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4 December 2023

Predictions 2024 – 1 of 7 Insights

Technology and media predictions 2024

Graham Hann looks at predictions for technology and media in 2024.


Graham Hann


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As 2023 draws to a close we take our annual look at a few developments we're likely to see in the technology and media sectors in 2024 and beyond. While AI is set to be the headline grabbing technology in 2024 and well into the future, this is covered here, and so in this piece we have focused on other technologies and developments (albeit with some reference to AI given its prevalence).

AR superpowers to emerge?

Neither AR nor VR are new concepts, and neither technology is a stranger to hyperbole. History is perhaps littered with false dawns with Google Glass being the poster child. However, some in the industry are predicting that AR at least may start to find its mojo in 2024.Last year Digital Trends lauded the future of AR, predicting that it might even herald the ultimate replacement of the smart phone, citing on the one hand the growing intrigue around immersive experiences and the predicted growth of the combined AR and VR market, while on the other, the physical limitation of full VR devices rendering AR the more likely front runner for mass adoption.

In arguing the case for AR, Digital Trends acknowledged that while VR experiences are much more immersive than AR, they disconnect users form the real world, shutting out our actual reality completely, confusing our senses, and thus potentially causing discomfort through long periods of use.AR, on the other hand, bridges the two, forming a connection between reality and the augmented world delivered to our eyeballs. Of course, AR is already here – we all use satellite imagery in Google maps (other products are available) as well as our camera app to access QR codes on menus and other information. This existing familiarity, combined with the relative ease of use, supports the assertion in favour of AR's growth. Familiarity is a theme supporting AR growth, given most AR headsets are available as a pair of glasses, an item already worn daily by 6 out of 10 people in the UK, and 200 million in the US.

Apple has, in the past, driven new product categories. Its Ski-goggle-reminiscent Vision Pro mixed AR/VR headset was announced earlier this year (reviewed here by Tech Radar).It's an impressive piece of kit, housing a 4k display and using 12 cameras and 5 sensors, allowing control through hands, eyes and voice, and is headlined as Apple's first special computer and '3D camera'. This is exciting but its reach will be questionable for a number of reasons:

  • A £3k price tag will favour wealthy early adopters but not the mass market.
  • Its 'disconnected' headset design will limit longer periods.
  • Its 'Eyesight' feature, displaying the user's eyes on the exterior of the headset, an attempt to introduce a more human element to a closed off experience, may creep some users out.
  • While it can be plugged in, its battery drain will be heavy.
  • Apple claims it can replace your TV, but it's debatable how well that will work for a family shared experience.

However, it looks like its 'Apple Glass' will be a much more utilitarian product, resembling a somewhat lightweight and sober pair of spectacles.According to apple insider, gone will be the ugly, protruding camera of Google Glass, with the Apple product instead using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology.This is a technology that uses transmitted laser light to measure precise distances between objects, by bouncing off them and measuring the time of flight (toF), much like radar, and enabling AR platforms to generate precise topographical images of surroundings.The technology is often cited as key for autonomous vehicles.With a rumoured launch date in 2024 or 2025, Apple Glass might do for the AR segment what its watch did for the smart watch space.Indeed, in a note to customers Apple has stated that it wants to replace the iPhone with AR in ten years.According to Digital Trends, if AR glasses become part of the norm for many of us, "humanity will attain a superpower that phones may never be able to replicate"

Advertising will follow the audience

Meanwhile in the media sector, and specifically advertising, Forrester predicts a continued shift in advertising spend towards targeting social media platforms favoured by Gen Zers and Millennials, with those audiences spending their screen time on non-premium video and gaming environments. With claims that around 40% of UK and US young adults say they use TikTok "constantly", it may be that TikTok, will command the lion's share of media budgets next year with video gaming predicted to become the fastest growing ad-supported media channel in 2024.

In other forecasting around marketing and advertising, the US' Association of National Advertisers, ANA, has published a series of predictions describing how brands will continue to adapt their messaging and targeting to align with customers' shifting behaviour and attitudes. 

  • First off, customers like compelling, live content - ANA predicts that video marketing will continue to grow in 2024 as a key format through which to reach customers, with live streaming becoming more key to campaigns, and brands hosting more live events, product launches, and behind-the-scenes experiences to deliver immersive and compelling content.
  • Second, with customers now spending more time than ever on social media, and becoming used to making purchases on social platforms, ANA also forecasts that brands will invest heavily in social commerce, focusing on better enabling customers to purchase products directly from their social media feeds, and optimising their social media profiles for sales.
  • Third, customers care more than ever about brands' values and social responsibility, and purpose. As such, brand campaigns will need to align more than ever with these themes, as customers continue to make buying decisions based on brands' stated social responsibility and purpose, with advertisers highlighting their commitment to social causes and sustainability.

2024 - a year of elections

It is not just the UK that is likely to see an election in 2024.The year is set to see presidential and general elections in 40 countries, including in the major economises of US, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Russia, as well as the European Parliament elections. These elections will impact, directly or indirectly, around 3.2 billion people, around 40% of the world's population and 42% of the world's Gross Domestic Product.Technology is thus likely to play a key role in the geo-political future of the world.  

Deepfake ads are widely predicted to become the primary accelerant for election misinformation, with deepfake advertising hitting 'crisis levels' in the 2024 election season. This will push the whack-a-mole/arms-race between bad actors and platforms to another level, accentuating the need for platforms, brands, agencies, SSPs and publishers to come together to leverage their collective technical scanning resources to curb the spread of misinformation. The EU's Political Advertising Regulation is intended to be in place in time for the EU Parliament elections. Meta has stated that it will begin labelling political ads that use AI-generated imagery, and Microsoft will allow campaigns to insert a digital watermark in ads. AI-generated disinformation has been one of the most pressing issues discussed by attendees of the UK-hosted AI Safety Summit, as we discuss here, and 2024 is likely to show the extent of its role in influencing elections.

Machines will be our fastest growing customer channel

We have written about the Internet of Things (IoT) on previous occasions (including here), but 2024 is likely to see continued developments both in the home and in industry, notably in the automotive/mobility sectors.

According to Gartner (Top 10 Technology Trends 2024: The Future of Innovation - BlueSoft), Machine Customers, or non-human economic actors, are set to become a significant part of the business sector.

According to Gartner's book When Machines Become Customers, there are more machines with the potential to act as buyers than humans on the planet, with more than 9.7 billion installed IoT devices, each with an improving ability to analyse information and make decisions. Machine-buying is not new – many of us use services to automatically re-order our printer ink for example, an instance of machines acting as 'co-customers' where the owner sets the rules and the machine acts on its behalf.  Soon Gartner predicts more of a hybrid AI-powered model where people still essentially set the rules for machines to act as ‘adaptable customers’, and take a greater role in the buying decision. In time, Gartner predicts a further phase where the machines act as truly autonomous customers, making buying decisions independently of humans. Given these machines will be able to make these decisions based on pure data analysis and logic, without emotion or influence from slick advertising or store-fronts, retailers will need to find new ways to influence buying decisions. Gartner predicts that by 2028, machine customers will render 20% of human-readable digital storefronts obsolete.

Machine customers are a unique aspect of the evolving business landscape. They introduce new possibilities in commerce and business relationships. By embracing this trend, businesses can tap into new market opportunities and create innovative solutions.

Ambient computing will help us organise our lives

Machine to machine trading is perhaps an example of 'Ambient computing'.According to Exploding Topics this concept builds on IoT, leveraging 'invisible' technology running in the background between devices.As ever, AI plays a key role, enabling the interpretation of data gathered from physical devices in real time, so that devices communicate with users as well as other devices.A simple example is cited - a person disembarking a flight being alerted as to the progress of their bags to baggage reclaim, followed by the arrival of their rideshare to their hotel and the subsequent ordering of a coffee on arrival.

Intelligent mobility will take off

IoT is also revolutionising the automotive industry, with most modern cars now being subject to regular Over The Air software updates in the same way as our smartphones.2024 will see the one millionth electrical vehicle sold in the UK.While the potential for cars to communicate with each other (vehicle to vehicle or V2V) and for transport infrastructure to communicate to improve road safety, has seemed a distant dream for some time, recent advances in IoT, as well as in remote image sensing technology (see LiDAR above) are starting to make this more of a reality for the near future.Enabling vehicles to share information as to location, speed and direction, means they can detect and avoid potential hazards, and a vehicle suddenly applying its brakes can communicate this in real time to nearby vehicles.

It has long been recognised that in an ecosystem that only consists of connected vehicles, traffic delays can effectively be eliminated given the vehicles can practically drive bumper to bumper, slowing and accelerating in unison.According to Cognitive Clouds, "The intersection of IoT and automotive technology has given birth to smart cars and connected vehicles, disrupting our concept of mobility. In this intelligent ecosystem, cars aren't merely machines that get us from point A to B but comprehensive platforms capable of delivering unprecedented efficiency, safety, and personalized experience."

There are challenges and threats – increased connectivity brings increased risk of cyber security threats from bad actors, as well as privacy concerns around user data (not least location), and also Telecoms regulation and consumer protection laws, all as explored previously here.The UK recently published its Automated Vehicles Bill (which deals with liability among other issues) and Germany's Autonomous Driving Act has been in force since 2021, but there is also the need for standardisation around interoperability, meaning collaboration is required across all stakeholders.


'Web3' is perhaps one of the least understood terms in the technology sector, with many conflating it simply with crypto, or the Metaverse.McKinsey describes it in wide conceptual terms as "a future model for the internet that decentralizes authority and redistributes it to users, potentially giving them increased control over how their personal data are monetized and stronger ownership of digital assets".2023 heralded much excitement about Web3, and we seemed set for an explosion of new decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) and other commercial and legal models.

However the past year has certainly not yielded the headlines as to new models, use cases and investments to demonstrate the momentum that might have been expected.Many argue we remain in the foothills, and time will bring a multitude of opportunities including eliminating intermediaries through smart contract automation, services involving digital programmable assets, as well as data storage and governance using blockchain technology. McKinsey recognises that while Web3 has commanded significant investment and engineering talent, business models are still in large part in the nascent, testing stage.

Bell-weather constituents have not fared well; the crypto market was massively buffeted by the spectacular failures of 2022, not least due to the fall of FTX and Terra, and lost the bulk of its value, and 2023 has seen a continued bear market.However, the cryptocurrency market maintains a cap of around $1.4 trillion (Cryptocurrency Prices, Charts And Market Capitalizations | CoinMarketCap ) and 2024 might be more positive. The development of zero-knowledge proof systems is a potential growth factor, through enabling transaction verification without disclosure of underlying data, thus addressing privacy and security concerns.At the same time 2024 will see Bitcoin undergo its fourth halving, cutting the supply of new bitcoin and potentially driving prices to new highs.

In other eye-catching predictions…

  • In its annual round of predictions for the Technology sector, GP Bullhound forecasts a private sector space race with Satellites orbiting Earth to increase from c.8,000 today to over 100,000 in the next 10 years, as well as an Apple ad-free subscription based search engine.
  • Apple is also the subject of a CCS Insight prediction, forecasting that at the start of 2024, more than half of the 1.3 billion iPhones in use will be pre-owned handsets (compared to 25% for Android devices), with the average life of an Apple handset being 8 years and Apple taking a greater role in the supply chain for used devices, such as through a verification system. CCS also predicts that 15% of smartphones in use will be satellite-enabled, and that by 2025, connectivity performance will become mandated as part of sales of property in a major European market.
  • Not surprisingly, many commentators are focusing on the growth in technologies deployed to tackle climate change.The Recursive predicts significant growth in carbon accounting software, used by businesses to assess and reduce their climate impact, as well as – more generally - increased focus on Climate Fintech, being the industry mashup of climate, fintech and digital technology, with key verticals set for continued growth including carbon offsetting, ESG reporting and impact investing.
  • In its annual round of 'Non-predictions' Forrester calls out the recent safety concerns around Robotaxis (here) as the reason regulators will be holding back their introduction, predicting instead a boom in self-driving industrial vehicles such as fork-lifts as well as curbside delivery robots. Starship Technologies autonomous delivery robots have made more than 5 million autonomous deliveries including in the UK.

That wraps up our predictions for another year, and as ever their value can go down as well as up. We did try asking ChatGPT for its predictions but we think ours are better, and we don't think that will change in 2024.

To discuss any of these predictions, or other topics covered in our thought leadership, please reach out to a member of our Technology, Media & Communications team.

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