Mandar Kamat, Head of Innovations, Hungama Digital Services

These are interesting times for businesses in video and voice space. With technologies moving at an agile pace we are in for a terrific 2018. However, careful attention and meticulous planning will be imperative for companies to get the first mover advantage. As they say, technology acts as an enabler but identifying the right combination will play an important role in building the ecosystem. Almost all tech giants are trying to identify the need-gap and working toward formulating solutions that can drive usage and reach of engaging content.

Voice Usage on the Rise

2017 has clearly been the year dominated by voice technologies. With more than 20 million Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo devices sold in the US market, Amazon has surpassed all the initial hurdles in this space. By effectively building their developer community, providing infrastructure support for server-less computing as well as lending support to IOT products, Amazon has proven their leadership in the voice ecosystem. However, Google Assistant is not far behind with integration across a range of interesting products such as Lenovo 10-inch smart display. AI assistants are definitely going to see rampant growth in 2018.

Data Efficacy with 4G

Data consumption has been rising YoY with technologies effectively catering to massive demand. Edge technologies have clearly achieved seamless streaming to remote locations across the world. There are no surprises how localized content has started trending on google with 4G reaching mass audience in India. High quality live streaming is no more a pipe dream with adoption of highly efficient video coding standards/.h265. Cloud technology has played an important role in providing robust architecture and scalable solutions for video delivery.

VR Adoption

With products such as HTC Vive Pro and Occulus Rift there is growing demand for original 360 content. Intel recently announced a different perspective by enabling volumetric VR using their TrueVR technology. Next-generation VR headsets are on the rise with HTC launching their Vive pro. Google Daydream has evolved as a promising platform for mid-level VR experiences which can reach mass audience. Apple AR kit has already shown effective surface/edge detection capabilities for creating innovative mixed reality applications.

Machine Learning and Data Intelligence

Machine learning technologies have proliferated from enabling auto cataloging of metadata to discovering appropriate content by inferring crowd-sourced datasets. With advancements in AI technology user data can be further analyzed to identify peak times, viewing pattern, attention span, keywords which can be further used to predict consumption patterns. Platforms, such as Clarifai, Google AutoMl, Microsoft Cognitive Services, are already providing turnkey solution for building recognition models.

Social Driven Content

Snackable content on social media channels is gaining a lot of traction. We recently tasted success for our #DoorsofIndia campaign for Tata Pravesh by seeding rich engaging video content driven by social media influencers. Influencers travelled the length and breadth of the country and made customers part of the journey by exploring stories of curated door entrances around India. This campaign received an overall reach of 36.3 million which clearly shows the potential of social mediums. Facebook Watch platform has been quietly pushing the envelope by taking advantage of data points for personalizing content to their audience. Social media channels are moving toward TV style programming with added advantage of providing contextual content based on user interests.

RAI clearance for inflight access and mobile connectivity will clear the path for providing on-demand access on inflight entertainment systems. Mobile technologies continue to play a key role for OTT players by establishing itself as a mainstream viewing option. Ericsson has predicted that by 2022 mobile video will account for 75 percent of mobile traffic. To summarize companies that adopt and explore technologies with an agile approach are bound to reap benefits in the coming times.