Tech Trends Driving Higher Education in 2021 and Beyond

The campuses that were bustling with life a year ago now have a deserted look. The dormitories, classrooms, and practical rooms all wait for normalcy to return. The pandemic has impacted all walks of life, and the universities are no different. As per the latest New York Times survey comprising 1,900 American colleges and universities, there have been 397000 cases and about 90 deaths due to the coronavirus.

The explosion of the virus and the regulations to curb the spread have expedited the adoption of technology. Universities that were warming up to technology before the pandemic are now swiftly embracing technology to overcome the pandemic’s challenges and chart out their future course of action.

Here are the top trending technologies that have got the education industry’s attention and are sure to have a long-standing impact on the education industry and system.

AI drives operational and administrative efficiency

AI’s impact on the education sector or specifically in higher learning institutes can be manifold. Many universities or institutions are already leveraging AI to deliver time-sensitive academic and admin tasks, increase enrollment, improve IT processes and amplify the learning experience. A Wall Street Journal article noted that the Georgia Institute of Technology addressed 40% of student’s queries using an AI-powered chatbot assistant freeing up humans to tackle complex questions. AI could also spell good news for students with hearing and visual impairments by refining language translations and providing improved access.

While AI’s potential has been a topic of discussion at institutions, its adoption in the education industry is still lagging. A 2019 survey revealed that implementation was the most significant challenge institutions faced in adopting AI. Only 41% of universities have chalked out a strategy on utilizing AI. Another major deterrent is the cost involved, with 57% of institutions having a separate budget for AI projects.

Hybrid learning delivers continuity, convenience, and safety

With the contagious virus on the prowl student, health and safety have become priorities for institutions. The learning environment is poised for a significant overhaul. Hybrid learning or blended learning is the best option available to institutions. The students’ young age on campus is another reason hybrid learning is a perfect fit for the current day and age. Statistics from Bill and Melinda Foundation reveal the 55% of today’s college and university students are Gen Zers. The new generation of students is well averse to using technology. Pew Research highlighted that 95% of Gen Zers have access to smartphones while close to 97% use one of the major learning platforms.

A recently concluded survey by the Institute of International Education has revealed that 9 out of 10 universities in the US plan to implement the hybrid learning model across their campuses. 92% of institutions participating in the survey suggested looking at a wholly revamped instructional plan starting fall 2020.

Immersive, engaging, and impactful learning experiences using AR/VR

Not long ago, the thought of remote learning, especially for higher education, was a distant dream. The biggest challenge to any such suggestion was the impact of in-person classes conducted by the professor in charge, the face-to-face interactions, live demonstrations, and the practical sessions. The emergence of the coronavirus and the social distancing regulation compelled colleges to go digital. Every need has a solution. In this case, the need for real conversations, universities turned to AR/VR that had already made inroads into the classroom. As per Burroughs, 2018 and Internet2, 2019, as of 2018, 18% of universities and colleges had fully deployed VR, 28% had used it to some extent, and 32% were testing the technology. Gartner predicts that by 2021, 60 higher education institutions in the United States will focus on using VR to create simulations and put students into immersive environments.

Through its Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL), San Diego State University’s Instructional Technology Services is using VR capabilities to teach students astronomy. Students in Western Carolina University’s (NC) School of Nursing are using VR to virtually attend to rare emergencies and understand how to attend to such instances. In another compelling use case, Fordham University’s (NY) Gabelli School of Business teaches its students lessons in leadership and teamwork using VR. Students in this particular exercise walk on a 1400 foot skyscraper urged by team members or guided by fellow students to diffuse bombs.

Robust ‘anywhere’ learning systems with cloud technologies

Campuses are sophisticated systems similar to bustling cities. Apart from learning systems, they provide transportation, campus safety, accounting, administration, and everything else required to run a well-oiled system for the residents, in this case, the students. All these facilities provided by the institutions need to run cohesively. Embracing the cloud enables institutions to create a data-centric mindset and rely more on quantifiable data measurement to drive and assess enrollment functions. Institutions are adopting cloud products to leap towards process re-engineering to aim for system-wide digital transformation. The approach will reduce information silos and enable standardization of data driving information sharing, boosting efficiency and sustainable growth.

The pandemic has put an enormous financial burden on institutions. Budget cuts for public institutions and diminishing private funds and endowments have further crippled institutions’ financial capability to harness cloud capabilities helping colleges and universities balance their expenses while benefiting from the high-standard IT services.

The Julliard School for performing arts having its physical presence in New York, will be training 800 students from 42 different countries. The faculty will be training all these students from its campus in Manhattan. The cloud powers Julliard’s digital foray.

Conclusion

Like every other industry, the higher education domain needs a revamp. Campuses across the United States are increasing digital transformation speed to face any unforeseen eventuality. Trigent is at the forefront of enabling institutions and universities to quickly and efficiently utilize technology advances. Our domain expertise empowers institutions to promptly ramp-up capabilities backed by our technology experts.

Let us together build a digitally strong foundation for an empowered future. Call us today.

6 Tech Trends that will reshape Media & Entertainment in 2021

Content streaming is at an all-time high amidst the lockdown. By 2024, Over-the-top (OTT) media revenue is predicted to touch $158.84B that’s more than double the $67.8B revenue that was generated in 2018. The number of OTT service users in the United States is expected to reach 198 million by 2021. Netflix, Google LLC, LINE Corporation, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Apple Inc. Kakapo Corp, Hulu, LLC are among the top players.

Let’s take a look at the demand and supply impact given the evolving industry landscape. The demand side takes into account the behavioral patterns of the audience while the supply side adopts tech innovations to differentiate their service and content portfolio

Here’s our take on 6 technology trends that will influence the media and entertainment world this year.

  1. Ad-supported access to standard content portfolio

In a bid to keep subscription fees competitive, platforms and publishers will bring back ad-supported content. Ad-supported models will work well provided platforms collate sufficient data for targeted advertising. M&E companies are now putting in a lot of effort to sieve through every tiny bit of information to keep annoying ads at bay. Going forward, the focus will be more on making an interesting mix of videos, music, games, podcasts, etc. available through subscription and free ad-supported services.

Explains Nick Morley, EMEA Managing Director, IAS, “With major changes to consumer habits last year, viewer patterns have rapidly evolved. The UK Streaming Wars report shows that viewers are now increasingly open to ad-supported video options, so the onus is on the digital advertising industry to help marketers meet consumer needs with an enjoyable experience.” As per the UK Streaming Wars report, over 50% of consumers will watch relevant ads in full while one in five will even search once they see an ad.

  1. eSports broadcasting for interactive experiences

The global eSports market revenue is expected to touch $1.6B in 2023 with eSports being touted as the future of sports. Currently, Asia and North America are the largest eSports markets and with greater adoption of AR/VR, this segment too will see fresh developments. Legalized sports betting will also see a surge with 5G technology, and several sports stadiums and similar arenas in the U.S. already have 5G towers to facilitate legalized betting.

With broadcasters streaming feeds from strategically placed cameras at vantage points, viewers can pick the best views for a more engaging experience. Apart from the best viewing angles, eSports also offers them an opportunity to cheer and interact with their favorite sports persons in real-time, and a platform to discuss strategies and improve the learning curve.

Gaming companies are doing exceedingly well too and Activision Blizzard made a profit of $505M in the first quarter of 2020 with their games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft delivering better than expected results.

  1. Augmented and Virtual Reality will create new avenues

Augmented and Virtual Reality or AR/VR are unlocking new technology avenues for the media and entertainment world. Earlier, they were not leveraged to their full potential despite the hype. Adoption was less and the price of AR/VR devices was pretty high. But things are changing now with greater adoption, pocket-friendly devices, and AR content that’s supported by smartphones.

This presents an opportunity to the media industry that will also leverage it to deliver a quality experience to gamers, make way into cinemas and theaters with immersive content, and create wearables for visits to museums, art galleries, etc.

  1. Artificial Intelligence for enhanced customer engagement

Most viewers, including millennials and Gen-Z, are happy to pay for content that’s tailored to their tastes. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms go a long way in analyzing consumer behavior providing them with just what they want to see. Innovations like eye tracking, emotion detection and engagement analysers provide new sources of continuous feedback.

The power of AI is essential to absorb and process this data in no time to help platforms make highly personalized recommendations. The same principle works for music streaming apps too that know exactly which tracks to pitch so that they make it to your list of favorites. AI can be a boon in the pre and post-production processes too and the absence of human intervention ensures that the cost of content creation is greatly reduced.

  1. Blockchain to protect IP rights while leveraging viral distribution channels

Blockchain will disrupt the way content is created, aggregated, distributed, consumed, and protected. Blockchain-powered micropayments will facilitate pay-per-use consumption targeting consumers who are unwilling to pay for an entire subscription but will pay a smaller fee to binge-watch just a season of a particular show. It allows independent artists to directly distribute their work among consumers via social media channels bypassing middlemen and distribution modes.

Blockchain will ensure proper execution of copyright terms through accurate tracking of a song’s usage and facilitate quicker royalty payments and division of revenue among artists and stakeholders. It will control and monetize file sharing, as every time consumers purchase or subscribe to blockchain-hosted content, content owners will be able to track file sharing and charge a fee for that distribution.Italy’s copyright body SIAE has also developed a copyright management platform using blockchain to provide artists and musicians complete transparency about their works and keep track of the royalties they are entitled for.

  1. Print media will embrace a digital future

COVID is driving the publishing industry to adopt a digital-first or digital-only model. Magazine publishing has suffered and popular magazines such as the Cosmopolitan SA closed their chapters recently. The New Normal also urged others to take a fresh perspective on creativity. Vogue Italia for instance donned a plain white cover sans celebs and models for their April 2020 issue.

There will be a symbiotic integration between print and online with more emphasis on customized content. As Ryan T. Sauers, President, Sauers Consulting explains, “Customers will receive more relevant information, and companies won’t waste money trying to cast larger nets. The traditional, mainstream blast-out-a-million-copies of something—I see that just dying a slow death.”

As per PwC, eBooks will see a greater demand and grow at a CAGR of 11.7% while the physical book publisher’s industry will decline at a CAGR of -2.8%.

Summing up

The New Normal brings along both opportunities and challenges. Due care however must be taken to safeguard the privacy of customers at all times. With rising subscriptions, comes the responsibility of ensuring data privacy too. While 64% of consumers are willing to share personal information and 83% are somewhat comfortable with using or storing biometric data with apps and services, 79% are pretty concerned about their data privacy as per a survey by Entrust.

It is crucial that M&E companies protect their data with strong encryption, high-assurance, and cloud-based authentication while also ensuring that consumers are educated about best practices surrounding data security. Transparent data collection applications and initiatives such as a promise to forget the data once services or subscriptions are discontinued can go a long way in gaining consumer trust.

Tune in with Trigent

The media and entertainment industry is in for some unprecedented changes. We can partner with you on this transformative journey thanks to our long and successful association with the world of M&E. Book a consultation and we will tell you how our technology solutions can serve as the perfect bedrock to help you thrive in 2021 and beyond. Call us today.