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Xperiel 2019 Predictions: How Sports Betting, AR, IoT will Transform Entertainment and Soften the Economic Downturn

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Alex Hertel, CEO and co-founder of Xperiel

How Sports Betting, AR, IoT will Transform Entertainment and Soften the Economic Downturn

According to Xperiel CEO and cofounder Alex Hertel, 2019 will bring an explosion of AR adoption and integration with legacy technologies. It will transform the way consumers interact with the environment around them and with brands. From changing how we interact with our favorite sports teams through interactive predictive gaming and sports betting, to grassroots access to app development softening the blow of the next major economic downturn, this year will herald a tipping point in consumer tech adoption that will enhance the human experience in new ways. Read on for Alex’s 2019 predictions.

  • Three-quarters of sports venues will feature some kind of augmented reality  experience for fans in 2019: In 2018 sports teams saw attendance dropping at live sports games-and empty seats aren't good for business. The modern fan wants immersive experiences and to stay connected with teams in novel ways. Taking the cue from teams like the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, the NBA's Sacramento Kings and the NHL's San Jose Sharks, in 2019, three-quarters of sports venues will have some form of augmented reality deployed to meet the expectations of the modern fan for new experiences that keep them entertained and coming back for more.  
  • The rise of grassroots AR and VR development will lead to the mass adoption of this technology: Although both augmented reality and virtual reality have been around for a few years, mass adoption feels far away. Consumers cite the high price of VR gear leading to their disillusionment, while businesses cite the prohibitive expense of developing VR and AR apps. As AR and VR content and app creation becomes democratized - for example through graphical programming language Pebbles from Xperiel that enables anyone, anywhere to create device-agnostic apps - these technologies will become more accessible to more people, driving a Cambrian explosion in AR and VR. No longer will the mechanisms of immersive tech be confined to Silicon Valley or those with expensive technical degrees.
  • Millennials vs Big Tech: citizens will reject technology without built-in privacy protections: Data privacy has become an increasingly polarizing topic and has gone mainstream. This year, the EU implemented GDPR and Facebook's data privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 U.S. presidential election came to light. As we enter 2019, the public-in particular Millennials-will lead the charge for data privacy, only purchasing technologies with built-in privacy protections. A study found that Millennials are "more likely to use new tools to find out if their data has been stolen" and that 45 percent of Millennials do not trust companies to keep their personal data safe. Tech companies are responding by building products that prioritize data privacy, like HP's new laptop with built-in privacy screen.
  • Tech and politics make an even more potent cocktail: In 2019, expect tech to get even more political. With tech talent moving away from Silicon Valley and into neighboring states and the nation's heartland, we are seeing tech hubs thrive in states including Wyoming, Ohio and Nevada in part due to Silicon Valley's climbing cost of living. But what about going international? As we approach the next economic downturn, expect our government to debate policies that would stifle technological innovation and drive tech talent to move out of the United States to nations with more favorable regulations. At the same time, American inventors and entrepreneurs will keep the spectre of such possible regulations in mind as they decide where to build their companies, making pre-emptive bets on starting their companies abroad.
  • AI, IoT, AR and VR tech will soften the blow in the next economic downturn and accelerate the upswing: If history is any indicator, the world is about due for a downturn, and when the inevitable happens, tech will generate new job opportunities that soften the impact. The democratization and proliferation of application development in domains spanning AI, IoT, AR and VR will lead that charge and help us boomerang into the next upswing. With more of the public having access to resources needed to create commercial products with these technologies across the globe, new jobs and new markets will be born that will fuel the next global economic growth period.
  • Great Expectations: the resurgence of substance over brevity: 2018 was the year of the podcast. The more than 550,000 available podcasts reflect a fascinating shift in consumer preference towards long-form content over shorter content. It's substance over brevity again - after all, you can only say so much with 280 fleeting characters. A lot has been said about the demise of the attention span, but people are becoming fatigued of too much short form content. As attention spans begin to rise in 2019, so will the bar for entertainment. But since consumer choices keep increasing, brands need to develop new consumer engagement strategies by creating immersive experiences rather than expecting old school passive consumption from the public, or they risk being left behind.
  • Sports gambling becomes less of a gamble-the inevitable regulation of sports betting: In May 2018, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling whereby states can now legalize sports betting. With legislative sessions beginning in January 2019, expect to see more states join Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, in the legalization of statewide sports betting. But with great power, comes great responsibility: who is responsible for regulating sports betting to make sure that coaches, players or team owners can't influence the game? Look to the U.S. Congress to take the lead in the inevitable regulation of sports betting in 2019 and beyond... but also expect sports gamblers not taking betting regulations lying down. We will see a rift between the desires of the gambler and the regulating bodies that could end up driving some sports betters away. Immersive technology that engages fans will help make them stay.


About the Author

Alex Hertel 

Alex Hertel is CEO and co-founder of Xperiel. He is an entrepreneur, academic, industry innovator, and inventor who has authored many patents. Based in Silicon Valley, he is an expert in the convergence of emerging immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) to make the physical world digitally interactive. Alex holds a PhD in theoretical computer science from the University of Toronto.

Alex and his brother Philipp founded online payment technology startup Walleto, which was acquired by Google in 2013 and became the foundation for Google Wallet. In 2016, Alex and Philipp launched Xperiel to bring the Real World Web (RWW) to life, creating the universal platform for blending real-world and digital experiences.

Published Monday, February 04, 2019 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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