One of the most exciting areas that will be transforming the world of media in the coming years is the arrival of new ways of creating, distributing and consuming content that will allow for far more dynamic content and bring a far higher level of interactivity to our media consumption. In a few years, much of the content we consume may be based on something called Object-Oriented Media (OOM).
What is OOM? It is a way of producing and distributing media content using similar conceptual principles to Object Oriented Programing and/or Design*. For example, typically websites are built using responsive design, where the component parts of the website (text, graphics, A/V files, executable code, etc.) are stored and distributed separately, and only finally assembled together in the client device. This allows for far greater personalization and adaptation in a more efficient manner, such as adapting for different types of client devices, screen resolutions or individual preferences. Object-oriented media is based on the same idea – separation of component parts and final assembly in the client device. These component parts can include dialogues (including multiple languages), video clips, soundtracks, configuration files, etc. allowing for adaptation based on client technology (device, OS, etc.), context, environment and personal preferences.
To see a very simple example, go to BBC Taster and try CAKE. It allows each user/viewer to experience a cooking show at their own pace and according to their own level of cooking expertise. The actual experience in the end doesn’t feel much different from a normal show except with very minor interactive elements. But that is the point – it is being personalised for you in real time in a totally unobtrusive manner. In an ideal world, what goes on in the background should be transparent for the user.
CAKE is a very simple, maybe even simplistic example but it begins to show the power of Object-Oriented Media. Towards the future, we can see how this opens the door to a far greater degree of personalization and interactivity in media consumption. For a start, interactive movies or documentaries and extreme personalization but if we add adaptation based on data from IoT and wearables, social media or context (for example adapting content according to the weather, time of day or year or current events) we can begin to see what the media of the future might look like.
Imagine while watching a “movie” which is transparently adapting itself in terms of language, mood, length and even plot based on your profile (what you usually like such as musical tastes), context (where you are, time of day or year, are you on the move?, trending news or social media activity), your behaviour and bodily reactions (are you fidgeting?, eye movements, pulse rate) as well as of course, possible interactivity and explicit choices you may make. So far, this kind of interactive/dynamic content is not yet mainstream, but watch this space in the coming years!
* Object-Oriented Programing is a programming paradigm based on the concept of “objects”, which may contain data, in the form of fields, often known as attributes; and software code. A feature of objects is that an object’s code can access and often modify the data fields of the object with which they are associated. In OOP, computer programs are designed by making them out of objects that interact with one another. Similarly, Object-Oriented Design uses the same principles but applied to planning and designing a (usually software) system. From Wikipedia