2017 was a huge year for video, and 2018 looks like it could be even bigger. Here are my thoughts on the technologies that will make a big impact.
As the CTO and co-founder of Bitmovin, I get a lot of inquiries from customers, prospects and industry insiders asking what trends they should watch for this year. I thought it’d be helpful to compile a quick list of the trends that we’re seeing: here are our picks for key video trends to watch in 2018.
Containerization is my pick for the biggest disruptor in the video industry for 2018. Last year we saw steady growth in the adoption of containerized computing across many industries. In 2018 I predict that this trend will gain momentum as video development teams start to exploit the potential cost savings and performance improvements that are available with software-based containerized encoding stacks.
This transition will bring a lot of processes away from the cloud and back to on-premise, as architects build hybrid infrastructures using hardware agnostic platforms such as Kubernetes and Docker. These systems will incorporate on-premise hardware and public cloud infrastructures into massively scalable and flexible video delivery infrastructures. This transition will likely be the beginning of the end for dedicated hardware encoders.
Another area of focus in 2018 is optimizing bandwidth usage to improve quality and reduce CDN costs. This is an important topic for every content provider, but especially relevant since the repeal of the net neutrality protections in the US. Optimizing video delivery is already top of mind for many software architects in the industry. Improving video quality for the end consumer is an important driver here, but data use and CDN costs continue to play a major role. There is already a range of solutions available for content provider to maximize the quality of experience for their users, including Multi-Codec Streaming, Per-Scene Adaptation and Per-Title Encoding.
AV1 is a hot topic. Early 2018 will see the AV1 code freeze and from there, companies will start incorporating AV1 into their products. YouTube and Netflix will likely be the first to start using the new standard as part of their delivery, and I expect to see usage will broaden rapidly as browser support improves. Mozilla is already supporting AV1 in Firefox Nightly browser release. A logical starting point for content providers will be to incorporate AV1 into a multi-codec workflow which will allow them to dynamically serve AV1 encoded content to users with compatible systems.
Software as a Service will Continue to Grow as more and more companies realize that maintaining software in-house and relying on open source is not only high risk, but also ties up valuable resources that could otherwise be used to move the business forward. As video delivery continues to become more complex, we see more and more companies move to SaaS products for all or parts of the workflow, and this trend will continue.
On the regulatory front, companies doing business in the European Union are preparing for new data privacy laws known as General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which are scheduled to go into effect in May of this year. We expect these privacy protections to result in considerably more demand for on-premise, private cloud, and hybrid on-premise/cloud deployments. Even for companies not based in the EU, there is still pressure for compliance to conform for European based customers and viewers.
Virtual and augmented reality devices have seen steady but not explosive growth in 2017 and we expect this trend to continue in 2018. I think the strongest areas of growth will be in the low price point “all-in-one” headset devices such as the Oculus Go, Pico Goblin, and Vive Focus. These devices offer only three degrees of freedom — rotation while seated but no freedom of movement to walk around a room. This will likely drive increased demand for high quality 180º, as well, as 360º video content which is especially suited for devices with these limited capabilities.
Finally, we see the potential for some exciting blockchain applications for online video on the horizon, but we don’t expect them to be ready for market this year. Blockchain applications relevant to video worth watching include distributed storage with Filecoin, distributed delivery via IPFS, distributed processing coin Golem, and even analytics with the newly proposed Basic Attention Coin.
Looking across the video industry as a whole, the steady growth that we experienced in 2017 will continue. We will see more and more traditional cable and satellite companies move to adaptive streaming over packet switched networks, we will continue to see consumers demand more video in better quality and we will see video become increasingly important in corporate communication strategies across every industry. All in all we are ready for a very exciting year in 2018!
As always, the opinions are mine. Feel free to reach me at @chris_bitmovin for comments.