5G, e-sports, streaming video and smart homes highlight 2019’s top consumer services trends

Developments across many different and converging service technologies are set to mature and directly impact consumers during 2019, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s latest report: ‘2019 Predictions: What to Expect in Consumer Services’ states that the top trends for 2019 include rollouts of new 5G wireless networks, continuing expansion of e-sports, launches of new video services by content owners, competition for smart home dominance, and ongoing concerns about data privacy.

According to Emma Mohr-McClune, Service Director at GlobalData, “In 2018, GlobalData’s Consumer Services team successfully predicted fresh wind in consumer Internet of Things (IoT), a mainstream data privacy epiphany, an over the top (OTT) video shake-out, new carrier energy in kids’ content and protection value-add, and the steady mainstream development of AI (artificial intelligence) voice interfaces. Our predictions for 2019 once again underline the evolution of market convergence disruption.”

Five of 2019’s top trends envisioned by GlobalData’s Consumer Services team are:

5G in 2019 – A trickle, followed by a rush: 5G will soon make its commercial service debut across multiple markets, but adoption is unlikely to pick up until late 2019 and early 2020, due in no small part to minimal coverage, poor device availability, a lack of clearly differentiated 5G B2C (business-to-consumer) use cases and the fact that Apple does not intend to play in this market until 2020. At the outset, carriers will have limited smartphone inventory to work with, and that could put a damper on marketing campaigns.

Betting on E-Sports: Eventually, e-sports will rival traditional sports in the content stakes. We will not quite be there in 2019 but the sector will take on even more momentum, with many competing stakeholders looking to claim their own space. Pay-TV and multiplay providers will not only carry dedicated e-sports channels on their pay-TV platforms; they will have their own teams and competition spaces. Gaming – casual, but especially professional – will garner big money, with heavyweight players from cinemas to stadiums and casinos getting in on the action.

D2C is the way to be: Having ownership and control of both content and the customer relationship is becoming ever more important in the TV and on-demand space. Video content owner launches of direct-to-consumer (D2C) SVoD services are ramping up, and will gain more traction in 2019 as highly anticipated entries like Disney’s ‘Disney+’ offer emerge to test the depth of consumer appetite for SVoD at an international level, while national on-demand D2C broadcaster collaborations in European countries like France and Spain take shape.

Carriers get smarter with smart home: With Amazon and Google doubling down on AI capabilities for device control in the home, carriers are increasingly challenged to move beyond the dumb pipe role for the smart home. Some carriers aim to make their own platforms into a central hub for the smart home, but it is unclear whether customers actually desire that from their carrier. In 2019, it will become clearer which approaches, if any, will be able to raise carriers’ profile in the smart home.

Data Privacy concerns to deepen: Data privacy made big news headlines in 2018 and GlobalData does not see that trend abating in 2019. The recent series of public scandals has brought the tech industry around to the notion of regulation and self-regulation. Expect further scandals and heavy debate in 2019 as tech companies attempt to balance the needs to embrace regulation with further user data monetization innovation. In the meantime, enhanced awareness and concern around data privacy spell a real opportunity for carriers to reposition themselves in the market as the more reliable caretaker of their customers’ data, and we could well see the launch of new carrier services and initiatives underlining that point in 2019.

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