TiVo: Voice search to go mainstream in 2017

Charles Dawes, Senior Director of International Marketing at TiVo, has outlined his industry predictions for 2017. Next year, TV consumption is expected to shift, while advancements in technologies will significantly alter the way consumers access content across a multitude of different devices. Enhanced search and recommendation experiences, new technologies improving content deliver and the development of AI are all trends that TiVo expect to take off over the next 12 months.

  1. The year voice search becomes an everyday occurrence

In 2016 we saw voice search become a reality and as we move to 2017, speech based interaction will become more prevalent than ever before.  This year, Amazon Echo, the voice-activated smart home speaker, became increasingly popular and we officially saw UK households begin speaking to Alexa to organise their lives, homes and entertainment choices. With rapidly growing features and functions available to Amazon Echo owners and the UK’s features catching up with the US, we will see it fast becoming part of your everyday routine.

These new voice technologies will not only be from Amazon. Google have already launched their Google Home smart speaker in the US and during the next twelve months we will see a rise in the number of new conversational interfaces being incorporated into a wide range of devices; including voice enabled remote controls and further smart watch integration. Amazon Echo is just one example of the future of voice technologies and there is no doubt we will see more instances where these new devices can be used to control what is appearing on the television screen as major providers seek to re-simplify the way we discover content.

However, for voice search to be delivered across households and for them to seriously take off, the technologies will need to reflect the mind of the consumer. To do this conversational technologies will need to be powered by robust search capabilities and detailed metadata to enhance the “human understanding” of the machine. The voice technology must be intuitive and flexible and be able to shift in context to reflect how quickly people will switch between subjects and make a number of different requests in a split second. For voice technologies to be able to give users a truly conversational experience and provide fast and accurate results, data must be the number one priority.

  1. Virtual reality: helping shape the future of entertainment

The advancements of virtual reality (VR) have started to help change how we consume media in recent years. Over 2016 we have seen VR technology grow in use, decrease in price and receive more investment. The experience provided by this technology is becoming increasingly sought after. In fact, VR headsets are set to be one of the most popular technology products this Christmas season, with 700,000 headsets predicted to be bought over the Black Friday and Christmas period.

Whilst VR is capable of adding new dimensions to the entertainment industry, there are still limitations to this technology which needs to be addressed in the year ahead, before it can be fully integrated into everyday life. As the delivery of VR is through an individual headset, people are still isolated from one another and are therefore unable to enjoy the experience together. An entertainment experience which brings people together is more sought after, over technology that detaches people. A VR experience which is social and can be shared with friends and family is more appealing to consumers and will make this technology more popular.

Understanding the way consumers work and the type of experience they want will be the key to the success of VR in 2017. Incorporating the use of metadata through interaction to create an understanding of the user’s preferences and a method that allows them to discover the content they want quickly, either by moving their head, giving a voice command or even acknowledging the presence of another will lead to a more seamless integration of the technology and an overall enhanced entertainment and more personalised experience.

  1. Predicting what the consumer wants is key

Consumers are really starting to take centre stage as service providers begin to harness the huge range of data now available to them to provide highly personalised services and really understand customers’ wants and needs when it comes to accessing content. 2016 saw the rise of a new phenomenon called ‘Show Dumping’.

Recent research found that whilst audiences continue to consume significant hours of entertainment content on a daily basis, even the most popular of programming is being left behind, with more than one in three viewers reporting they have ‘given up’ on shows because they became too difficult or costly to watch, a trend called ‘Show Dumping’. Results from the survey indicated that the shows consumers admitted to having ‘dumped’ were most commonly high profile series from top studios or networks, such as HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ and AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’.

This increase in show dumping demonstrates the way audience behaviours are rapidly evolving. The way in which content is discovered and consumed is very different today and it is essential that consumers are provided with predictions and recommendations which are personal to them and are offered a coherent experience across all potential platforms. If they are able to easier search and discover content which is relevant it makes for a much better user experience. In 2017 we expect to see efforts to enhance this experience for consumers, with personalised discovery experiences being driven by better use of data and understanding more about how people are consuming their content.

4.     AI will continue to touch our everyday lives

Whether we are aware of it or not AI touches our everyday lives. AI based systems analyse data and understand customers’ needs and wants to provide personalised experiences. However, in 2017 as companies continue to collect colossal amounts of data, AI will help to increasingly develop an understanding of customer data in real-time to transform the customer experience.

For a company to provide a seamless experience for its customers and enhance their satisfaction, they must use robust data. As companies increasingly collecting more and more data about customers, AI will play a key role in helping organisations to tackle analysing the data and at a much faster rate than humans could ever manage. For companies to stay competitive and to continue to provide their customers with the best possible experience, AI will help them to achieve maximum value from the data. AI will provide them with the ability to analyse and respond to the huge vast amounts of customer data sourced and do this within context and intuitively.

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