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Apple Vision Pro’s Aftermath: Bringing Spatial Computing into the OTT Industry

José Somolinos

Solutions Strategist & XR Lead

July 6, 2023


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Since I first tried a mobile VR headset in 2014, I have felt certain that XR will be the future. Over the past decade, I’ve done countless pitches in front of incredulous eyes trying to passionately share this message through concepts, prototypes and apps. Now Apple, using the same concepts and use cases that we’ve been wax lyrical about for years, has managed to convert every last John and Jenny. Everyone wants to jump on board, and based on numerous requests I’ve had from friends and colleagues, there is an ever-growing group of people who want to work with XR too. 

Jason Hiner (ZDNET)

Spatial computing year 1: Apple Vision Pro and the future of OTT

There’s no doubt that spatial computing is the future, but we still have a long way to go. Apple Vision Pro is a Pro device, currently available for wealthy enthusiasts and developers. A consumer alternative is not expected until 2025 and even then, just as we saw with the iPhone, it’ll take time to reach all markets (and it’ll likely never reach all pockets). Apple means luxury, and now more than ever. But where there’s luxury, copycats are never far behind. On a recent trip to Singapore, I was in a mall surrounded by people buying luxurious global brands of clothes, perfumes, and jewelry. On to the next block and I was in another mall with even more people also buying clothes, perfumes and jewelry, but at a lower quality and price. People always want the same but cheaper. It’s happened before in our industry, and it’ll happen again. There are already a few other XR brands well positioned in the market that will likely occupy the place where Apple can’t reach. 

The quality that Apple is promising is unprecedented, but then so is the price. Apple is not attempting to go mass market, it wants to make people dream about its products. In technology, a few small but fundamental improvements can make a huge difference. The Apple Vision Pro has better screens, better UX, more sensors and comes with the whole Apple ecosystem. Those are already big mountains to climb to competitors, but we’ve seen worse. 

Existing XR vendors will now try to close the gap following the Apple effect. Some rumors have it that Samsung has already sent back their upcoming headset to the drawing board in an attempt to match Apple’s specs. This is nothing new, and the iPhone versus Android war can certainly teach us a few lessons. Providers can produce similar components, UX can be bluntly copied, and partnerships can fill the ecosystem gaps. The industry is going to be boosted and consumers are going to benefit from it, regardless of their region or their budget. 

Other XR providers as Meta have been developing their technology for almost a decade. (Accedo)

So, what can video companies do while this new paradigm of computing develops?

Embracing the XR/VR revolution

XR (Extended Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are considered foundational elements of spatial computing. These cutting-edge technologies create immersive platforms that generate captivating and realistic experiences, allowing users to explore new dimensions beyond the confines of the physical world. 

First, understand that immersive platforms are not just a new screen to extend the OTT offering. It’s not like when we were taking iPhone apps and porting them to the iPad, with similar content, similar UX, and identical monetization. Such platforms represent a leap similar to when we expanded from STBs and cable TVs to mobiles and tablets creating a whole new OTT industry. No one knows what the market will look like in five years from now, but we can be certain that it’ll be different. The only way to be ready for the future is to build it yourself. 

You can start your immersive journey today right from where you are. Imagine porting your existing Web, Android TV, Smart TV or iPad and AppleTV apps, and then adding on top layers of interactivity to complement the 2D video content you already have. We believe this is the best starting point to start learning about how your brand is going to evolve into the spatial computing era. Creating this pied-a-terre on these new devices will enable you to be agile and move forward. 

Building the future of video: Evolving content for immersive platforms 

Secondly, you’ll want to start experimenting with new ways of storytelling. Video fans want to get increasingly closer to their favorite content and immersive platforms are the best way to make that dream come true. For example, this could be an immersive video production of a tennis game, or a themed fully 3D interactive environment of the latest TV show production or even, a holographic meet up with the actors of a reality show. 

You’ll want to know who the best companies producing VR video are? And what about holograms? If you don’t already have a top three in mind, it means that you have a lot of homework to do. What about 3D assets, are they cheap or expensive to produce? Well, it depends what type it is that you want to create. Can you produce content today with AI? Every new question opens five new doors that require time and expertise to evaluate.

From screens to spatial: OTT monetization challenges in the XR industry

The last step, once users are engaged with this new way of storytelling and engagement, is experimenting with innovative ways of monetization. Mobile devices brought micropayments and subscriptions. Immersive platforms will definitely push the boundaries of monetization beyond subscriptions. Targeted advertisements, in-app purchases, digital ownership, partnerships, sponsorships and probably many more revenue streams yet to be created. Spatial computing platforms are not here to add quantity to your subscriptions, but to create quality and interactive relationships with your users. 

There are three layers of complexity in the XR industry: understanding the unheard technologies that are required, finding the best companies that are selling more than hot air, and then incorporating these selected companies into your existing video offering. As your brand progresses into spatial computing, you’ll most likely need a lot of support to understand these new technologies, and identify the companies that will help you move forward. Finding the right partnerships is critical, and this won't be an easy task for newcomers. 

Apple has brought excitement to the general public reusing concepts created many times before. (Apple)

Apple’s recent launch has generated immense interest and excitement, shaking things up and grabbing everyone's attention. Although Apple Vision Pro is currently targeted at the higher-end market, its impact will reach far and wide, pushing competitors to step up their game. We stand at the brink of a transformative time, where immersive experiences and interactive storytelling will change how we enjoy content forever. It’s time for video providers to embrace this change, and lay the groundwork for success as we enter the spatial computing era. This means trying out new ideas, adjusting strategies, and building the right partnerships.

Accedo can help guide your video brand into this thrilling future. We’ve created the right portfolio of solutions and partners to make sure that your transition to the spatial computing era is smooth and cost-effective. Together, we'll shape the next exciting chapter of the video industry. The time is now, and the possibilities are endless for those who dare to take the leap. If this blog has sparked your interest, get in touch, no strings attached.

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