We have seen a rapid evolution of streaming devices over recent years with seemingly new platforms emerging all the time. With that has also come a shift in consumption habits, which also seems to be ever-changing. However, no matter how dramatic that transition has seemed, it will pale in comparison with the future landscape of devices, something video providers need to be preparing themselves for, in order to remain competitive.
Every new device wave comes with a huge amount of hype, often unsubstantiated. Many people were predicting prolific adoption of 3D a few years ago and of course that never materialized. With spatial computing, this will be entirely different. One fundamental reason is that Apple, along with a few other key players, is betting on that horse. The much anticipated launch of Apple Vision Pro will dramatically accelerate both consumer adoption and what can be achieved when leveraging XR. Many companies are jostling to keep up and as a result, we are bound to see a huge amount of great content emerging that leverages the full potential of this format.
Spatial computing is also different because it enables you to deliver an extremely engaging and immersive experience with minimal investment. It allows for more engrossing storytelling, but can even work with existing mobile devices, meaning consumers don’t necessarily need a headset to derive value. What we will see is that these experiences will be available across both headsets and traditional smartphones, empowering consumers to use the most suitable device depending on their location.
In addition, if you look at the Apple Vision Pro promo video, there is an obvious expectation that viewers will be converted into thinking of XR as a normal social experience. A future is foreseen where consumers will connect multiple spatial devices to their TV to commonly share XR experiences together with family and friends.
Younger generations are reportedly moving away from the big screen and opting instead to consume the majority of their content on mobile devices. Yet, Smart TVs have retained a solid market share and continue to evolve, bringing out new greener technology, better resolution and inbuilt cameras. I believe that this will continue. The big screen has the potential to bring people together in the living room, and it also lends itself well to certain types of content, such as sports. Video providers will increasingly use Smart TVs to deliver experiences in a way that will only be feasible on a larger screen. This will include dynamic overlays; a particularly interesting use case for live sports where you can display statistics alongside the match.
At the same time, the rising popularity of spatial computing may even be a true saving grace. Pairing spatial computing devices with Smart TVs will give consumers real-time social experiences, whether that be for watching sports matches, music concerts, or working out with a fitness class. Those sorts of experiences won’t work in the same way without using a larger screen.
As mentioned, mobiles are already the screen of choice for a large swathe of the population. This is going to continue, pushing these devices and networks to become even better for this use case.
With every new mobile generation comes faster connections and lower latency. We have already seen 5G used to support real time live events across the world. This will get even better with the roll-out of 6G. Meanwhile, the mobile network carriers are trying to tout the benefits of low latency, high speed networks that support the entire pipeline of video. This ranges from content production, with live acquisition over a mobile network, through to the consumer watching on their mobile device. These carriers will be looking for new and innovative use cases to really maximize the technology such as telepresence, for example, that enables consumers to experience an almost VR-like experience on their mobile.
We will also see innovation within the devices themselves to optimize them for a better viewing experience. This will include rollable screens, enabling mobile video viewers to see a bigger picture than what has been possible before. And all this from phones that are likely to be even smaller than today’s devices, as battery technology continues to improve.
As autonomous driving inches closer to reality, the demand for video centric in-car entertainment options will intensify. Passengers will soon have the luxury of dedicating their travel time to catching up on their favorite TV shows or tuning into live broadcasts. In-car video streaming is poised to transcend living rooms and mobile devices, transforming commutes into engaging experiences.
At CES 2023, Steve Koenig, VP of Research at the Consumer Technology Association, already coined the term 'screenification' to describe the future of in-car entertainment, morphing into tech-filled mobile living rooms. In fact, companies like Google, Apple, Screenhits TV, Sony, Epic Games, and Nvidia are already partnering with top car brands, gearing up for an in-car streaming boom. The result and prototypes launched so far provide an elevated experience that extends the basic car navigation, video conferencing, and communication capabilities into actual entertainment hubs embedded in the head unit and rear seat displays.
In a few years from now, we can expect drivers to effortlessly stream the latest blockbuster or educational content while parked and passengers to enjoy a PC-gaming experience en route from the backseat. This evolution will be fueled by advancements in high-speed 5G and 6G networks, which promise seamless connectivity even in the most remote areas. Moreover, manufacturers and content providers will likely collaborate to optimize streaming quality, reduce data consumption, and tailor content recommendations thanks to AI-based technologies based on the passengers' preferences, the journey's context and even the passengers' attention level. As vehicles become hubs of enrichment, the journey ahead is brimming with possibilities.
No matter the device, consumers require great content and an intuitive UX experience. Creating and delivering for multiple screens can be complex, especially when they are so vastly different. At Accedo, we have been developing and delivering engaging video experiences across devices for many years and our team consistently explores upcoming innovations to ensure our ability to adapt alongside our customers.