As the year draws to an end, we’re looking ahead to what 2017 has in store for us, our customers, and the wider industry. With the industry evolving at a faster rate with each passing year, I’ve been thinking about the trends that will affect us all, and what we can expect to see at the 2017 NAB Show in April. In no particular order, here are a few of the top trends that will dominate 2017:
Media organizations are looking to the cloud to future proof their technology investments and give them the operational efficiency they need in their workflows, processes and staffing resources. Many of our customers are using our cloud solutions to give geographically dispersed production teams secure access to media assets, enabling them to collaborate efficiently from anywhere in the world. While we’ve seen tremendous growth in cloud deployments this year, we expect that to increase exponentially in 2017 as we turn on more of our applications in the cloud.
With rapid technological advancements making it feasible to pass professional audio and video signals over standard IP networks, in 2017 we expect to see an acceleration in the industry’s transition from specialized legacy technologies like coaxial cable and baseband SDI to a unified environment for file-based and live media workflows based on IP. IP workflows give media companies greater flexibility and agility, while lowering costs and paving the way for the adoption of new formats like UHD.
3. Multiplatform Distribution
The exponential growth in distribution platforms opens up huge opportunities to reach audiences almost anywhere in the world – whether through OTT services or the myriad of social media platforms. In 2017, we’ll see media organizations aggressively getting into multiplatform distribution—finding low-cost ways to reach audiences through social, digital and OTT—while also maximizing their heritage businesses.
I’ll be kicking off 2017 at the year’s biggest technology show, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas at the beginning of January. Attracting some 170,000 attendees, CES sees all the major consumer electronics manufacturers showcasing their latest products and technologies. With everything from 4K and 8K TV screens and the newest mobile devices, to drones and VR applications, the show is a good indicator of the consumer technology trends that will affect the media technology industry.
With 4K TVs becoming more readily available and prices coming down, and Netflix and Amazon producing 4K content, we’re on the threshold of 4K—and HDR—taking hold. Media organizations don’t want to waste time and money replacing their infrastructure as resolutions increase, so technologies that enable them to deliver richer, sharper content without over-investing in new solutions will prove popular in 2017.
5. VR and AR
Increased competition for viewers means media companies need tools that enable the creation of engaging and immersive content and more impactful storytelling. At this year’s biggest sporting events—including Rio 2016 and EURO 2016—we saw how virtual and augmented reality, and the way in which they’re deployed in production, have truly evolved. Broadcasters now have a much better idea of where it makes sense to use these storytelling tools, how to use them, and the kinds of elements that work. Combined with greater computing power, the result is more realistic, immersive graphics that are helping to boost engagement and ratings. 2016 gave us just a taste of the immersive VR and AR experiences we can expect in 2017.
6. Content Protection and System Security
While not as sexy as things like VR and 4K, another big trend for 2017 will be content protection and system security. With cybersecurity breaches being reported on an almost daily basis, content protection and system security are more critical than ever, particularly as the industry embraces open platforms and cloud-based workflows. Media organizations need to adopt a tiered content protection and security model with multiple layers of defense that can isolate and protect content or systems should one of the defense perimeters be compromised. They also need to have comprehensive disaster recovery plans in place to mitigate business disruption and financial losses in the event of a breach.
7. Industry Consolidation
The media technology industry is highly fragmented relative to other markets like financial technology. For example, the top 10 vendors in fin tech—a $64 billion industry—account for 50% of the market’s revenue. In the $27 billion media tech industry, they account for just 15-20% of revenue. It’s obvious that more consolidation needs to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a few companies—particularly those touting traditional hardware-based proprietary technology—missing from the 2017 NAB Show.
These are just a few of the trends that spring to mind when I think about what will shape our collective future in 2017. But I’m looking forward to hearing what our customer community thinks when we announce the results of the inaugural ACA Vote. We’re giving Avid Customer Association (ACA) members the unique and unprecedented opportunity to directly influence Avid’s future technology, products and service offerings to help us better address the community’s requirements. Everyone from independent professionals to the largest media companies has the opportunity to make their voices heard on what they see as their most important requirements to address the pressing needs facing the industry.
We’ll be announcing the results and their impact on our future direction at Avid Connect on April 22 in Las Vegas. The first round of voting has already started, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to join the 7,000-strong ACA community and participate in the vote. You’ll be joining a community of inspirational and award-winning thought leaders, innovators and storytellers that are shaping our collective future.
Whatever the results, Avid is committed to giving our preeminent customer community the most comprehensive tools and workflow solutions they need to create, distribute and optimize media on the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform for media, with the most flexible deployment models, licensing options and commercial structures.
Here’s to a bright future for our industry in 2017!