Connecting IoT and OTT

If you read my last blog post, then you will know that whilst I said adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) is slow, the market is growing and will continue to do so. As consumers have their concerns allayed, in particular around privacy, this will continue further still.

In case you missed my last blog post, you can read it here.

For me the most important thing in this new market is that it should be an integrated, invisible (or transparent) and useful service, rather than simply a myriad of interconnected devices with little benefit or relevance day-to-day.

Of course, at Accedo we are all about the video experience, an area which is experiencing significant changes in terms of multiplatform content consumption. Indeed, we estimate that OTT video services will be worth $90 billion by 2020. Connecting IoT and OTT has some attractive potential, especially in an increasingly competitive environment, with providers battling for subscribers. Connecting IoT and OTT means being able to share data between the OTT service and IoT devices, enabling them to communicate with each other autonomously without human interaction for the benefit of the user´s content experience. Will this symbiosis provide better, more intelligent user centred video experiences? It is in our hands to do so.

My colleague, Dovile´s Trepenukeviciute, recently conducted a study into IoT, which outlined a number of interesting use cases for this integration. These were focused around adapting the content proposal and content consumption for users on emotions, location or previous media consumption. Let me put it in layman’s terms: what if you as a user would not have to look for, or search for content as your basic experience, but rather the content is served to you depending on the hour of day? Or depending on your heart rate/emotional status? Or where you are located?  The combination of all these factors certainly opens a new way of media consumption where content goes to the user and not the other way around.

If we are to provide these integrated OTT / IoT experiences, we must design these services to be intelligent and not to disturb the users. We already live an over intrusive, ever connected digital life, do we want to make it worse? If you are watching a film, or TV program, the last thing you want, as a user, is to be disturbed. This means that if certain things might potentially lead the device to disturb the “A/V content consumption” experience, there needs to be enough intelligence built in the ecosystem that it can gauge the importance of urgency to determine the right course of action. If, for example the pizza delivery driver has arrived, the consumer will want to be disturbed, but they may not need to know the minute the washing machine has finished. Equally, if they are in the middle of watching a film, the ecosystem should alert the user through another of the many nearby devices, such as their mobile or smartwatch, rather than the one which is displaying the content.

In the multiplatform experience design, we have three “Cs” – Consistency, Continuity and Complementarity of the experience on the multiplatform ecosystem. In my mind, these three “Cs” are just as, if not more so, applicable to designing IoT experiences or services. If we manage to do so, we will have solid, meaningful; and what the industry is aching for: monetizable verticals.

At the same time, however, if done well, IoT + OTT could enable media companies to get more personal and contextual data about users, which ultimately enables them to improve content proposition to users and ultimately user engagement with the brand.  That data will also enable much more personalized and targeted advertising. Ultimately I believe there will be some value in integrating OTT with IoT, however it is only valuable if the use case is beneficial and appealing to users otherwise we will be designing for “Gimmick land”. And as designers we must bring solutions, purpose and meaningfulness to user´s lives.

 If you want to find out more about how we see IoT integrating with OTT, come and visit us at CES.

By Iñigo Orduña, Senior UX + UI (SELA)

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