By 2021, video is expected to comprise 82 percent of all global internet traffic. For the web audience, expectations of high-quality, personalized content are rising, too.
Many streaming video companies have been looking to artificial intelligence to meet the changing needs of their audience. And, according to David Kulczar, senior product manager of Watson Video Analytics at IBM Watson Media, that trend will continue in a big way, shaping streaming video trends 2018.
We sat down with Kulczar to get his predictions for how widespread the industry’s adoption of cutting-edge technologies will be in the coming year.
Artificial intelligence has been a major point of conversation in 2017. What kind of advances do you see coming to the technology in 2018?
A lot has already been done—now it’s just a matter of building [AI] in such a way where we can take it quickly to many different customers across many different industries. So, for instance, highlight clipping is something that we’ve done in practice very successfully with the US Open and the Masters. Now we need to build that in a much more reproducible way where we can take it across every type of sport and even other industries. I think you’ll start to see that in the next couple of months.
Will virtual and augmented reality come more to the forefront in 2018?
Virtual reality… is going to take a little while to mature. What you’re going to start seeing first is augmented reality and how artificial intelligence can help with augmented-reality-type systems. That’s much more near-term, much more real and, honestly, much more useful to consumers and to businesses. Most of it is things like wearables, things that could be embedded in your shirt, into your glasses, into your car, where you’re getting live pop-up information as you do something.
There’s a lot of data out there now that shows high-quality video is becoming more and more important for video providers. Do you see that coming to a head in 2018?
Thousands and thousands of people – millions, honestly – are producing their own content and the quality is going to vary massively. IBM Watson technologies have reached the point where the quality of the video doesn’t matter that much. Our systems have the ability to handle extremely large, high quality video as well as video from someone’s iPhone. Watson does a really good job of handling low-quality video in a very accurate way.
Sounds like the industry as a whole is gathering a lot more data. What kind of impact do you see that having in the next year?
Data really is the key. As we get more and more information, two things are going to happen: We’re going to unlock loads of new use cases, and we are going to be able to handle the ones we already do better.
With the US Open, prior to last year, they were not able to do highlight clipping on every court. Instead, they would pick the three or four most key matches at any given time and focus on those. But this year, with automated artificial intelligence solutions, they were able to do that across every active match on up to 17 courts. The system’s matured enough to allow them to do that in an accurate enough way where they don’t need the manual intervention they needed in the past.
What other challenges stand in the way of the industry in 2018?
The challenge has always been making these systems talk together, building all the integration adapters on the technology side and then overcoming all of the digital rights on the content side. Coming up with some sort of digital rights strategy that allows us to really talk across all the systems that we need to improve is the key challenge as I see it.
That comes with a lot of other struggles on the privacy side. And that’s more of a policy struggle as opposed to a technology struggle.
Video has evolved to a tremendous degree to date, being accessible virtually everywhere with the advent of mobile devices and rise in premium content. Advancements will continue, though. Cognitive machine learning and more intelligently using data related to video will shape where streaming will go in 2018 and beyond.
Looking to get an edge going into the new year? If so, check out this State of Streaming 2017 report. It cites the most common challenges consumers list when streaming content and detailed aspects like what viewers think about recommendations being given to them by their streaming service.