­­­­­­What will the TV of Tomorrow look like?

Is conversational UI the future of TV? What we learnt at TVoT 2017…

Last week was one of the most renowned events in the TV industry calendar, The TV of Tomorrow.

With talks from leaders within the interactive/advanced-TV, pay-TV, OTT-TV, advertising, broadcasting, data, consumer-electronics and live-streaming industries, it was an event full of insight and diverse points of view.

In association with our thought provoking talk, ‘The Death of the Remote’, we gave you the opportunity to have your say on what you thought would shape the TV of Tomorrow… and the votes are now in!

So what did we learn?

We not only discovered that Rikard Steiber, President of HTC Viveport, can rap…a pretty impressive start to any keynote, but we also learnt a lot more about the fragmented digital ecosystem (which was much more interesting than hearing about those pesky, disruptive millennials! Of which I may be one…)

The key takeaways from this year’s event included:

- The TV remote isn’t dead…yet
- Authentic, local news content is crucial
- Fishing could be the next sport to have its own OTT service
- The autonomous car WILL exist by 2020
- TV UI in the current landscape could be compared to an Ikea store

The Death of the Remote, and the Rise of the Conversational UI

Panel hosted by Fabian Birgfeld (CEO & Co-Founder W12 Studios)

Looking into the years to come, it seems as though voice control is set to play a significant role in the future of TV UI. This was the consensus from the panelists at W12 Studios, NBC Universal, CNN, Tivo, Comcast, THX and Avis Budget Group. Voice has become such a common way to interact with video content in such a short period of time that it is now incredibly important to the people who are using it.

However, we must not forget to differentiate between voice command and a conversational UI.

At present, voice is simply a command, ‘Alexa, tell me the news’. Whereas the idea of a conversational UI is much more about the back and forth, between the interface and the user. Voice control needs to move towards a two-way conversation in order to help fulfil a need or solve a problem.

It would be particularly interesting if the conversational UI could help solve the problem of discovery. One of the biggest pain points within the TV industry today, having to scroll through reels and reels of screens and posters trying to find something you might like to watch.

What would happen if you could bring conversation into the experience and were quickly directed to something interesting that you wanted to watch? Rather than browsing for countless hours, could your TV start talking to you and ask you questions around your mood to suggest something you may be interested in? This two way conversation would allow the user to have a personalised, more tailored experience around their needs.

But, does this mean that the remote is no longer necessary I hear you ask?
Content Discovery, UX and The TV of Tomorrow panel at TVoT, San Francisco

Unfortunately not, there are still basic commands that are much more effective via muscle memory, such as fast forward, back and pause. After all, we don’t all want to be shouting at our TV do we?

W12 chatbot results

W12 Studios chatbot at TVoT

In association with TVoT, our chatbot asked over 1,200 senior executives what they thought would shape the TV of Tomorrow…. and the results are in!

W12 Studios chatbot Results

A whopping 49% of the 1,298 participants, decided that ‘Voice’ will shape the future of TV the most.

With AR/VR coming in 2nd with 31% and only 20% of votes for data.

With just under half of the votes voice was the clear winner which wasn’t surprising considering the number of fascinating discussions around this topic at the event.

This does ask the question though, are we ready to start talking to more technology? At present only 50% of consumers occassionally talk to their device so does this mean we are really ready and comfortable to add the TV to the conversation?

More importantly - are Alexa and Siri ready to go to war in the living room?

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