Please stand by: Exploring the future of media and entertainment – and the VR, AR, and AI tech advancing it

Please stand by: Exploring the future of media and entertainment – and the VR, AR, and AI tech advancing it
Max Eaglen is a founding director of Platform, a brand consultancy that co-create Customer Experience Centres and work with clients including Vodafone, TAG Heuer and British Gas.

It has been 83 years since TV hit UK screens, nearly 40 since Channel 4 broke the boundaries of a three channel TV service, and just over seven years since all television broadcasts went from analogue to digital. There is estimated to be 27,000 hours of domestic content produced a year at a cost of £2.6 billion.  But that’s just TV.

We all know that how we consume media and our entertainment has evolved more in the last few years than it had in the last century.  Media consumers are now watching video content on a computer or a smartphone (92%) and 58% stream TV content via the Internet according to a recent survey by Salesforce.

We also know that more millennials discover content through personalised recommendations rather than ads or publicity and, regardless of what channel we are consuming media on, we will see more advertising (around double from 2015-2019) and as our data continues to proliferate, those ads will be more tailored to our individual musings. 

Add to this that more than three in five (61%) media consumers have increased consumption of subscription based streaming video over the past two years, again according to Salesforce, and there is no doubt that today’s media consumers are increasingly likely to pay for additional services that meet their unique needs.

How do we make an impact on consciousness?

But, what does this really mean to those of us working with the world of media and how do we look to engage those who are using these platforms and make an impact on their consciousness?  We are living in a world centred around convenience – Gen M and Zs want to stream content, as and when they want it. They want to personalise their viewing and want technology that allows them to do this. They want to discover more about what they are viewing and are happy to rely on recommendations by friends, even if that friend is virtual.

View “anytime, anyplace” culture

Technology is enabling this “view anytime, anyplace’ culture with 5G having the potential to revolutionise the media and entertainment world.  Allowing super high definition content to be delivered to mobiles, it will bring high quality, watchable content from anywhere be it at events, festivals, on a commute, on a train, plane or automobile. Super-realistic AR and VR immersive experiences will transform our experience of education, news and entertainment allowing us to watch coverage as it happens, in real time and often in 360 video.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will have a seismic impact on the way we consume media and entertainment in the future. Advertising and film previews are already being designed by algorithms that help maximise search optimisation and AI technology is being used to support the production. And of course, the user experience continues to be more and more personalised with machine learning recommending content based on data from user activity and behaviour. 

Layers on layers of storytelling

As the technology becomes more sophisticated so does the way we can consume the content. From virtual reality, where the consumer steps into the story, to augmented reality where they step out of the story, to mixed reality where layers on layers tell the story to the consumer. We are already beginning to look to XR – extended reality – combining virtual and reality and VR/360 where streaming of VR/REAL generates an environment for true immersive content that understands the location of the consumer watching.

The latest tech advance on the block is 6DoF (6 degrees of freedom) video which allows the user to effectively alternate between six different sorts of movement enabling them to guide their view of the screen as if looking inside the sphere of the video. Complement this with immersive exploration where consumers don a VR headset and a wireless haptic feedback vest as the action on screen is mimicked to the consumer – be it a shot in the chest or the sensation of an elevator rising.

However, it is not just visual tech that is changing the world of media and entertainment.  Products incorporating mobile face biometric authenticator technology are already becoming available with companies such as North Focals, Bose AR sunglasses and Vuzix’s Blade allowing the real and virtual worlds to blur into one. Likewise, augmented audio that provides real location information for the user are available from Bose AR and Google amongst others meaning you can have your own local tour guide literally in your ear.

Want to cast your daughter in the latest superhero movie?

If we think that the future is already here, what will the next 5 and 10 years hold for those consuming media? And how will the face of consuming entertainment change?   By 2021, Cisco predicts that 81% of all internet traffic will stem from digital videos, there will be 26.3m VR headsets used worldwide and the delay of transfer of data in 5G devices is predicted to be a mere 0.001 seconds.  For a media consumer this means that the ability to transfer image onto motion will become a reality allowing your daughter to be cast in the latest superhero movie or your grandmother in the latest dance video.

What about the music industry? With technology already helping assist songwriters and fine-tuning melodies such as Flow Machine you can now have your own creative assistant suggesting possible harmonies or rhythms to accompany your creative output.  Research being undertaken by Sussex University means that not too far in the future technology will be able to push unique sound/voice content to individuals that only they could hear taking audio personalisation one step further.

Technological advancement will, of course, not stop there. As digital replaces analogue across the board and algorithms weave into every platform we will see new types of “edutainment”, game based storytelling and personalisation of our media – with storylines we choose, and endings that we want – differing on who we watch with and when we watch it.

Going to live forever

Yet that is not the end of what technology might be able to do. While user generated content grows exponentially, consumers will be able to start to make their own movies, creating massive amounts of data with AI deep profiling your likes and dislikes. Finally, AI will start to make movies for you, personalised by your tastes, created from the data you have produced, personalised for you.

As deep learning continues to improve, we will face a point where we will have the capability to download and upload the human brain – singularity.  Our favourite actors could be resurrected after they have gone – both on-screen body and digitally imaged mind. The same goes for our relatives… we will have created a world where we live forever.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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