Cloud Video Trends to Watch in 2017

In 2016, we witnessed the explosion of global video across industries, with no signs of this growth slowing anytime soon. IBM estimates cloud-based video will be a $105 billion market opportunity by 2019. As video-streaming services have expanded and improved, cloud-based video has evolved into a necessary feature of any successful business for reaching internal and external audiences.

As this expansion continues, a few key trends are likely to emerge in 2017. The foundation of each of these trends is data — not just tapping into it, but owning it, and diversifying the data sources used for business decisions. The players that unlock data about user behavior on their platform and apply analytics to gain new, intelligent insights will thrive in the competitive market.

In the media and entertainment spheres, 2016 was the year content owners went direct to consumer. This coming year will be a race to enhance those services and improve the consumer experience to retain and grow audiences. In the enterprise space, 2017 will be the year that more businesses view themselves as content-providers and begin to adopt video as a core tool for communicating with employees, customers and business partners.

As we enter this pivotal time in the video industry, the top cloud video trends to watch for 2017 include the following.

Mergers will change the landscape of the streaming video industry: As the streaming video market becomes increasingly crowded, consolidation within the industry is inevitable. In 2017, we will see more mergers and acquisitions for OTT services as some content-providers combine and others fall out.

Skinny bundles will get smarter: In 2016, skinny bundles were introduced to the television market. Next year, we’re sure to see their continued rise in popularity. Skinny bundles will be created using analytics that provide the right number of channels, the right combination of content, and the right price points for each individual consumer.

Artificial intelligence will play an integral role in the media & entertainment field: As more companies apply data and analytics to video and cognitive capabilities continue to grow, artificial intelligence will begin to play a role in media and entertainment. AI will be used to dramatically streamline editing processes and eventually produce an entire episode of television.

Cognitive capabilities in the cloud will shape product development: Focus groups will expand to include the use of audience-gauging cognitive technology. As companies apply analytic and cognitive technologies to the cloud, they’ll be able to gauge customer reaction of livestreamed product announcements in real time. These companies will tap into this smart data to adjust their products before they even hit the market.

Virtual reality will become real for the enterprise: In 2017, companies will utilize VR to take clients, employees, and business partners to places that would be difficult, if not impossible, without this technology. As these products permeate into the everyday lives of consumers, more mainstream business will explore these new opportunities to engage with and educate customers in more personal ways than ever before.

As we enter the new year, business leaders should prepare for these trends by examining their video strategy and determining whether they’re taking full advantage of data and analytics for all of their video needs. The cloud has opened new opportunities for content providers to reach viewers anywhere and anytime, through almost any device. To win over competitors, businesses will need to apply new technologies to the cloud to tap into the power of advanced data and analytics to gain actionable insights about video-viewing behavior.

David Mowrey is vice president of strategic planning at IBM Cloud Video.