NEW YORK: Smartphone technology has developed a host of powerful and cheap computing components that will create totally new media, a new report suggests.
IPG Media Lab's 2017 Outlook study was based on reviews of more than 1,000 new companies and meetings with over 300, cataloguing their strengths and assessing their relevance to clients.
"The smartphone has become the universal product of the 21st century," the report said. "One day soon, everyone in the world will have access to the real-time information and communication a smartphone affords."
Beyond the capability of current smartphone screens, machine learning will imbue the hardware on devices with advanced intelligence.
"Everyone will soon have a high-quality networked camera, a highly-tuned microphone, and a precise record of where they are in the world. These sensors will increasingly be used not just to capture media, but also as their own full-fledged sources of data.
"Taken together, the camera and microphone as discrete inputs will provide additional context, and greatly increase our virtual assistants' ability to respond as a human would."
Elsewhere, the report highlights Snap, the parent company to the photo-sharing app Snapchat, as an indicator of how media is changing. The change in name and focus toward becoming a "camera company" has, the report said, deeper implications.
"Snap is the first company founded on the notion that our modern, networked cameras are fundamentally different than their analogue ancestors."
While Snapchat is preparing consumers for an augmented reality future, "along with that will come incredible amounts of data, which Snap will use to power its advertising platform," the study said.
Along with these new types of inputs come entirely new types of media: augmented reality platforms such as Snapchat and last summer's much-hyped Pokémon Go were, in fact preparing consumers for a new, much larger media world.
Realities, both virtual and augmented, are two sides of the same coin, according to the report. "Virtual reality is the purest media experience we've ever created, fully immersing us in content. And augmented reality will be the inverse: pushing media out to every corner of our physical world."
Data sourced from IPG Media Lab; additional content by WARC staff