This article is the third in a series that will explore the role of 5G and its potential impact on various forms of entertainment.
With the ubiquity of mobile devices, we regularly take our entertainment on the go. From downloading our favorite episodes via various streaming services or catching a live game on the move, our expectation for on-demand content anywhere and anytime is becoming the new normal.
Facebook, Google, Samsung, and Apple are all working on their version of the next mobile form factor. Their goal is to take us beyond the little glowing boxes in our pockets and shift us towards a world that is either digitally displayed via glasses or projected directly onto our retinas via smart contacts.
Whatever the “next” is, it can only reach penetration at scale with faster networks and computing. It’s no coincidence then that a majority of smart glasses are pushing ship dates to better coincide with the ubiquity of 5G networks. By combining voice, vision, and touch/gesture-based interfaces, the physical world will become a canvas that blurs the lines of reality.
With the rise of intelligent systems and the ability to personalize content and brand placement experiences in-show on the horizon, entertainment will continue to shift from passive to active entertainment experiences.
Here are two examples of companies already working on developing new personalized and interactive experiences.
5G multimedia experiences
The decline of traditional television, and the meteoric rise of more interactive mediums such as gaming and live streaming, will redefine how entertainment properties will reach hyper-connected consumers moving forward.
One recent example of this shift towards multimedia experiences is the recent Fortnite x Star Wars in-game event that took place on December 14th. This event saw some of the largest gatherings of concurrent gamers to witness a first of its kind event as The Rise of Skywalker director, JJ Abrams appeared as an avatar in the game to reveal a never-before-seen clip of the Rise of Skywalker.
With tens of millions of gamers connected in-game and millions more watching the live event (2.2 million on YouTube and 1.1 million on Twitch.tv), this event gives us a glimpse of what’s to come when 5G connectivity can supercharge access from anywhere. I initially experienced connectivity issues when trying to log into the event for 20 minutes. With 5G, this type of experience may be able to accommodate significantly more users.
What was also incredibly exciting is that this was not only a passive viewing experience but one that was highly interactive via in-game quizzes and polls. This is not the first time that Fortnite has created an in-game experience but it is certainly just the beginning of interactive online game events.
5G + AI = personalized entertainment
With the shift towards streaming services, consumers deal with less traditional broadcast advertising, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to connect directly with consumers as a result. Many brands have shifted towards a product placement strategy as a way to seamlessly integrate their products into our favorite shows.
As streaming services like Netflix and Hulu enhance their physical product marketing divisions, other technologies are currently being developed, such as Ryff, which uses artificial intelligence and computer vision, to replace branded products with ones that can be tailored based on customer or viewer data.
This means that if I happen to have an affinity for Starbucks coffee instead of carbonated beverages, I might see a Starbucks cup in the very same spot another person might see a Coca-Cola can.
With 5G connectivity, this type of real-time product rendering could scale to support not only customized product placement in our favorite shows but the world around us. With the combination of edge computing, 5G computing, and multi-modal form factors, we are quickly heading towards a time where synthetic reality becomes our reality.
This glimpse into the 5G future is not science fiction but will be enabled thanks to 5G connectivity as the foundation for connection. Experiences and interfaces are evolving quickly, and we are moving towards a hyper-connected future where the lines between physical and digital reality will forever blur. I can’t wait.