How Internet of Things (IoT ) is Redefining the Entertainment Sector

How IoT is Redefining the Entertainment Sector
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In 2006, there were 2 billion estimated IoTInternet of Things” devices. But by 2020, there will be an estimated 200 billion such devices, amounting to approximately 26 smart gadgets per person on the planet, according to Intel. So far, the IoT sector has focused on improving efficiency for businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Healthcare and retail come next. But there’s another multibillion-dollar industry that IoT is poised to fundamentally overhaul—entertainment.

Why IoT is the Most Obvious Next Big Thing for Entertainment

The entertainment industry has an illustrious history benefiting from advancements in technology. The advent of the television, handheld data storage devices like DVDs, and ultimately the internet has changed how we consume entertainment. For the purpose of this article, entertainment refers to movies, TV shows, video games, music, and similar products and services aimed primarily at consumers.

IoT is perfectly poised to become the next groundbreaking technology to transform the entertainment industry. Media companies are already heavily invested in the most-used internet-connected device: the smartphone. In 2015, media businesses spent roughly $47 million on IoT tech. The majority of this spending—nearly 63 percent—was for mobile apps, according to data compiled by Tata Consultancy Services.

It’s expected that the amount of money media businesses spend on IoT would increase in the future, perhaps dramatically. As IoT is heavily incorporated into consumer entertainment products, the media-sector landscape is naturally expected to change as well.

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IoT Streamlines Content Delivery for Entertainment Brands

Ponder for a moment all the changes that have affected how target audiences consume entertainment products. Half a century ago, people went to a cinema to watch movies. In the eighties and nineties, data storage devices like VHS tapes and DVDs brought the cinema to the living room, albeit on a smaller screen.

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With the advent of highspeed internet connections, consumers no longer needed to visit a store to buy a DVD or CD. Consumers can now stream movies, music, TV shows, and even games on a personal device like a laptop or a tablet. IoT makes consuming content even easier, enabling businesses to streamline content delivery directly to the hands of users at the right time and right place.

A company at the forefront of pioneering this type of IoT-enabled entertainment is Amazon. The e-retail giant is investing heavily in its streaming service to go head-to-head with Netflix. Other than spending on creating original content, Amazon is focusing on how content is delivered to its customer base. The company has wasted no time pairing its famous voice-activated AI assistant Alexa with an array of in-house streaming devices.

Alexa is available for subscribers on a number of Amazon IoT devices, including the Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Fire TV stick, Ultimate Ears Bluetooth speaker, and the Fire tablet. Customers can use Alexa to rapidly stream an episode of their favourite TV show on the Fire Tablet. Or else, they can ask Alexa to play an audiobook on the Echo Dot speaker. As a result, Amazon has successfully eliminated traditional barriers to entertainment content delivery. Customers do not have to wait to get access to a movie or a TV show or think long and hard about making a purchase. An Alexa-enabled IoT device completes the purchase process in a fraction of a second.

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Though Amazon is perhaps the most successful example of a business using IoT devices to deliver content, the brand is hardly the only company to do so. With the advent of highly affordable personal smart devices, even small entertainment companies would be able to reach customers on a mass scale with a limited budget.

IoT Makes Personalization Easier for Entertainment Companies

As smartphones give way to voice-activated home speakers, Bluetooth-enabled wearables, and smart fridge screens, personalizing content is becoming easier than ever. Many elements of the media industry now rely heavily on delivering personalized content.

Consider the rise of streaming services. Netflix personalizes everything from targeted ads to the platform’s graphic design. The streaming site customizes artwork seen on movie and TV show pages to optimally engage viewers based on their viewing history. The next step for a brand like Netflix is to adopt IoT devices to target consumers.

Netflix was quick to make the streaming service available on smartphones and tablets when consumers prominently began using these devices rather than desktop computers. Therefore, it’s not far-fetched to speculate that handheld smart devices would be propelling streaming services like Netflix forward in unprecedented ways in the future.

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Entertainment Companies Can Benefit Immensely from IoT-Driven Social Engagement

Social engagement is becoming increasingly more crucial to entertainment. Consumers are no longer just interacting with gadgets; they prefer to use these gadgets to interact with like-minded people. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in the gaming industry.

Gaming was once heavily-focused on single player titles. In the past few years, single-player games have become the outliers, rather than the standard issue. Take for example the iconic gaming title “Tomb Raider,” which was once a staple single-player game, but has quickly become more interactive, involving multiple players.

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IoT presents gaming and other entertainment brands with innovative opportunities to effectively facilitate social engagement of products and to capitalize on the trend. The video game industry was massively overhauled in the last decade as console gaming gave way to mobile gaming. Mobile gaming is highly social since players are able to connect with other players via apps and connections to social media sites. IoT devices are poised to play a similar function but on a grander and speedier scale.

Entertainment companies currently benefit from existing IoT gadgets. But specialty industries like gaming are already making their own. Sifteo interactive gaming cubes, invented by an MIT grad and originally launched in 2011, hinting at what might become possible with content-specific IoT devices. Sifteo combined robotics with interactiveness and packaged it into a tiny, web-connected gadget.

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Final Thoughts

Considering that the entertainment sector has never shied away from adopting new technology in the past, the rise of IoT would bring forth new and improved developments which leading businesses can embrace. Already there are signs of how IoT is changing the way entertainment companies deliver products, interact with consumers, and innovate. As more investment flows into IoT, these trends would only improve in the future.

IoT enables the personalization of content on an unprecedented scale. Personalization is enabled by data gathering, which is something IoT gadgets are uniquely suited to do. The move toward personalization is often coupled with increased social engagement. IoT can help entertainment brands cater to this demand and follow trends. In short, IoT devices are the perfect tools for the entertainment sector to refine, optimize, and target towards customers.

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