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ABU-Rai Days link ancient with modern

A new joint initiative by the ABU and Italy’s national public broadcaster RAI integrating ancient cultures and cutting-edge modern technologies was a great success.

RAI President Monica Maggioni said that connecting people and cultures through digital technology was one of the challenges all broadcasters face in modern times. She hoped the symposium, through the connections made and circulation of ideas, demonstrated that in these hyper-technological times, using tools such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can connect people and the digital dots.

Welcoming delegates to the new initiative, the ABU Secretary General, Dr Javad Mottaghi, spoke about the importance of such inter-continental partnerships in promoting understanding of culture and diversity as well as exchanging knowledge and expertise among broadcasters.

“On the one hand we have cultural heritage spanning at least two-hundred-thousand years of human history,” he said. “[On the other hand], the digital revolution has changed the face of humanity in less than a lifetime. Both in one place at one time, here at this conference, today.”

More than 80 delegates from 27 countries came together for the inaugural event at the RAI Headquarters in Rome, including some 40 ABU members from 12 countries.

After an opening presentation by NHK’s Research Labs about what they are working on over the horizon beyond 8K, the first day continued with practical demonstrations, showcases and take-aways about digitisation and market convergence, content innovation, big data projects and immersive multi-platform experiences.

Day Two focused on the intersection between arts, culture and digital technologies. It showcased how broadcasters are experimenting with digital tools and technologies to revitalise their cultural identities and heritage.

The practical part of the two days included virtual reality tours of some of Rome’s unique and ancient archaeological sites, Le Domus Romane of the Palazzo Valentini and Domus Aurea, or Nero’s palace. The VR demonstrations brought to life the possibilities of using new technology to re-imagine the archaeological sites as they were when first built, preserving them for future generations.