Will 2019 Be the Year of Voice?

Trends and Misses at NAB 2019

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At BroadView Software, we pride ourselves on being the most trusted, industry-leading, media management solutions tech firm. For over 20 years we have been proud participants at NAB, the world’s largest broadcast show. Along with our regular dispatches ahead of NAB, BroadView Software’s Founder and CEO, Michael Atkin, has been known to get tapped for his thoughts and expertise on where the industry is headed, and what he sees as the hits and misses to expect at the show; what he thinks will be the top broadcast tech trends that will emerge, and what he anticipates will be the most talked about topics at the convention.

Last year, Atkin predicted that the talk of the floor would be around the Convergence of Content. This year, he sees a shift to the ‘Connection of Voice’, through increasing demand for AI and voice recognition, which supports the functionality of AI. That, along with unstoppable emergence of 5G, he predicts that we will see unprecedented and rapid change to the communication and connectivity landscape, globally.

Atkin sees three trends emerging at NAB 2019 – Voice, AI and 5G- along with two trends that need to be put to bed, and for more than the night. These are the conversations that you’ll want to lean into around the watercooler, and perhaps, provide your own insights on - the hits and the overhyped:

1. The rise of Voice: Star Trek wasn’t too far off with their voice-activated tools. With the infiltration of Alexa, Siri and the like, we are now more connected than ever to our homes, work, families and life, all with the simple command starting with “Hey…”. While we’re not quite ready for Scotty to beam us up out of our homes, voice technology is becoming so pervasive that we’re just at the tip of what’s to come in the form of new products and applications. We already talk to our televisions, refrigerators, cars, and soon, will be able to directly spe8K our commands to computer programs. It will only be a matter of time before voice propagates in the broadcast management world. Soon, traffic and programming software users will be logging in and out, editing an episode synopsis, or give simple ‘Go to…’ commands, using the power of their voice. Just don’t expect studio cameras to be voice activated...yet.

2. Behind every good voice, is good AI: The connection of voice and AI is becoming ubiquitous. We often forget that there is a powerful AI engine behind voice technology and with increasing use, it keeps getting better and better.

3. The Push to 5G: Many people have a misconception of what 5G is – people think it’s a progression from 3G or 4G, but it’s not. 5G is a complete rewrite of the whole world of connectivity, and will change the paradigm for how we consume content. No longer will we have the dilemma of data usage and overages, demand on and for data, and connectivity issues; those will be a thing of the past. There will be a host of companies who will change the way they work because they won’t have a single wire coming into their offices to get connectivity into their environment, because 5G will displace how we connect at home, in office or throughout the world. So, that begs the question: will we even need wired infrastructure in the near future, and further, will we need a cable provider or telecom company to provide what we now understand as connectivity? One can only surmise that accessibility will lead to the democratization of access: access to talent, intelligence and commerce globally. If you can have nearly unlimited access and uninterrupted connectivity from anywhere, what’s to prevent any enterprise from any country, competing on the global marketplace? India, for example, has a huge ‘last mile problem’ – 5G technologies will eliminate the need for any kind of wired infrastructure. It completely changes the ‘last mile’ and in fact m8Kes the last mile even longer. In our heavily-industrialized and heavily-wired ‘world’ in North America, it won’t likely m8Ke as huge a statement but in those remote, underserved, impoverished or less industrialized communities and cities, it’s going to create a massive shift in their ability to work, create and compete.

Moving into the overhyped category:

1. VR bites: They’ve been hyping VR for years but it’s stalled, in my opinion, because there just isn’t a compelling enough reason for consumers to upgrade for it. Sure, we’ll see lots of shiny new monitors and hardware on the floor, but who’s buying? One of the best examples is 3DTV. It was all the rage 5 years ago, and the next big thing after HDTV. But it didn’t live up to the hype, and consumer and broadcaster interest petered out fairly quickly. When broadcasters first moved from SD to HD there were capital investments that had to be made - cameras, switchers, monitors, home TV’s, etc. Then manufacturers moved to create a demand for a new product, to reinvigorate their sales cycle. They were trapped by their own success - HDTV was better than good, it was great, and the addition of 3D, while cool, wasn’t worth the expense. People already had made substantial investments in HDTV, getting them to reinvest in a new product, which would show no meaningful improvement in their day-to-day viewing experience, and works best in a specialized environment, failed to drive mass market adoption of the technology, and broadcasters caught on to that, with few investing in the technology to produce such highly-specialized programming for viewers to even experience.

2. Do you want your TV rolled or flattened? Further to the conversation around VR, manufacturers are now pushing into the 8K realm of televisions - flat, thin, and even, roll-up monitors – great technology but most consumers already have a high quality, high performance TV, and the need to upgrade from those is challenging to market. The reality is, moving to 8K or 4K doesn’t improve viewer experience, 2K is what the most the majority of consumers can receive through their cable or satellite provider anyway, even if they purport to live in a Gig City. Much like 3D, few consumers can actually watch a program in 4K since most shows are not being produced in 4K. Most consumers report having 40-70 inch TVs, in at least 2K, so the vast majority of people have high-quality, high-performance televisions, and the need to upgrade those is a challenging proposition. What about Smart TV’s you ask? The Smart TV proposition is one that is going to prove unnecessary very quickly with the latest generation of cable boxes, which are essentially integrated into a ‘Smart Box’, a set top box that a consumer can spe8K directly to, allowing them to toggle between apps and services using AI and voice technology we referred to earlier. And these boxes do it better than the Smart TVs can because they are fully cohesive and integrated into one product, not a bunch of standalone remotes and apps. Telcos and cable companies are leveraging their ability to provide an all-in-one solution, even including streaming services. Look for cable companies to be presenting their set top boxes as a feature during the show.

When asked what conversation he’s most excited to discuss at NAB this year, Atkin enthusiastically exclaims, “5G! Because it’s going to completely change the dynamic for how we interact with our world. Right now, we have various degrees of connectivity, and we’re moving to a world where connectivity and communication will be pervasive. We now reach people on a personal communicator, even in the most remote corners of the world. We’re going to look back five years from now and we’re going to be amazed by how primitive what we thought advanced technology and connectivity is today; it’s going to change the paradigm around so many different aspects of our lives and how we do things. And, in terms of the delivery of content, because it needs substantial bandwidth, we’ll see the greatest shift in that world, because of 5G.”

If you want to share your thoughts on any of these topics, of if you want to explore how BroadView’s On Demand Software can improve your broadcast operations, feel free to book an appointment here.

For more information and to read the full transcript of CEO Michael Atkin’s thoughts on these topics, please visit: www.broadviewsoftware.com

You are invited to visit Michael Atkin and the BroadView team at the show, booth N5218

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