In the coming years, the audiovisual technology market is going to be very intense.
Firstly, the COVID 19 pandemic has accelerated several growing markets such as the unified communications or the virtual production. These markets have been accelerated by about 5 years, if not more, and in just two years, I think they have reached a high level of maturity.
All of this has evolved these markets, creating business areas that go from being investment bets with some uncertainty, to being a safe business with immediate return.
Now, both these markets and the rest of the markets or sectors that make up AV technology, are going to face a new revolution, something that is also affecting other industrial sectors. I am talking about the intrusion of artificial intelligence in our lives and the explosion of its popularization in 2022, a year where we have seen the first steps of this technology and how it can be applied to different sectors, and I have no doubt that the Audiovisual sector is one of those that will notice this new industrial revolution the most.
It is precisely in these two fields that I mentioned before, where we can already see how the use of machine learning is influencing more, for example, in the field of virtual production, this technology allows content creators to use artificial intelligence to improve the quality of the image, camera control, video and audio editing, and content manipulation. Artificial Intelligence is making its way into the audiovisual industry and is expected to be used more and more in the coming years to automate and simplify the work of content creators, while in the field of unified communications technology, we see day by day how videoconferencing systems and software achieve great improvements in a matter of months and this can only be explained with machine learning technologies.
All these advances are based on software, while in hardware we are seeing, especially in the consumer technology market, a clear deceleration of technological progress in hardware, in other words, we are reaching the ceiling in hardware technology and that is why for manufacturing companies, focusing on software is a more important, and perhaps more profitable, task. For example, 8K systems are already a reality, but how much further can we advance, and above all, will the investment in that progress be worth it when the user already has a more than acceptable quality?
The field of Digital Signage is another great beneficiary in this sense, and also, although it was already a mature field, the restrictions in the pandemic made it much more prominent in businesses where perhaps it was not a main actor before. In the last two years we have seen great progress in the field of software.
In the live events sector, however, the evolution from 2019 has been completely different since it is the sector that was completely sunk during the pandemic being dependent on the fact that massive meetings of people could happen again. However, once the restrictions were lifted, the world seemed to go crazy and everyone seemed to want to attend as many events as possible, which has resulted in 2 of the highest billing years for the sector in history, but be careful, because once this situation normalizes (some say it will normalize in 2023 while others think it will take two more years) we will have to see what values it stays at. 2019 was a great year for the industry and the key will be to see where this "normality" ends up, whether it is above or below those numbers. However, the situation regarding the evolution of technology is the same as in the rest, for a long time no great technological advance has been observed in hardware beyond laser light sources in moving heads in lighting, for example.
For more than 5 years in the industry we have been talking about experience and in this sense VR and XR technologies have been gaining prominence as the technology has evolved with them. We are at the gates of what is to come in these fields and it is still too early to conclude how they will mature, but without a doubt, exciting years are coming to explore how far we will go. I will not enter into whether the so-called metaverse will revolutionize the world, because I believe that history has taught us that when we start to evolve in a technology the ideas that we initially have of its evolution end up distancing themselves from its final development.
And it is precisely when we talk about immersive technologies that immersive sound takes center stage, which is becoming a key feature for entertainment, both in closed and controlled systems and in outdoor concerts where it will pose a real challenge and only time will tell if it is a technology that will continue in such an aggressive environment.
The popularization of AVoIP and the subsequent exponential growth of unified communications that have contributed so much to the growth and development of our industry also attracted major IT companies that are now major players and have a decisive influence on our sector. This, which caused quite a controversy at the beginning of the last decade and some of us warned of the consequences and the challenge it posed, is now a fact and they are now part of the industry that affects distributors and integrators in particular. At this point, I think the role of each type of company is clearly defined and integrators have succeeded in showing their added value. Those who perhaps have it more difficult are manufacturers and distributors that due to their size have more difficulty competing. I think this will continue to be accentuated in the future with higher volume products.
In terms of the evolution of business exclusively, I believe that our sector in general and in all its areas: unified communications, Digital Signage, events, content production and broadcast, etc., has reached a great state of maturity and this is reflected in the sectorial market studies that are confirming that we will continue to grow in the coming years, and if the macroeconomic forecasts do not say otherwise, we are facing exciting and very motivating years.
By the way, there is a small part of this article that has been generated by an AI, challenge the reader to discover which one it is.