A Shift is Upon Us

While the world of content creation and distribution is going through a major upheaval, it is the way we interact with it that will signify the most profound change in the coming years.

If the proposed Comcast – Time Warner Cable or the AT&T – DirecTV deals are approved or if what may occur between Sprint and T-Mobile moves forward, it will affect the way we access and store content in the cloud.

Voice and gesture technologies are going to continue to grow in their ease of use and reliability as the world moves closer and closer to a ubiquitous internet of things.  Eyewear with built-in features that enable all manner of interactions with the world is on the horizon for broader consumer use.

It was not that long ago that the movie Minority Report presented images of moving content on the screen via hand gestures.  And it is indelible in many of our minds that the images of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey “talking” seemed to be a fantasy, which it was at the time.

Today, both of those technologies are commonplace in our smartphones and tablets, with young children swiping across the display screen to get to another page.

Voice recognition is playing a larger role in our device interface, too, with our ability to send commands verbally, whether to change the channel on the TV or to send a text message, a task that many of us can accomplish faster speaking than using our thumbs on the virtual keyboard.  Similarly, the ability to decode from text to voice is becoming increasingly popular.

There are a lot of viable uses for the technology all across the media and entertainment industry.

For example, through eye tracking technology, advertisers will have the ability to know which ads online or on TV are viewed.  This can be very helpful for them to understand the customers and potentially for the network to deliver customized ads to us that we just may want to watch.

Most people are familiar on some level with Google Glass, if for no other reason than the many news reports that have been written about them.  Indeed, there are a broad range of applications for Google Glass, which rely on both use of our eyes and voice recognition to control the device.

Having a built-in camera in a laptop to track your eyes enables you to double click (wink or double wink) on a link or to access a file. The ability to dictate text or generally control the device through built-in voice recognition is available to the consumer.  I suspect that there are not many who are aware of or who are using these features as yet, but in the not too distant future, that will change.

Those same features, eye tracking and voice recognition, are going to be more prevalent in our next generation automobiles.  Imagine eye tracking combined with facial recognition to monitor the driver for drowsiness, then having the system say, “wake up, Dave” and then safely stopping the auto through its built-in sensors.  When the fully autonomous car is ubiquitous, it will be ok to nap on the way home from a busy work day, but until that happens, the tech will protect us.

We are aware of tests that used the technology to track digital and traditional signage in retail environments, reminiscent in part, too, to Minority Report where the Tom Cruise character was greeted as he entered the store.

That said, the overall digital “revolution” is over.  Digital is now the norm.  Companies are coming to market with products and services that in many cases build upon that which has been developed in the past.  Many are quite unique, often drawing upon an entrepreneurial spirit of innovation.  Some are replays of what was attempted in the past, but for various reasons did not make it then to the proverbial prime time.

The innovation that is coming to market will be driven initially by smart startups.  Those that succeed will have the right combination of products and services being developed and brought to market, driven by the right management team with well thought out strategies and tactics, including their sense of the market and the competition.

Many will succeed as a result.  Many will fail if they do not have the foregoing in place or if the marketplace is just not ready.  Keep your eye on those going out of business as their ideas may just surface again in the same or similar way in 5, 10 or 20 years.

For many of these services and products, we as future thinkers know that they will be brought to market, just not yet.  We have seen that many times.  It has happened and will happen again.

Where will this technological shift end?  It will not.  It will continue into perpetuity and it will shift again and again. Count on it.

About the Author: Marty Shindler

The Shindler Perspective is a husband & wife consulting practice focused on the entertainment and entertainment technology value chain as well as the many businesses and industry segments that intersect with the points on the chain. The practice consults on business, economic, strategic, organizational and operational matters in a diverse, but interconnected set of market segments and companies with deep insights on the trends in the marketplace.