not miss panel of the entire event, Adam Wiener, executive vice president and general manager at CBS Local Digital; Rebekah Dopp, global partnerships at Google; Daniel Barreto, engineer at Haystack; and Adam Ware, general manager at STIRR, will present on “Business Models for Local OTT,” which looks at the new entrants and disruptors that are evolving local OTT.

Other sessions address the culture of innovation; the future of the news landscape, developed in partnership with Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism; the future of transportation and in-car entertainment with the emergence of connected cars; and the next-generation audience — specifically the new ways to engage with content.

Savoie said the program is interactive. “There are oftentimes really exciting things that spin off of presentations that just occurred,” he said. “It’s not just about the presentations. It’s also about the attendees, what they are experiencing, and how they’re engaging in this whole process.”