Around this time each year, I wonder what the following 12 months will have in store for our industry. This is a difficult endeavor under normal circumstances – but now that 2020 has been and gone, predicting the immediate future is something probably best left to professional fortune-tellers.
Nonetheless, having already discussed with industry peers and read-up on multiple reports, my 2021 media technology trends predictions are not around the latest ground-breaking, brand-spanking new technologies announced at this year’s virtual of CES (there weren’t that many, either), but rather around perfecting specific business practices that became essential to survive 2020. As esteemed Mark Harrison, CEO of the the DPP, recently stated “The biggest mistake in predicting trends is to assume that the latest thing is going to be the next thing”, so true in 2021.
So, for what is worth, here are the top four media technology trends that I think will be essential in 2021:
You will experience security breaches
In a time where the bulk of the workforce is home-based, the ability to protect networks, content, communications and workflows is paramount. Most companies in the broadcast sector have reacted by reinforcing barriers: more firewalls, solid VPNs, multiple levels of authentication…. But no matter how much you bootstrap your networks, the stark reality is that there will be hacks and security breaches. It’s a matter of when and not if… Hence, as well as protecting the fort, what technology vendors and buyers alike need do more of is implement better monitoring, detect anomalies quickly, and have contingency plans in place so security breaches can be resolved quickly and efficiently. Broadcast systems are increasingly looking like IT systems, so upskilling personnel is essential too. We take security very seriously at Dalet, and our chief information security officer (CISO) makes sure that all potential threats are caught early and that staff is properly trained and informed.
Cloud will not be the answer to everything!
Conversations in this industry are becoming increasingly “cloudy”… And in a post-COVID world, there is a tendency to assume that the cloud is here to fix it all: remote access – check, lower cost of ownership – check, elasticity – check… It would be nice if it made coffee too (and living with an engineer, I’m pretty sure that can be easily done!)
But let’s face it, reality is very different which becomes apparent when looking at the 2021 media technology trends. For most broadcasters, amortizing their existing capital investment is still important, and the cost of egress for large amounts of media remains prohibitive when you have years of valuable content (did I mention security yet?). So indeed the adoption of cloud infrastructure across the media supply chain is increasing quickly, but it’s certainly not going to be the immediate replacement for all production and distribution workflows today, tomorrow, this year. The capabilities of cloud infrastructure, compute elasticity and agile deployment are an additional tool that should be in any content creator and distributor’s toolbox. Hybrid deployments will be here for years to come.
Only the fit will survive
Our COO, Stéphane Schlayen, likes to add inspiring quotes to his strategic presentations. One of my all-time favorites is Darwin’s “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Never in the history of the media and entertainment industry has business agility been more important. As our colleagues at Devoncroft stated during their virtual Executive Summit in December, the pandemic has revealed that operational inefficiencies can no longer be financially sustained.
As a result, we are seeing an increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions, such as the (for now, pending) sale by Technicolor of its post-production assets to Streamland Media, and the most recent acquisition of SDI Media by Iyuno, both no doubt driven by the need to streamline businesses and reach critical mass. I expect we’ll see plenty of M&A activity that will redefine future media technology trends, both on the buyer and vendor side of the industry, in many cases to pick up the pieces left by a COVID-driven struggle.
Customer experience will drive success
As our industry gallops towards more subscription-based and SaaS-driven solutions, I firmly believe that providing a long-lasting, positive customer experience, at every touch point between vendors and buyers and between content providers and consumers will be key to success. For technology providers this means delivering outcomes, not products – which is why Dalet is focusing on creating solutions that provide agility, mobility and flexibility to our users. To keep up with media technology trends in 2021, we plan to include offerings that help our users create content from anywhere with Dalet Pyramid, with hosted infrastructure and remote management services with Dalet Flex and Dalet AmberFin, and 360 customer services at hand to support our clients wherever they want to take their business.
It’s the end of ownership and the rise of usership – time to delight (y)our customers.
What do you predict?
In my view, these are four important themes that will color 2021 for the media technology industry. Companies that get these right will stand in a better place for success in a year where unpredictability will be the new normal.
What do you believe are the top media technology trends in 2021? Leave me a comment below and let’s get this conversation started!
With over twenty years of experience working in content production and distribution environments, Bea used to be Dalet's Chief Market Officer until April 2022. She was responsible for the go-to-market strategy and positioning of Dalet’s products and solutions, as well as driving the company's marketing efforts.More Articles By Bea