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B²C Lab Celebrates Latest Advancements in Broadcast Technology at their Open House

Day 2 of the Open House. Presenting From left to right: Anthony Sammarco, Director of Technology Strategy for Device Solutions Inc. Chris Lamb,Co-Founder and CEO, Device Solutions, CTO, PBS North Carolina, Red Grasso, Director, FirsTech Program, State of North Carolina, and Fred Engel presenting the ATSC 3.0 First Responder Demo
8 minutes


By Janice Saji

History is a testament to the significance of technology in the advancement of human life. For instance, let’s look at communication. From letters to telegraphs to telephones to radio to television and then the internet, generations of humanity can be mapped out by the primary mode of communication technology they used.  

And as it is in the ever-changing landscape of technology, communications technology is heading into a new era.

Ushering this new change is the Broadcast-Broadband Convergence B²C Lab, that focuses on further developing a new television broadcast and datacasting transmission technology. The Lab’s Open House was a celebration of this new evolution. 

The Open House held on May 11 and May 12, 2023, at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (Barrett CTI), Humber College, Toronto, explored multi-sectoral applications of the new ATSC 3.0 television broadcast standard. 

Setting the Stage for a Revolutionary Convergence of Technologies

The two worlds of television broadcasting and data delivery come together in the Broadcast-Broadband Convergence B²C Lab, creating an opportunity to not only develop a wave of new applications, B2B and B2C models, but also offer new potential for social innovation.

ATSC 3.0 offers the ability to design and deploy first responder communications networks, emergency alerting use case applications and remote education applications, all of which were discussed in depth at the Open House, to create opportunities for the development of ideas with huge civic impact. 

For Humber, the multidisciplinary nature of the 3.0 standard and its ability to converge with other global data delivery standards (including 5G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) creates opportunities across different faculties and areas, including liberal arts and sciences, RF and computer science engineering, software development, 

AI and machine learning, journalism and broadcast production.

During the initial stages of exploring the ATSC 3.0 standard, Orest Sushko, Director of B²C Lab, noted the importance of establishing an industry research lab that could explore the application of global data delivery standards in a heterogeneous capacity. While there are dedicated labs exploring 5G applications, it became evident that further research into the convergence of ATSC 3.0 and 5G would address a capacity gap and unlock tremendous potential in the industry through the unique value proposition the combination delivers.

This is what inspired him to set out on an uncharted course and create the B²C Lab. 

Ginger Grant PhD., Dean of Research & Innovation, Humber College, recalls Orest’s first visit to her in August 2019 along with his Associate Dean, Andrew Ainsworth, from Humber’s School of Media Studies & Information Technology. He was a brand-new faculty member and had an idea that intrigued her.

I had never heard of ATSC 3.0, and I was intrigued by the possibilities being described. Orest had been exploring the use of this technology for a while and was convinced it was worth studying. We have a small funding pipeline that allows ORI to explore potential new areas of applied research. The more Orest talked, the more excitement grew. We agreed to sponsor an ATSC 3.0 seminar in January 2020 – the rest is history!” 
—Ginger Grant PhD., Dean of Research & Innovation

Orest notes that broadcast-broadband convergence takes the ATSC 3.0 standard out of the realm of just television and brings it into the world of IoT and the connected world through applications such as sending data to cars, and a myriad of broadcast data delivery functions that can serve smart cities. If the television broadcast industry can move towards implementing an all IP-based model through ATSC 3.0, it can in-turn help other industries digitally transform. This brings the broadcast silo down and offers new opportunities in a wholly connected world.

Orest Sushko, Director of the B²C Lab, delivering presentation about the lab.

The Lab provides stakeholders from both industries an opportunity to explore and experiment with both ATSC 3.0 and 5G.

There are specific strengths and advantages offered with both 5G and ATSC 3.0. In our Open House, we tried to present a variety of presentations and demonstrations allowing people to understand the value proposition of both together, and how they can complement each other.” 
—Orest Sushko, Director, B²C Lab

ATSC 3.0 offers much greater transmission spectral efficiency over the current ATSC 1.0 standard. Another highly advantageous aspect of ATSC 3.0 is the additional layer of security available. Since the data is being sent over the air, stakeholders can encrypt and decrypt that data to secure the content being sent over the system.

Ginger notes that beyond being a new television transmission standard, ATSC 3.0 is internet-protocol (IP) based so it can also serve as a ‘one-to-many’ internet data delivery system that offers many new business models for broadcasters.

Think of ATSC 3.0 as the 407—the ability to move traffic away from other ‘highways’ that are congested or blocked. Think of what education could look like if we could reach where the internet is not able to go. Think of the speed of emergency response systems if we could target specific geographical locations. ATSC can carry multiple channels of IP data as information on a single broadcast stream. This type of technology integration will help us in an emergency when the internet goes down. ATSC 3.0 can be summed up as a technology that will drive our digital entertainment and communication devices.” 
—Ginger Grant PhD., Dean of Research & Innovation

B²C Lab Open House: A Marketplace of Ideas

The two-day event delivered ten presentations by industry leaders, research scientists, lab industry partners and stakeholders, including Triveni Digital, Sinclair Broadcasting Group/ONE Media, CRC Ottawa, ETRI South Korea, Avateq Corp and PBS North Carolina, who shared with the attendees current and upcoming developments on ATSC 3.0.
While the demonstrations and discussions reflected broader broadcast industry interests, most notably in the U.S. (where the standard has already been adopted), including new datacasting features, the focus of the developments was the same—improving people’s lives by delivering new services to consumers and businesses. 

The innovations ranged from improving emergency response services to creating remote learning spaces for regions without access to consistent internet to advancing in-vehicle travel leisure experiences. 

Over 100 participants, including Canadian and U.S. industry stakeholders, a global community of research scientists, Humber faculty, staff, and students, attended the event. For presenters and participants alike, it was an event to remember.

Fred Engel, the Chief Technology Officer at PBS North Carolina, was impressed by the involvement of young people in the broadcast industry in Canada and the space provided by Humber College to nurture their interests. 

The broadcast industry in the United States tends to be for the technology people, who usually tend to be kind of older, like I am. So, it’s very rewarding to see a lot of young people here at Humber College display interest in this technology.” 
—Fred Engel, Chief Technology Officer, PBS North Carolina

From left to right: Anthony Sammarco, Director of Technology Strategy for Device Solutions Inc. Chris Lamb,Co-Founder and CEO, Device Solutions, CTO, PBS North Carolina, Red Grasso, Director, FirsTech Program, State of North Carolina, and Fred Engel presenting the ATSC 3.0 First Responder Demo
From left to right: Anthony Sammarco, Director of Technology Strategy for Device Solutions Inc. Chris Lamb,Co-Founder and CEO, Device Solutions, CTO, PBS North Carolina, Red Grasso, Director, FirsTech Program, State of North Carolina, and Fred Engel presenting the ATSC 3.0 First Responder Demo.

For Sunhyoung Kwon, a researcher at Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), South Korea, the highlight of the Open House was presenting his project that uses broadcast-broadband convergence to improve media content delivery in vehicles.

In her presentation, Madeleine Noland, President of the Advanced Television Systems Committee Inc. (ATSC), highlighted the opportunities this technology creates for people from different sectors such as Liberal Arts.

The broadcast industry is currently reinventing itself. Realizing that it cannot continue operating the way it presently does, and always has, the industry is now in need of people with contemporary skills.” 
—Madeleine Noland, President, Advanced Television Systems Committee Inc. (ATSC)

Madeleine Noland, President of the Advanced Television Systems Committee Inc. (ATSC) stands at a podium.
Madeleine Noland, President of the Advanced Television Systems Committee Inc. (ATSC).

A common highlight for many participants was the opportunity to engage and network with various stakeholders working with the same technology as them. 

"Being able to meet different people, audience members and participants, and being able to have those conversations that inspire thoughts that I didn’t realize, or learn about experiences I didn’t have, was very valuable for me.” 
—Red Grasso, Director of the First Responder Emerging Technologies (FirstTech) Program, State of North Carolina

Orest says while the Open House was hosted to provide an update regarding the technology to the industry, it also offered an opportunity to create engagement amongst attendees and facilitate new conversations that could lead to new collaborations.

Opportunities for Collaboration with the B²C Lab

Opportunities to engage, explore and collaborate at the B²C Lab abound. If a company or organization has a capacity gap or a need for innovation involving any of the technology solutions the lab offers (ATSC 3.0, 5G or RF anechoic testing chamber facilities), they are welcome to reach out to the B²C Lab to find out more about engagement options to support their objectives and goals.

The lab works with the stakeholder to determine the research budget, the methodology required to create the innovation, and the outcomes and deliverables to complete the project. 

A huge advantage for industry stakeholders is that all the intellectual property they create in the B²C Lab remains with them. Humber College does not retain IP; it all stays with the partner, and they are free to bring those innovations to market.” 
—Orest Sushko, Director, B²C Lab

The research team working on B²C Lab’s projects are typically comprised of industry partners, Humber College faculty experts and student research assistants. 

We are a 100% front-facing industry research lab and keep students at the centre of the experience.” 
—Orest Sushko, Director, B²C Lab

Moving Forward through Research and Innovation 

The Open House was a celebration of advancing technology, the opportunities it creates and the potential for the digital transformation of a variety of industries. The event offered an insightful look into the vast possibilities for innovation that result from the ATSC 3.0-5G convergence.
The B²C Lab is currently working on several research projects with industry partners including Pelmorex, Avateq and Sinclair Broadcast Group. There are several upcoming research projects slated for later this year once the integration of the 5G core network is completed. Current lab applied research projects include the development of an ATSC 3.0 Inter-Tower Communications Network, development of a Broadcast Core Network, as well as a drone RF measurement project. 

Learn more about ways to get involved in research projects taking place at Humber.