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As the year winds down, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at some major shifts in the video world. While media reporters, analysts, and executives made some predictions back in January, it’s clear that those shifts didn’t all come to fruition or play out the way we expected. Read on for our hot or not overview of 2018 media trends.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: HOT

AI, as a technology topic, consistently tops various trends lists. But that’s for good reason! Everywhere you look, innovative machine learning applications continue to pop up. For instance, companies like IBM use this technology to power fun features like Chef Watson . Alternatively, ad tech providers are beginning to leverage AI to automate buying decisions and identify fraud.

This trend is very much here to stay, and it’s impacting more and more industries as time goes on. Here at Brightcove we leverage AI for Context Aware Encoding (CAE) . Using machine learning, we identify historical usage patterns across customers. For example, we can identify the probability that a video will be viewed on a smaller screen or at a lower bitrate (i.e., mobile in India with low bandwidth). In that case, we’d feed this into the algorithm to come up with the optimal rendition set. Alternatively, we’d do the same for high-quality content commonly viewed on an Apple TV, optimizing on the higher side of things. The impact of this constantly evolving algorithm — combined with the intelligence layer that scans the content itself to advise on encoding profiles — made CAE a winner of multiple awards in 2018 at conferences like NAB and IBC.

Virtual Reality (VR): NOT

We hate to be negative here, but VR is one of the media trends that hasn’t yet truly delivered on all the hype surrounding it. Sure, this technology has led to some really impressive gaming experiences, and it is a frontier of experimentation for sports leagues like the NBA . But it has not seen broad adoption across many other applications.

However, Augmented Reality (AR) has played a much more interesting role in the media space this year. For instance, apps like Snapchat are using AR games as Sponsored Snappable ads. And 360 video continues to grow — with everything from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Winter Olympics offering this immersive viewing experience.

Interactivity: HOT

In 2018, interactivity was a force to be reckoned with in the media world. And that shouldn’t be particularly surprising. After all, this technology enables media companies to create engaging content — from interactive shoppable video to quizzes —  for a variety of different audiences and mediums. Here at Brightcove we’re supporting clickable ad creatives for Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) , where interactivity historically hasn’t been available. And our partners like HapYak are making it easier for viewers to engage with video content in exciting new ways, such as choose your own adventure storytelling.

As we recently learned at the IAB Tech Lab Video Summit, this trend is so hot that IAB is deprecating VPAID and creating new standards like VPAID-i and SIVIC , specifically for interactivity. As we move into next year, we can expect shoppable video to be a widely used form of interactive content — especially with ecommerce giants like Amazon staking a claim in this space.

Overall, 2018 has been an exciting year of advancements that empower media companies to take their viewer experiences to the next level. And I for one can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us.

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