Juniper Research's Windsor Holden and Lauren Foye share their top three predictions for tech trends in the year ahead.
Advent of PSD2 heralds banking disruption
The implementation of PSD2 (Directive on Payment Services) effectively reduces the barrier of entry to new digital players. It will require banks to open up both PIS (Payment Initiation Services) and AIS (Account Information Services) to third parties, thereby allowing those players to compete with existing services in those fields currently offered by the banks.
As financial institutions work towards the development of this framework, new opportunities will be opened up for new service providers where, for example, applications for credit are made much more seamless and pain-free. The net result is likely to be significant disruption across the banking ecosystem, as a host of third party players – including retailers, telcos and vendors – seek to deepen their existing relationships with consumers with the addition of an array of financial products
Meanwhile, the framework will also demand enhanced focus on the security model, where specialists will be able to offer services to ensure that the risk of cybercriminal activity is reduced.
Blockchain deployments extend beyond financial industry
To date, most blockchain deployments have been limited to the financial sector, with exchanges and banks seeking to trial the technology as a means of increasing the speed, transparency and security in areas such as transaction settlement. However, we expect that 2017 will see a raft of proof-of-concepts to integrate the technology across a much wider array of applications, with logistics and identity management to the fore.
We also envisage that a number of national governments will instigate trials incorporating blockchain technology in a bid to automate manual processes which are time-consuming and expensive.
eSports hits the mainstream
eSports, the competitive playing of video games at a professional level, is set to hit the mainstream in 2017. Juniper forecasts that there will be over 190m unique viewers of eSports content next year across mobile and online channels.
The recent drive in coverage and growth has stemmed from the content delivery mechanisms available to both gamers and viewers alike. Platforms such as YouTube have enabled users to upload footage for free, with viewers accessing this media on demand.
New growth in eSports broadcasting is already underway: Ginx eSports TV recently launched on Sky in the UK, and follows the BBC’s steps last year to livestream the League of Legends European quarter-final, hosted at Wembley Stadium. And there is no shortage of investment, with prize pools running into the millions of dollars – the user-funded pool for DotA 2’s ‘The International’ this August, for example, approached $21m.
eSports viewers, similar to those in the traditional TV space, expect to access content when and where they desire, for example through OTT and VOD services. As such, it is crucial that broadcasters look at providing ‘snackable’ media and engaging content, perhaps also seeking to enterprise on the trend towards social eSports platforms.
Ultimately, broadcasters will be challenging major online platforms – most significantly, Twitch and YouTube. It is therefore more likely that live tournament media will be better suited to TV, with partnerships and content rights purchases required.
Streaming rights to eSports have not seen much in the way of development to date. The crucial issue here is quality and audience. The majority of tournaments are shown on Twitch simply because it is seen as providing the best quality environment in which to offer such media. DingIt, who had exclusive rights to StarCraft’s SSL tournament, faced significant backlash from fans after neglected to provide good quality content.
In terms of monetising such a rapidly expanding industry, the current online providers generally harness the use of subscription and advertising models, with the latter still not reaching its potential. Juniper believes that advertising spend on eSports is set to surge in 2017, reaching over $290m.
Windsor Holden is head of forecasting & consultancy, and Lauren Foye is research analyst, at Juniper Research