NAB 2019: Future Trends Wrap Up

Who can believe that NAB Show is over for another year already, and what a show it was! We heard so much great conversations from our industry leaders about all the hot topics of the year, from 8K to Artificial Intelligence and 5G – it’s incredibly exciting to see where the industry is heading. For those not in Vegas last week, you may have missed some of these insights, so we’ve wrapped up a few of the hot trends for you.

5G is Coming

5G was a huge topic at the show, with there even being a ‘Destination 5G Theatre’ which hosted various sessions discussing the impact of 5G in sports streaming, the future of 5G and much more. Although not readily available, Chris Levendos from Crown Castle projected that we’re three to five years away from a wide rollout. And it was suggested by Taher Behbehani, Senior Vice President at Samsung that 5G is ‘about 20 times faster than 4G’. I don’t know about you, but we’re ready for that!

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence has been a buzz word in the industry for a while now, and this was no different at the show this year. Despite it being such a big topic of interest, there still seems to be very few companies who are making AI a reality, with use cases to prove success.

There were many panels focused on Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, and these had some of the larger audiences. It seems that everyone is interested in learning more, but lack of understanding is proving to be a challenge. Knowing where to start is difficult for operators, due to problems with clean, reliable data and the difficulty in hiring data scientists.

Content, Content and even more Content

It’s no surprise that content was a big discussion at the show as it is still a huge focus in the media industry, from having the right content to drive eyeballs to how to use technology to efficiently deliver multi-platform. Investment in content is at an all-time high – the FAANGS (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) increased their investment in content by 40% collectively in the last year and Netflix is spending 15 billion dollars alone.

There seems to be mixed messages though, with some having the opinion that “We can’t create enough content for the need of the consumer” – Jim Bennett, SVP Technical Operations, Crown Media and others feeling that “There’s so much content, there’s got to be limitation” – Lionel Bentolila, CEO, Aldea Solutions. One’s thing for certain though, with so many a la carte subscriptions and direct to consumer offerings, it’s soon going to get to the point where customers just won’t be able to afford everything they want.

Data and Analytics

With so much talk about competition and the importance of keeping customers happy, it was interesting to see the lack of discussions around consumers that were data lead, instead of content lead. In a recent study of US operators we carried out, 100% believe they are not making the most of subscriber data to engage customers – and with competition increasingly rapidly, customer experience will be what really makes providers stand out from the crowd. There is so much focus on getting the best content, that it seems that operators are failing to use data across the full consumer journey to deliver an exceptional customer experience at each touch point. “Data is King, not Content” Diane Strutner, CEO, Datazoom

NAB Product of the Year Awards

NAB launched its first ‘Product of the Year’ award ceremony, with 16 categories recognising innovative technologies in areas like AI/ML, hardware infrastructure, streaming and audio. Winners included Microsoft, Adobe, Black Magic Design and Paywizard. We were lucky to receive a Product of the Year award under the AI/ML category for Paywizard Singula, our AI Driven Subscriber Intelligence platform.

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