15 October, 2021

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Know-how is accelerating the evolution of leisure

The media panorama has been experiencing an virtually unprecedented interval of change. The shift in the direction of streaming, already in full move earlier than the pandemic, has accelerated even quicker than anticipated, whereas the gaming business has introduced fully new methods of making and delivering content material into the broader business.

The affect of those disruptive forces inside media is difficult organisations to rethink the best way they work, as Simon Crownshaw, chief know-how officer for media and leisure at Microsoft, explains.

“What you see is firms seeking to reimagine their workflows as a result of the traces between media sorts are disappearing,” he says. “As our bodily world blends with the digital world, the leisure actuality is altering as nicely. These transformations are ramping up at a tremendous fee. I don’t suppose we’ve but seen a full disruption of media workflows, however what you’re seeing is a legacy problem of tried and examined processes and the business is having to consider the way it can leverage know-how to do issues higher and quicker.” 

As with many industries, the challenges created by the pandemic for the media business has led to a questioning of conventional methods of working. Know-how has offered a solution to the unrelenting demand for content material on this troublesome new setting.

“When you concentrate on the influence of Covid-19 on the business at its peak, it’s shut down productions and disrupted reside occasions throughout all components of the media business,” says Crownshaw. “However it pressured them to rethink these experiences. How may they proceed to create content material as shortly as doable when working with a geographically dispersed group or to offer distinctive buyer engagement alternatives? They’ve needed to depend on the cloud and invent know-how to make these issues work quicker than they most likely ever thought.”

The necessity for isolation and bodily distancing has additionally meant that extra folks have turned to streaming platforms to eat their content material, accelerating a development that was already reshaping the business.

“We noticed streaming viewership improve exponentially on each platform, with cell customers now consuming and creating extra content material than ever earlier than,” says Crownshaw. “Personalisation has additionally improved, so workflows round distribution and encryption have sped up extremely, with the power to make use of the cloud to ship video at greater resolutions and latency resilient reside experiences to folks on their telephones. There was an acceleration to the purpose that the business might be 5 years forward of the place it thought it could be. The problem now could be figuring out acceptable workflows that may exploit the advantages of the cloud and harnessing much more superior know-how like augmented actuality in a scalable method.”

The fast and profound transformation of the business additionally has implications for the best way wherein customers are perceived. By bringing collectively the disparate info they’ve about their prospects in a single, constant view, media firms can higher perceive each the content material they wish to see and the way they wish to see it.

“One of many workflows that I feel the cloud is offering is to defragment social materials,” says Crownshaw. “Many individuals have a number of profiles on totally different social media platforms, however media firms wish to perceive you as a person buyer.  At Microsoft we’ve been leveraging Xbox know-how and the digital neighborhood it drives. By leveraging a single unified person profile we get an entire view of the shopper throughout these platforms, which permits us to offer a linked, informative, digital world to them. This retains prospects extra concerned, and it retains them coming again.”

This instance is simply one of many methods wherein the gaming business has begun to have an affect over extra conventional types of media. As soon as considered being separate from the mainstream, gaming has develop into an vital and disruptive pressure inside the media panorama. This isn’t solely the case in distribution, but additionally in creation.

“Gaming has introduced extra freedom to the creation and distribution of media, from starting to finish,” says Crownshaw. “In conventional, linear broadcasting, it could take days, weeks and even months for a visible impact to be inserted into a movie. However with sport engine know-how, this course of goes way more shortly. Actual-time rendering allows groups to get prompt verification of what their concepts appear to be. With that suggestions, they will create totally different, immersive experiences, eliminating waste at each part of manufacturing.”

Sooner or later, Crownshaw anticipates that sustainability will drive even additional change, as media organisations recognise the obligations, they’ve in tackling the specter of local weather change.

“It’s going to be actually onerous to develop into carbon unfavourable with out reworking workflows on a higher scale than we ever have,” he says. “A number of the applied sciences required gained’t even have been invented but, and it’s not one thing that media and leisure normally has begun participating with on a big scale. However, with such drastic outcomes of a altering local weather, I consider companies will work a lot tougher to know and cut back their influence. Having hung out with leaders throughout the business, I feel it’s beginning to develop into a essential problem, and it’s one thing Microsoft might help them with.”

With the tempo of change solely set to extend, maintaining with developments in know-how and processes is changing into more and more troublesome. Microsoft’s in depth experience could be a precious useful resource to assist firms keep their competitiveness, suggests Crownshaw.

“The entire information reveals that the shifts in these workflows are positively underway,” he says. “It’s reshaping the best way that media and leisure firms take into consideration their aggressive edge. They need to suppose very fastidiously about how they wish to use all these applied sciences and the method by which they undertake them. And I feel Microsoft, as a know-how firm with many years of expertise, is a superb associate to assist them deliver these applied sciences collectively and reimagine these processes for folks.”

Companion views 

We requested Microsoft associate Experian Information High quality the way it has delivered innovation within the growing gaming business.

“The rise of on-line gaming has conjured some very actual points round participant safety and safety from fraud for the platform supplier,” stated Steve Farr, vp of options and advertising and marketing. “In December 2019, the UK’s Nationwide Well being Service said there was a rising tide of gaming-related well being issues. Outbreaks of fraudulent actions have additionally been well-publicised. The necessity to defend gamblers, whereas offering a seamless onboarding and taking part in expertise should be balanced as these twin points entice the eye of regulators. Applied sciences that handle ‘id decision’ might help exclude returning downside gamblers and those who look to make use of the platforms for nefarious actions resembling cash laundering. Key to those applied sciences are a mix of batch and real-time information processing, refined duplicates identification and entry to reference information on identified people and gadgets.” 

This text was initially printed within the Autumn 2021 problem of Know-how Report. To get future points delivered on to your inbox, join a free subscription.