Deloitte says wearable tech is going to be a major trend this year… I know, we all knew that. If you have seen any kind of tech news this year or perchance been to CES you should already know this as well. While that is all well and good, we here are more interested in video, and so I want to look at what wearable tech means for the online video industry. So strap on your two-way wrist TV and get your decoder rings ready.
So in regards to the Deloitte predictions, they feel that smart glasses, fitness bands and watches will total around $3B in 2014, or roughly 10 million units. Connected devices with video streaming that aren't wearable could ready $750B this year. That means consumers could, hypothetically, be always connected and always able to stream (provided net neutrality does not get totally demolished).
The easiest predictions would be to simply say something like, "with a video screen always attached to consumers, video viewing will increase dramatically." However, I think that there's more to it than just that and that the whole online video industry, not just the entertainment aspect of it, will win out. Here's why.
Wearables: Big Business on a Little Video Screen
I am ecstatic that wearable computing has finally taken off. I was thinking that I would need to have a chip implanted in my head and tiny screens burned onto my retinas to get to where we are today. What we have in wearable computing right now is just the beginning and there's no reason that as it all matures it won't also come down in price and go up in market share. Personally, I absolutely hate talking on the phone, but if my phone were on my wrist and was actually a two-way streaming video device, I would be all in with that and might even answer a phone call from my mother, though it would probably not be all that exciting.
But communication is only one of the ways that video is going to reach these devices. Entertainment is certainly going to be right there as well. What else is someone going to do with an always-connected video screen strapped to their wrist? The so-called smart glasses might make you look more like a Borg than a Bohemian right now but mark my words, when they even out the form factors and are better able to hide the electronics, you won't know if someone is really staring into your eyes, or catching up on the latest season of Downton Abbey.
Aside from those extremely logical uses for wearable video screens I can foresee some others as well. For example, I envision someone standing in an IKEA staring at their wrist watching an unboxing and assembly video for a piece of furniture, to determine if they want to purchase that particular piece or go with something pre-assembled. I can see someone watching a cooking video in the grocery store in order to choose the correct type of apple for the perfect apple pie.
How about someone hunched over an abandoned backpack, sweat dripping from their brow as they nervously decide which wire to cut to disarm a bomb. Alright, that's more Bruce Willis territory than real life. How about real-time two-way citizen reporting right from your glasses, or wrist. With all the civil unrest of late the wearable video screen could become the biggest grassroots weapon ever.
A doctor won't have to come to your house to make a house call, they will be able to do it via your video playing, two-way video streaming medical bracelet which sends the doctor your vitals and gives them the ability to see your symptoms first hand. It also means you won't have to get out of bed to get that doctor's note in order to call in sick to work anymore.
In the near future, every court date might involve submitting video footage captured during a particular event, like being witness to a crime or a car accident.
Privacy Cottage Industry
All of this could also lead to a major boom in the privacy and security cottage industry in regards to being recognized on video. Cameras may soon be capturing all the action of everyone's life whether they like it or not. The majority of that may also be able to be subpoenaed for criminal or civil investigations and used as evidence. You may even now be inadvertently captured in video recordings as you simply walk down the street, grab a cup of coffee or a burger or stand in line somewhere. Eventually, something is going to happen to make people angry.
Want to block your face out from video recording? There will be a product to do that whether the video recording is done in infrared, nightvision, visible light or whatever. It will only require just enough so that a positive ID is impossible.
Health insurance premiums are a big thing right now as well. Who's to say that one day they won't be decided based on how many times you are seen stuffing a McDonald's burger into your face while puffing on a cigarette with a six-pack of PBR under your arm. If that becomes the norm you will definitely want to be able to obscure your identity in an easy, yet visibly undetectable manner. You don't want to look like a Borg while attempting to fight assimilation, you simply want to not be seen at all in a particular sense.
Blocking your face from unwanted video recording is going to be just the beginning for this industry which will find numerous other niches to fit itself into so that you can better protect yourself from tech being misused by corporations or bad governments.
The Online Video Viewing Trends
Even though I do not put a huge amount of faith in the video viewing numbers that comScore puts out (because of their view definition obviously), it certainly shows that both video viewing and video advertising are growing these days. Even if you cut the numbers in half it means 26 billion videos were viewed and 35 billion ads were seen. Millennials love mobile devices, especially smartphones and tablets. The new generation will be born without cords, not umbilical, but cable. They won't ever pay for terrestrial or satellite TV service and will instead consume all of their live TV via streaming. All of this means an ever-increasing use of online video in all its myriad forms – entertainment, advertising, marketing, education, information, etc.
This is the world that we are heading toward. Granted, the majority of the over-55 demographic might not be on board with all this new-fangled tech and video with the OTT whozits and the VOD whatzits, but that's not to say that some of them are. Plus, most of that demographic have immediate family in the demographics that are on board with all this and while it might not be that the older generations start wearing all manner of tech, as time passes there will be more and more people doing so and utilizing the power it brings.
For the online video industry, it means that video could become a very big portion of everyday life in the near future for the majority of the population. The wearable video screens could bring with them a great deal of innovative services, technologies and uses, like some that I mentioned above. It will all need to be balanced with consumer privacy and security and that will bring with it even more business in and out of the online video industry. So keep calling Dick Tracy, he should be able to respond very soon.