DisrupTech: Four things I learnt at the Android TV Summit

Top of the morning folks! Greetings from Bangkok! And no, before you let your minds wander, I am not here for pleasure, I’m a good boy.

So currently, I am attending the Android TV APAC Summit 2018 and just escaped from a session to write my column (note how diligent I am, and the fact that I definitely did not forget about the column until I got a message from the Features Editor herself).

Okay, so I thought it might be interesting to go over four things I learnt while at the Summit. There are some details that I am not allowed to divulge as we have signed an NDA, but here are some things that I can:

1. TV is changing
As with all things, technological evolution is upon us. For those who aren’t aware, Android TV is an Operating System (OS) for digital media players, set-top boxes, and smart TVs. Almost every new TV being sold is a smart TV, and will, almost always, run Android TV OS. Hence, the move from traditional TV to on-demand TV is imminent. With Android TV, you have added benefits like Google Assistant, and every app imaginable, including gaming ones. Yes, we have become a species that talks to the television.

2. Everything is connected
IoT is scary and fascinating. Internet of Things (IoT) refers to how almost every physical device we use will be connected to the internet, and will be talking to each other to make things easier for us (until they develop a conscience and go all ‘I, Robot’ on us that is).

I walked into a smart home demo where everything from the vacuum cleaner, door locks, lights, humidifier, to even the refrigerator, is connected. Talk to your Google Assistant and unlock the door, ask the robot vacuum to return to its station, get answers to questions – this is the future.

Also, humans have no time to type; they prefer to talk, and the use of voice-based queries is growing exponentially.

3. Kids are online!
Parents have definitely given over raising their kids to technology. Whatever your opinion regarding this, is it is hard to ignore that the trend is global, and growing. This was substantiated by the fact that Family Entertainment is the fastest growing category on YouTube.

In this context, YouTube Kids is a safe alternative for those parents who simply can’t tear their kids away from devices. It is a separate app that has curated content for children, focused on learning and entertainment. And the good thing is it has launched in Sri Lanka! So go ahead download it from the App Store.

4. Content is still king
With on-demand becoming the rule of content consumption, in order to get eyeballs to your content you must do many things right. The first thing to get right is to understand your audience.

Fortunately, with digital media we generally have access to piles of data from what is being watched to who is watching it. The more I attend these tech events, the more I feel that in future, big data is going to be big business.

Generally, ‘big data’ refers to the complex number of attributions we can gather, and then by using algorithms and predictive analytics, give tangible information to be used as a marketing tool.

Just an example, the homepage I see on Amazon might not be the same you see. They conduct AB testing on a regular basis using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and bots to create the best User Experience (UX) for the visitors to their site.

Even for simple things like the position of the ‘buy now’ button, colours are regularly changed for a sample base to see if it makes a positive impact on the purchase actions.

That about wraps up my learnings at the Summit folks! I hope this concise write up helped you in some way to plan for the future that is surely already here.

Also for the fun of it, about 10% of this article was written using Speech-To-Text.

Whether you fear or love AI; it is here to stay. Ok Google, put a full stop.


By Janeeth Rodrigo
Janeeth Rodrigo is the General Manager, Digital, of the Derana Media network. He is also the General Manager of IdeaHell, the first and only YouTube MCN and Creator Space in Sri Lanka.