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SACIA is a SAQA-recognised professional body responsible for awarding designations to industry professionals working in the communications industry in SA.

Call for presentations: COMMTREND 2019 conference

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, SACIA is hosting a multi-stream conference – COMMTREND 2019 – that will examine the trends and technologies shaping the future of the communications industry across Southern Africa.

Theme: Trends & Technologies shaping the future of the communications industry
Date: 22-24 October 2019
Venue: Gallagher Estate, Midrand, Johannesburg

The COMMTREND 2019 conference programme will include a mix of keynote presentations, panel discussions, discussion forums and practical workshops. Streams (break-away sessions) and sub-themes within the conference include:

Technical Production & Live Events – sound, light, display, rigging

Content Creation – film, video, multimedia and social media

Event Safety – standards and practice; global trends and insights

ProAV – digital signage, AV/IT integration, video conferencing, case studies & the user experience

Broadcast – content creation, management & distribution, digital preservation

Telecoms – integration between broadcast and AV/IT technologies; networked AV solutions

Pro Audio – recording; post-production; live sound

Education – exploring challenges faced by educators working across all inter-related fields above

Leadership, Business & Governance

COMMTREND 2019 is now inviting submissions from organisations, companies or individuals who are interested in submitting a paper, contributing a presentation or participating in a panel discussion. COMMTREND 2019 encourages presenters to focus on future trends and technologies. While imaging an inspired future, speakers may also want to raise concerns over any adverse impact technologies may have on the communications industry in Southern Africa.

While manufacturers and vendors are welcome to submit presentations, the presentations should not be structured to sell or promote a particular brand or product.

Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes allowed for Q&A. Preference will be given to case studies and research articles that are more practical (practice-based/practice-led).

The deadline for proposals is 15 May 2019 and submissions should be made using the template available here.

The programme committee will send authors feedback by 30 June 2019 to indicate whether their proposals have been accepted.

* Accommodation, travelling and subsistence costs are the responsibility of the presenters.

**Presenters grant SACIA the right to record and distribute their conference presentations, unless specified in writing.

If you have any questions, please contact the programme committee at papers2019@sacia.org.za

SACIA invests in the development of the South African broadcast industry


Since 2009, the South African Communication Industries Association (SACIA) has worked hard to uphold its mandate to promote the adoption of professional standards and ethical business practices within the broadcast communications industry across Southern Africa.

Executive director of SACIA, Kevan Jones has been on this journey since its inception. However, Jones insists that the spirit of the association dates back to a decade earlier in the nineties, when he was involved in setting up an informal group of broadcast engineers, who would get together and share insights on technology trends impacting the South African industry.

“We’d arrange studio visits, share information and publish research on technology applicable to the broadcast industry. Most of the people involved in that early group are now retired, but Kim Smith from Sasani and George Durant from Red Pepper are both still active as leaders in our Broadcast Industry Council. Of course we’ve expanded dramatically since those early days but our core vision remains the same: to promote the adoption of professional standards and ethical business practices in the communications industry across Southern Africa,” shares Jones.

This, they do by aligning themselves with similar associations around the world. They have also formed formal cooperation agreements with the IABM, AVIXA (previously InfoComm International), the International Moving Image Society (previously BKSTS) and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

Through the years the association has been a member-driven association, bringing passionate people of the industry together through various activities.

Jones expands: “Our members are regular participants in some of the big international trade shows and we make sure we host regular events which allow them to share their knowledge and experience,” says Jones. “We also deliver regular training in collaboration with some of the world’s leading training providers – providing access to members on the trends and technologies shaping the future of the broadcast and AV industry.”

The IP and Networks course

SACIA has fully supported the transition from linear television to non-linear broadcasting. With this in mind, the association recently introduced the IP and Networks course, which takes a look at bespoke software and network interconnects based upon Internet Protocol (IP).

Jones comments: “The technologies being used in the broadcast industry are fundamentally changing from bespoke and costly tools that perform specialist tasks, to IP-based technology that’s way more affordable.”

“Whilst the benefits of IP technology are real, there are real challenges in integrating IP and network technologies into a traditional broadcast environment. Our new IP and networks course is designed to assist broadcasters making this transition.”

The first edition of the three-day course commenced in February this year, and covered the core fundamentals representing this network infrastructure for interconnections in a file‐based or streaming environment. Schedules of upcoming training dates are available on the SACIA website.

Redesigning old courses for future advancements

Apart from the new addition in IP, the association felt that they needed to redesign some courses to better address the ever-changing industry, and to tackle the latest developments and challenges faced by their members.

“Our AV industry training has been revised to better address the needs of the South African market, and our broadcast industry courses are in a constant state of development as new technology standards are introduced…However, we are also expanding our IP and Networks course to include a practical component which has been missing in previous deliveries,” shared Jones.

The association has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tshwane University of Technology’s Arts Faculty. With this collaboration, the association aims to deliver even more professional development courses in partnership with the University. The deal will also help contribute to the development of the university’s curriculum in ensuring that it is relevant to the current needs of the industry.

Irrespective of all the changes and additions to their course offerings, the Broadcast and Media Workflows course continues to be a firm favourite, shares Jones, he anticipates that the course will remain the leading course for the year 2018.

Train the trainer initiative for veterans

As more and more established industry professionals reach their golden years and are thinking of retiring from the industry; SACIA insists that they should not hang their hats and deprive the world of their distinctive skills and well of wisdom. These professionals can now contribute to the industry through structured mentorship or by providing training programmes.

A three-day course that includes theory and experiential learning is given to these future trainers who have become experts in areas such as live sound, audio-visual, event safety, cinematography, outside broadcast, rigging, broadcast operations, lighting design and animation.

“The programme is really aimed at subject matter experts who are willing to share their knowledge and experience. We are actively looking to increase the range of short courses we’re able to offer the market. One of our objectives is to develop and deliver more short-courses aimed at the freelance community and anyone interested in becoming a trainer is a candidate for this course,” shares Jones.

Since the first course in May last year, the programme now boasts 50 professionals who have completed the programme.

The course is registered with the EDTPSETA (unit standard 117877) and once the participant has successfully completed their assessment they’ll receive a certificate from the SETA confirming their competence. In addition, the course is registered as part of SACIA’s professional development programme and individuals completing the course will earn CPD points that are used to maintain a SAQA-recognised professional designation.

SACIA presents training programmes for the broadcast and AV industry

Following the Southern African Communications Industry Association’s (SACIA) training activity in February, SACIA will be presenting another series of training programmes that will take place during March and April.

For people who are involved in the audio-visual and live events industry, the programme starts with the Essentials of AV Technology course. Based on the AVIXA curriculum, the course explores the science and technology behind audio and video technology used in both the fixed-install and live-event markets. The course takes place in Johannesburg from 7 to 9 March. For more information, download the course content here.

For those who are active in the broadcast industry, there will be a reappearance of a number of courses that were delivered last month. The popular Broadcast & Media Workflows course will be running in Johannesburg on 8 to 9 March, 14 to 15 March and 19 to 20 March, offering interested attendees three date options to suit their schedule. This two‐day course gives an understanding of workflows and integration and considers the changes in the market from the convergence of today to the challenges of tomorrow. It highlights that broadcasters and service providers need different types of products and services than in the past, and explains what impact the need for automation will have on understanding customers’ requirements. For more information, download the course content here.

Broadcast Formats & Compression is another course for broadcast industry professionals. This two-day course examines how we pass video and audio through the broadcast system and looks at the techniques we use to make this possible. It looks at files and codecs in detail. This involves learning about compression techniques, looking at wrappers and how they are used to put multiple sets of data into a single file, and the metadata which is then used to describe the data. It’s scheduled for delivery in Johannesburg on both 6 to 7 March and 12 to 13 March, giving attendees two date options as well. For more information on the course, download information at this link.

Last month SACIA introduced the IP and Networks course for the broadcast industry. The course has been very well received so they will be repeating the course on both 26 to 28 March and 9 to 11 April. The broadcast and media production world is rapidly transitioning from a bespoke environment with dedicated interconnections between specific to function hardware, to general purpose hardware, bespoke software and network interconnects based upon Internet Protocol (IP). A similar transition has taken place in the distribution and playout environment as servers become the norm and content is increasingly consumed through the internet. This three‐day course covers the core fundamentals representing the network infrastructure for interconnections in a file‐based or streaming environment and will also cover the underlying communication infrastructure and practical media applications.

For more information, download the course content here.

Lastly, SACIA will be heading to Cape Town on 3 to 5 April to deliver the industry-specific Train the Trainer course. As part of their commitment to promoting the adoption of professional standards, the association is looking to encourage established subject-matter experts to develop and deliver short training courses that are specific to the communications industry. Over the last 12 months, 25 people have completed this training, and they are now working with these industry experts to develop and deliver short courses to its membership. To find out how to get involved in training or mentorship, click on this link.

For more information on any of these courses email training@sacia.org.za.


SACIA organises united industry front for ICASA

SACIA released the following statement bringing the industry up to speed: “Summing up the issues around the ICASA regulations and the allocation of Radio Frequencies for low-powered communication devices, there appears to be general consensus that the AV industry needs to engage in a formal conversation with ICASA and ensure that they are better informed about the requirements of the industry sector.

“Wireless microphones are widely used in a broad range of environments, including schools, churches, community centres, conference venues, film sets, OB vans, studios, exhibition halls and music festivals. In engaging in this dialogue with ICASA it is important that the AV sector gathers input from a broad range of sources, including colleagues within EXSA and SAACI.

“SACIA is grateful to Pieter Grootes (independent consultant) and Andy Louis (NAB Technical committee) for sharing their knowledge and experience with the industry.

“As a result of discussion at the meeting the following was agreed:

1. SACIA to appoint an independent consultant to assist in the preparation of a formal submission to ICASA on or before 27 January 2017.

2. Appointment of a task group comprising Llewelyn Reinecke (Gearhouse), Mark Gaylard (MGG), Jeff Isaacs (Wild & Marr), Gavin Atkinson (Audiosure) and Johannes von Weyssenhoff (Starwaves). Additional members may be co-opted as required. The primary purpose of the task group is to provide input to the development of the written ICASA submission (deadline is 27 January), and prepare oral submission for the public hearings scheduled for 2-3 February. The consultant and task group will provide feedback to members no later than Thursday 26 January.

3. An estimated budget of R100,000 is required to prepare a submission to ICASA by 27 January, and to continue engagement with ICASA for a period of time thereafter. This cost should not be carried exclusively by distributors and it is suggested that, in order to share the financial commitment on an equitable basis, larger distributors are asked to contribute a once-off sum of R20,000 (plus VAT) each, while smaller distributors and larger users are asked to contribute a once-off sum of R10,000 (plus VAT) each.

4. The determination of whether a distributor is “large’ or “small’ is left entirely to them.

5. Whilst these payments are entirely voluntary, we require a firm commitment by Monday 16 January – participants to confirm their to willingness to contribute as a matter of urgency.’

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