Last updated: 10.03.14

Is TV the next big tech battle ground and newest e-learning opportunity?

If you believe Jim Patterson of Yammer’s maxim "What you do in your personal life moves into the workplace." We should all be paying attention to the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

While BYOD still has some considerable way to go (a recent HP piece of research into the adoption of Mobile Business in the public sector told us that only that only “59% of organisations felt equipped to meet the challenges of making the organisation mobile.”) the trend will continue and the devices used in our lives for learning will continue to evolve quite rapidly.

However the purpose of this blog is to look forward and be that brave individual who predicts the future role Consumer Electronics will play in e-learning.

Device Evolution:

There is no doubt the utility and shiny appeal of the smartphone and tablet in the hands of employees proved a game changer and the BYOD phenomena is the result.

CES saw the launch of new chip sets aimed at improving the power and performance of mobile device such as NVIDIA new Tegra K1 that will provide tablets with greater processing power than many laptops and desktops.

We have in previous blogs noted the vast rise in tablet usage and the profusion of new entrants to the market, and the differentiation and segmentation of the market will continue powered by device evolution around style, price, performance, configuration of the eco-system (Google Play or Apple i-store etc…) and utility.

Device Adoption

The games console and hand held games consoles have long been coveted by the L&D and e-learning industry as a way of delivering the holy grail of gamification. Video Gaming is no longer a pursuit of teenagers, the number of gamers is huge, but whilst there were some imaginative e-learning courses developed on Nintendo’s DS, to date the crossover from video gaming to e-learning has been limited.

While the e-learning industry has worked on its own to create game based learning solutions, the two worlds of video games developers and e-learning’s “serious gamers” have not yet collided or collaborated.

This could all change as new consoles come into the market…rumours abound of a new a Google Android operating system and an Apple gaming console. Importantly Gartner Research predicts that 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations by 2016.

New Devices

Wearable technology was everywhere at CES. Google Glasses were the most commonly mentioned “wearable” but vendors including Intel and Samsung are developing a range of ‘wearables’ including smart-watches, earbuds, headsets and even shoulder pads and “onesies” for infants. Intel and UK based ARM are evolving the old canteen adage from "chips with everything” to “chips in everything".

Some of these devices will succeed and some will fail….whilst others will evolve in ways yet to be considered. How they will evolve toward e-learning will be even more interesting – keep watching the consumer, we will too and keep you posted!

A new generation of Apps and augmented reality products will no doubt emerge around these products as new eco-systems develop. This will generate huge amounts of data and we are sure a considerable number of “life-learning” opportunities and interactions will arrive.

The new battleground

While we could see TVs as device evolution, there are some huge structural and technical changes predicted for this market, which is why we predict this to be the next technology battleground and potentially the new big opportunity for e-learning.

Rumours of Apple and Google are looking at the TV as the next big opportunity is causing much excitement.

The TV set alone is not the game changer, remember 3D TV did not really break through at home, for e-learning or in the classroom in the short term even though BETT 2012 was full of e-learning materials aligned for 3D TVs. Vendors continue to innovate in terms of new devices, but it is the new internet enabled eco-systems and their content offer that will define the market.

The new TV will be the Internet enabled TV fused with a new generation of Digital Video Recorders such as Boxee (a pioneer has already been snapped up by Samsung), Roku or Cloud based vendor Aereo are attracting great interest.

The DVR revolution using the internet to stream content is seen by investment gurus Motley Fool as being hugely disruptive to the cable TV industry in the USA. In addition they note Google’s Fiber project as significant, (noted in Wikipedia

With power of the DVR (on-board the TV, in the cloud or as a separate device) to manage and select content, a super-fast internet connection, PC level+ processing power in the TV and the Tablet as a controller and interaction device it is quite possible that highly interactive e- learning materials will resonate with learners and that perhaps e-learning channels or libraries will emerge and the true potential of TV e-learning will arrive….with a little help from your tablet too.

As with gaming the TV has promised much for e-learning but its utilisation has been limited to date. Indeed TV genre e-learning materials have been produced, but the leap from the computer monitor to the TV screen by the learner has been slow.

So there you have a number of predictions… – consoles and gamification, wearable devices and the TV.

As ever the team here at Virtual College are keeping up to date with these developments and we are always happy to discuss any of these technologies with you….even if it is something as old fashioned as mobile learning!

Vendors mentioned: