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Video in 2018: Key Predictions

Aditya Kishore

Tis the season to be jolly. I'm told.

In my experience, the end of the year seems to be more about making predictions for the coming year, rather than being jolly. Articles predicting things are everywhere. In fact, anyone who is anyone is making predictions right now. Some predictions are jolly, to be fair. But many, if not most, are far from it.

Here's our attempt at making some jolly predictions for the video industry, in the spirit of the season. (Full disclosure: very little time was spent thinking these through.)

1. AI will be used in conjunction with everything
AI will replace cloud as the most widely used (and misused) term in the video business in 2018. Everything will have AI. Marketing will insist that no product or solution can be launched without the prefix AI. This will spread from the enterprise sector, which is originally responsible for this malaise. As my colleague, Mitch Wagner from Enterprise Cloud News predicted, "The 'machine learning' label will be applied to everything, including socks and burritos." (See Cloudy With a Chance of Automation: Telecom in 2018.)

In 2018, burrito AI will replace basic but long-standing burrito-related intelligence, i.e., avoid being in a closed space with someone who has just eaten one.

2. HEVC will rule. But…
HEVC will become widely adopted in 2018, now that Apple has decided to support it. And yet, with multiple patent pools and costs continuing to dog the format, VP9 will continue to pop up infuriatingly, much like the gopher in Caddyshack.

For you young millennials who didn't get the reference, here's a handy synopsis.

3. People will (exasperatingly!) still watch TV
Analysts will continue to pronounce every quarter as the "worst-ever in history" for cord-cutting. Speakers at conferences will airily exclaim "No one watches TV anymore." Subscriber counts will continue to drop and operators will launch more skinny bundles.

And through it all, the majority of consumers will sit in front of their TV sets and stubbornly keep watching TV.

Vendors of streaming technology will dismiss these people as a near-extinct demographic aberration, even though they comprise three-quarters of the public.

4. Net neutrality debates will drive tranquilizer sales
Rage over the repeal of net neutrality in the US will lead to extensive debate, legal challenges, legislative motions and marches. People will get angry, more angry, still angrier and then just flat out lose it. ISPs will move carefully, terrified they will offend consumers. But it won't matter: Consumers across demographic segments will hate them even more, no matter what they do.

At this time, we can confidently predict at least 27.4 people will become so apoplectic with rage in 2018, they will need to be hospitalized. Other issues will also contribute, but none can match the rage-inducing magnificence of the net neutrality debate. (See TV & Video: 4 Issues Likely to Cause Apoplectic Fits in 2018.)

5. Zuckerberg will say 'community-oriented' 4,372 times in 365 days

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will use the term "community-oriented" to describe Facebook's video service Watch more than 4,000 times during the course of 2018.

He will insist that Watch is a completely different experience to existing pay-TV even as he outbids Sky for the English Premier League rights and DirecTV for the NFL. When questioned, he will manfully attempt to insist that Watch coverage of sports is totally different from other providers because it brings people together who care about the same things, much like churches and Little League.

Here's a neat little video demonstrating the community-oriented activities of football fans. Yes -- just like church and Little League.

6. Vestibulo-ocular reflex will become an infuriatingly overused buzzword

Incredibly exciting Immersive Media Experiences (IME) will keep encouraging people to try virtual reality. While the technology is not quite mature yet, technology providers will not need to set up complex monitoring tools to evaluate performance. Consumers' tendency to vomit right after a bad experience will reliably guide the development of an industry roadmap.

Attempts to resolve latency issues at the root of VR nausea will result in highly irresponsible usage of the term Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex at every opportunity. It will also be used by incredibly optimistic industry nerds in bars, where it will trigger the same reflex that 15 ms + latency does for VR users.

Ah yes. Good times, good times.

— Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation

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