Perspectives

We believe that in 2030...

1. A tenth of UK households will have at least fifty connected cameras

Historically a camera was a standalone device, optimised for capturing images and the occasional video.

By 2030, the primary role of a camera will be to capture video for an ever-widening range of applications: security (and insecurity), baby monitoring, watering the gardenias or grilling cheese to perfection. The 2030s will likely be the decade of machine vision, in which time we will defer more and more monitoring to the scrutiny ever-higher resolution, untiring digital eyes.

Security cameras will likely proliferate, inside and outside of our homes, vehicles (private and public), workplaces and leisure venues. Home appliances will increasingly integrate cameras to enable a greater degree of automation – helping us roast our roasts, clean our carpets or keep an eye on kids, parents and the neighbourhood. Some devices, such as TVs, may come with in-built cameras to monitor our temperaments, to improve advertising experiences.

And we will still own smartphones, which, by 2030, will pack an average six cameras each.

2. UK households will have an average of ten video-on-demand services

At the start of the 2010s the range of VOD services that offered both compelling content and reliable delivery was very limited, and, as a result, for most of the decade few households subscribed to more than a couple of VOD services.

In 2020, and in the remainder of the decade, we expect the supply of video-on-demand services to blossom, with many high-profile launches in the near-term. Supply begets envy which drives demand, and as such, by 2023, a fifth of households may have accumulated at least five paid-for services, with subscriptions scattered among all household members. Most of these subscriptions will come with ads, and hence at a lower price.

Also as of 2023, sports VOD will have become commonplace for viewers in cities – with their superior broadband connections – and issues with latency should have become manageable.

By 2025, advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) services, many of which will offer an entirely free tier, with the only requirement being registration, will have become mainstream. The majority of UK households will access at least three of these services on a monthly basis. These services will include near-live streaming services, sustaining the provision of live TV.

Indeed, by the mid-2020s, consumers will rarely understand or care about how their favourite programme is delivered: satellite, antenna or broadband will largely offer a similar experience. AVOD providers will include today’s main channel families, television hardware brands, major and minor studios, and specialist content providers.

By 2030, around 85 percent of homes will have access to at least one paid-for or free VOD service, and across these homes, the average home will access over 10 such services at least monthly, and there may be more than 200 million individual or household registrations.

3. Viewing of the TV set will continue to average 4 hours per day per person

By 2030, viewing of the television set will continue to average approaching four hours per day per viewer, and hundreds of billions of thirty second adverts will be shown on large screens.

The consumer will continue to love high production value content, and this will tend to be watched on large screens – up to 100 inches in size, dominating living rooms, which will continue to be redesigned to accommodate ever larger screens. Viewing will continue to be mostly communal: people will continue to relish shared emotions, and they will still use TV as a reason to gather, be this to watch live TV, a drama shot in 8K or a movie on demand.

The affordability of larger TV sets will have been enabled partially by a change to the underlying business model. By 2025, over a third of TVs will be sold at a lower gross margin, with monetisation via the sharing of advertising information generating a constant stream of revenue for the vendor over the lifetime of the set. This shift in the business model will help stoke demand for 8K TV sets, which will be the default resolution for TV sets costing over £500.

TV set vendors are also likely to offer a marketplace for VOD services and advertisers.

Major consumer brands will continue to rely predominantly on the television set to get their 30-second stories across so long as this medium continues to offer the best completed view metrics.

4. UK consumers will share more data than ever before (and less than in 2031)

In every year of the last decade the median consumer – in the UK and most developed countries – has shared more data with third parties. This trend is likely to continue throughout the 2030s.

The historical drivers are likely to be the same as the future ones: we have more devices, we access more services, via apps and websites, and we have better connectivity, enabling us to share richer data sets. We can more readily share images and video, and we can share these in ever higher resolution.

The devices we use are also more likely to be connected. Many years back, but less than 15 years ago, most households had one type of connected data device – the PC. In 2020, many households have dozens. By 2030, most devices will have become connected. The TV set will track and share every VOD app downloaded, programme watched or advert shown. Doorbells will have become community cameras, feeding into neighbourhood social networks.

Every step we take, every breath we make, every click, pause and tap are all likely to be logged, and consumers will continue to be reluctant to read the hundreds of sets of terms and conditions they are presented with on a yearly basis.

5. We will be reaching the limits of 5G, readying for 6G, contemplating 7G

By 2030, 5G should have proven to be transformative to business, and of modest direct (but significant indirect impact) for consumers.

The 5G standard has been written to deliver resilient connectivity in a range of industrial applications, from factories to ports, from loading bays to luggage carousels, from film sets to farms.

5G will benefit consumers indirectly, in the form of better products and services. More flexible factories should mean lower waiting times for customised goods. Infrastructures – from railway tracks to suspension bridges to pipelines – should be better maintained, thanks to 5G transmitting 8K video to machine vision capabilities that have been trained to identify fissures and cracks whilst still tiny. 5G in airports may make it harder to lose luggage; 5G relayed to trains should make Wi-Fi speeds far faster. 5G in hospitals should make it easier to relay high definition scans to doctors, and for measurements to be collected. Millions of homes may be connected via 5G, as well as fibre.

By 2029, some of the limits of 5G may have been reached. Some companies may require more than 1 million connections per square kilometre. Some applications may need latency faster than a millisecond. Some processes may need more than 20 Gbit/s per cell. And 6G will have been designed to address the next decade’s connectivity needs.

6. A quarter of all searches will start with an image or video

As of 2020, almost all searches will rely on text as an input. By 2030, search based on image or video inputs will likely represent the fastest-growing search category in usage and revenue terms.

In the same way that messaging has evolved from text to image to video, a search will increasingly start with an image as an alternative to typing in a description.

As of 2020, smartphone camera apps already scan for QR codes by default. Over the coming years, the camera app is likely to analyse images of products and people with increasing degrees of accuracy. Identifying products will be enabled by the library of hundreds of photos of every manufactured product, from a packet of cereal to a pair of socks. This vast library may have been created to enable checkout-less stores or to provide images for websites, and will also function to enable smartphones to use images as an input for a search.

Photo search should also work for people: by 2030, there may be hundreds of thousands of photos online of some individuals.

By the end of the decade, video search will become increasingly viable. This may require 100 megabyte files to be uploaded rapidly, and analysed near-instantly for this to be viable.

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