The online live streaming industry witnessed an exponential growth of 99% between April 2019 and April 2020 and is expected to be valued at 184.27 billion USD by 2027. Let that sink in!

Remember, we painted a rosy picture of the live streaming industry for 2021 in Episode 1! Well, we are still optimistic and buoyant of its vibrant future, given the increasingly encouraging trend analysis by our expert panel.

Live streaming is not slowing down in 2021, and for all the good reasons. Here's how:

Artificial Intelligence and Live Streaming

As live streaming reaches new horizons in 2021, it will continue to gain prominence this year. Although Facebook's and Google's algorithms created serious shockwaves for regulation in 2020, AI's counterintuitivity encouraged appreciating authentic forms of user-generated content (UGC). TikTok, for instance, remained the star of the 2020 show. This has diverted companies' focus towards the power of user-generated content on several such dominant platforms. For 2021, it is expected that the previous experimental uses will become deeply embedded into the core product features for live streams. There will be automated meta-data extraction, captioning, and translations.

2021 will be the year of context-aware advertising through live streaming.
2021 will be the year of context-aware advertising through live streaming.

Online Fitness Growth

As previously highlighted in Episode 1, tele-health has marked a paradigm shift in the global healthcare industry and is expected to continue to accelerate in 2021. On a similar note, it is also predicted that 2021 will witness a significant rise in online fitness studios and gyms. Several fitness centers resorted to online training in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and have taken a head-on approach to engaging with fitness enthusiasts through live online workouts. With an increasing trend towards home fitness studios and the continuing social distancing directives, live video streaming has unveiled new online fitness opportunities. As a result, numerous fitness services have integrated live video streaming as a core component of their branding strategy to recreate in-person experiences. 2021 will be the year of effectively teleporting exercise regimens from fitness studios to living rooms. This year will also witness an exponential growth in subscribers of Apple Fitness+ Launch, BeachBody, Peloton IPO Explode, and the likes. The fusion of live and interactive technology will most interestingly foster both cost-effectiveness and convenience for the fitness industry in 2021.

Prevailing trends also indicate a likelihood of advances in personalization through in-app AI to amplify the overall user experience. This feature will offer individual training offers, personalized health stats, virtual coaching, and an increased overall engagement with personal health. Wearable tech has already made headlines in 2020. 2021 will be the year of holistic inclusivity with regard to health, further making the future of fitness tech bright.

User-Generated Content (UGC) Will Take Lead in Live Streaming

UGC is expected to take the lead in 2021 as a mainstream community for consumers seeking varied content. This will emerge as the most authentic, reliable, and relatable form of content for the marketers, who will devise their entire marketing campaigns along with this information source. This year is predicted to unfold several opportunities for higher quality content and for streamlining traction. The classic manifestation remains Instagram's recently launched Reels, in response to TikTok, as a new form of video content with a delivery time of 15-30 seconds. This is a gimmick intended to grab user attention within moments and most innovatively and entertainingly. Such tools are here to stay in 2021, with a lot more expected to dive into the live streaming market.

Smart Security for Live Streaming

As technologies continue to evolve and innovation continues to take the lead, consumer data security remains a top priority in the entire digital landscape. It is equally essential for the live streaming industry as more and more people sign up for such services. Protecting UGC, especially that run in real-time, is of paramount importance as privacy concerns and use cases grow. Several online security enhancements and encryptions are expected to come forth this year:

  1. Expansion of Security Adoption – Organizations worldwide will embrace new cutting-edge security measures and remote technologies to curtail the security concerns relevant to live streaming, such as digital footprint and intellectual property rights.
  2. Encryption at every level – It is expected that the adoption of new encryption tech will emerge much higher than the 2020's predicted curve. New and more data protection technologies will be adopted as more real-world applications appear.
  3. Cloud Security – 2021 will foster the rise of cloud security as the prime choice of security strategy. As organizations continue to engage in live streaming, cybersecurity protocols will focus on cloud-first security strategy.

Innovative Live Streaming Tech

As technological research progresses each year, we come across new standards and emerging technologies that promise several enhanced live streaming features. With higher quality videos, lower latency, greater streaming efficiency, or new application types, 2021 will be the year of most incredible opportunities for live streaming advancements. Our experts predict that:

  1. WebCodecs and WebTransport will lead to progress towards standardization.
  2. QUIC and HTTP/3 will continue to improve the web for everyone. 5G will noticeably take live streaming to new limits, whereby more bandwidth to devices will mean more real-time interactivity and streaming.
  3. HLS and DASH will gain traction as more and more vendors integrate with the live video delivery ecosystem as an end-to-end solution.

As several industries continue to adapt to the COVID-19 directives, they are also gradually learning to adapt to thrive using live streaming. With the increased convergence of new technologies, heightened internet penetration, and ubiquitous lockdowns, live streaming has emerged as the most prominent trend for 2021.


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