Nokia has announced its vision for the future of digital entertainment in 2025, which it calls ‘Any Vision’. It describes an immersive, dynamic and highly personalized consumer entertainment experience, in a world where screens will be everywhere. The Any Vision concept is built around the proposition that any show from anyone can be enjoyed on any surface at any time.

Nokia, once best known for its mobile phones, rather missed out on the smartphone revolution and sold the phone business to Microsoft, but has grown into a network company through the buyout of the Nokia Siemens Networks joint and the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.

Not surprisingly, Nokia now believes the future of connected entertainment experiences lies in the network, in what it calls a virtualized user experience platform. That is nothing to do with virtual reality but the reality is that enabling a seamless connected experience across different devices requires more intelligence in the network.

Nokia suggests that the smartphone or tablet will serve as the anchor device, while aggregation of broadcast and IP-delivered content via advanced algorithms will recommend programming based on personal interest, social media engagement, daily schedule and other factors. Ultimately, this will enable consumers to access content in a highly personalized and customizable environment, unconstrained by linear programming and walled garden accounts.

The use of the term surface, rather than screen, is significant. It could be a picture on the wall, or a mirror. It also allows for images that can be projected onto any surface, unconstrained by the size of a physical device or screen. That could be a wall, a window, a table, a windscreen, or the even some form of eyewear.

The traditional remote control is no use in such a world, which may require new forms of gestural interface, or eye tracking.

Another insight is that the user interface may need to vary according to context. Children may want a different user experience to their parents, for instance. The experience may be different depending on the time of day or the type of programming.

“Mainstream consumers are demanding ubiquitous access to content they care about across a range of screens and display devices – whether at home or on the go. As the explosion of video delivery options continues to feed that demand, we believe television as we know it today will be unrecognizable by 2025,” said Paul Larbey, head of the IP video business at Nokia.

“We are seeing the changes already. The challenge for operators is helping it all evolve in a coherent and connected fashion that maximizes the power of the technologies driving innovation. Our role is to provide our partners with tools they can immediately implement to offer a seamless and personal experience to their ultimate consumer.”

The suggestion is that the network provider will be best placed to offer a seamless user experience across any surface. That assumes the user has the same network service provider for all devices. Many service providers do indeed offer a combination of fixed and mobile access but many households may use a combination of different service providers.

Alternatively, services may not care about how the data gets there, over the top of any available network. That is the Apple or Netflix model, where the user has a relationship with the brand and connectivity is an assumed utility.

However, if network providers do not want to be considered as a utility they will need to build more intelligence into their networks to take advantage of their knowledge of the identity and activity of their customers.