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CES: the top trends and streaming

Richard Halton, CEO of Connected TV platform YouView, offers his verdict on what tech trends unveiled at CES mean for digital streaming in 2018.

Richard HaltonThe year’s biggest electronics show saw both the expected and the unpredictable, including a giant blackout.

Technology is maturing and it seems harder than ever for big brands to ‘wow’ with their latest devices. The annual conference is well-known as a showcase for the extraordinary, with innovation occurring in real time through audience participation at the show. TV shone through as one of the main attractions at this year’s Expo, along with connected platforms and more evolved broadcasting formats such as HDR10+. Samsung and LG garnered the most impact in the opening days via launches of their latest cutting-edge TV systems including the impressive 12ft wide ‘The Wall’, a 5G network-based system poured Game of Thrones out in eye-watering 4K UHD resolution and the first ever consumer ready 8K offerings were also unveiled.

While tech firm Kino-mo showcased their latest hologram tech, which journalists are saying has ‘immense potential for advertising’, the big buzz came from the fierce competition between Amazon and Google to become our virtual butlers at home. Rumour has it that Google forked out up to $50million on display advertising in the bid to win the voice control war. With TV systems set to spread throughout our domestic settings and an everything-connected-everywhere approach through AI assistants, video and on-demand services are of course likely to see a massive boost in both engagement and audiences alike.

It was evident that the lag between unveiling and the practical use of voice control is now closing with these eye-catching new developments. Voice assistants and connected appliances are nothing new, but it is fascinating to see how they are evolving and could fit in with our lives.

With a new generation of smart display devices on the way from third party manufacturers the stage is set for personalised content truly everywhere. You might for instance wake up in the morning with last night’s Question Time available to play through a display in your bathroom before work, or be watching Jamie and Nigella’s latest inspirations in real time as you cook their creations on a smart device mounted above your cooking range. All of this and more has been promised at this year’s show. 

As we look to the future, its all good news for consumers who stand to see better content than ever before through their connected devices, tailored to their taste through intelligent use of data. It’s clear that alongside the investments made in TV technology, this is matched by investment in content. Fresh new content is again good news for consumers, a creative field of battle well-trodden by the BBC and ITV Studios as well as the UK independent production sector.

This all contributes to a major boost to the global creative economy. But it is becoming more and more apparent that this isn’t simply a fight for attention, TV subs or even viewing share, the old metrics of broadcast TV – it is a campaign for the retail delivery relationship, the household data set. Put in cold numbers, it’s a war worth $4,300bn, the value ascribed recently by Accenture to the value of the global IoT market in 2024, dwarfing the mere $85bn expected to be generated by the connected home market in 2020 which broadly compares to the scale of the entire UK Creative Economy today.

I believe YouView, as well as the other friendly platforms in the UK, can help all sides navigate as the world of media turns on its axis in 2018.