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Soon, subscribers will be receiving their copy of the 2022 Streaming Media Industry Sourcebook, our annual status check on the crucial changes in the online video industry over the past year, with an eye toward what we can expect to happen in the next 12 months (and the digital version is already online). The—yes, I'll say it—unprecedented changes we saw in 2020 only accelerated what those of us inside the industry have been predicting for more than 2 decades.

Streaming video is now at the very center of every part of our lives. (Well, most of us, anyway—more on that later.) The way we communicate at work, the way we interact with family and friends, the way we share milestone events in our personal lives, the way we consume all manner of audio and visual entertainment—streaming video is the way. And the process by which much of that content is created also changed dramatically, whe­ther it's blockbuster TV series like The Manda­lor­ian that are made using virtual production or business-to-business conferences that bring together speakers and audiences from around the world using remote production.

But I added the caveat "most of us" for a reason. It's easy for those of us in developed nations to take 100Mbps (or faster) internet speeds for granted, but according to a December 2021 United Nations report, 2.9 billion people around the world have never used the internet, much less connected on Zoom or watched YouTube. And even in developed nations like the U.S., the switch to virtual learning brought on by the pandemic revealed what many of us already knew: There are plenty of regions, mostly rural, where internet access is extremely limited and high-speed connectivity isn't available for miles.

So as you reflect on where our industry has been and where it's going, give some thought to helping an organization that is coming up with solutions: the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Help Me Stream Research Foundation. It is working to create streaming solutions for people with a lack of consistent broadband (and, sometimes, electricity). Our contributing editor Tim Siglin runs the foundation (full disclosure: I'm the chairman), and if you're interested in helping out with donations of money, services, or old equipment—time, talent, or treasure, as they say in church—visit hmsrf.org/donate.

[Editor's note: This article appears in the 2022 Streaming Media Industry Sourcebook.]

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