As outgoing AES President Alex Case explains it, the Society's past year has been one of hard work, innovative growth and new excitement. Collaborative AES efforts have materialized in such things as increased valuable rich content online to the benefit of members as well as effective outreach to partners also concerned about audio quality for the future. As a matter of fact, the 143rd AES Convention-co-located with the independent NAB Show New York 2017-is a clear result of the latter.
"The AES is innovating aggressively," notes Case. "We know that audio rarely happens in isolation anymore. It is consumed and enjoyed with other media. That is part of why we are co-locating with NAB for this convention. We want to be more closely connected with broadcast, and broadcast is all media. [But] we won't dance with everyone who calls. We think very carefully about who our partners in quality will be. For example, broadcast's aspirations for video quality is very well aligned with ours for audio quality. We're exploring those natural partnerships going forward."
The 143rd AES Convention is a prelude to another collaboration: the approaching AES@NAMM in January 2018. "And that will be a completely complimentary set of activities [to NAMM's format and focus]," offers Case. "We want to work more closely with many of the 100,000 people there, those more focused on the musical instrument side of things. We are very deliberately not trying to work in isolation, but to work with other very clever people in allied fields. So I think we're all looking at each other, thinking about the most exciting way forward. It's not for a bunch of different societies to do alone, in their own silo. We have to determine the points of connection that make the most sense."
Meanwhile, Case has dived deep into the AES's venerable treasure trove of audio technology and research content, working hard to make it available for the Society's membership. "It's been a major focus of mine," explains Case, as he details AES's continuously growing E-Library, effectively the world's most comprehensive collection of audio information and reported research, as it is home to every paper ever published at the AES Convention, Conference, or in the pages of the Journal—all online, at the fingertips of the audio curious.
"We have a luxury of content," tells Case. "We're swimming in this amazing content, captured over the years by some of the greatest thinkers in our field. [These items] have basically sat on the shelf as potential assets, and it's only in the past few years that we have begun to go through them and edit them. So far it's been done through committees that have volunteered to do that, but I anticipate it's going to be a full-time job for AES. Just as we have people dedicated to getting the Journal out 10 times a year, we will also find ways to get curated, higher-quality material [online] regarding audio and audio-related fields."
"We've been recording events that happened at the [recent] Live Sound Expo, and events like what will happen here, in New York," Case continues. "But all these things happening during my tenure have actually been years in the making. It's been a major effort and the workflow is still evolving."