The New Year is characterized by a crop of telecom predictions from various research firms, consultancies and industry observers. This year, there have been more articles predicting key trends than ever before, with industry tech forecasts enjoying a clear boom in popularity.
Last year’s predictions focused on next-generation software, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data. In general, this year’s predictions argue that science fiction risks becoming reality, with rising stars for Virtual Reality (VR), drones, wearables, ambient environments, cognitive and machine learning. Convergence in predictions is also strongly evident, with forecasts for mobile crossing over into the domain of Information Technology (IT), while a few telecom issues feeding back into the IT and Internet domains (most notably, the potential of 5G for underpinning IoT connectivity).
In overview, the next five years will bring immense and accelerating disruption to the IT and telecom industries, bringing a new set of dominant vendors to the fore, to the disadvantage of legacy players. Reviewing the industry, Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research forecasts that overall, 2016 will see:
- expected declines in tablets and PCs;
- a flattening in the smartphone market;
- overall modest uptake for wearables and other new hardware categories;
- the first examples of foldable/bendable displays in finished product prototypes — and maybe even the real products themselves.
Experience suggests that people have a tendency to over-estimate the impact of technology in the short-term, but underestimate its impact over the long-term. Very few sources actually look back to check how correct they were last year – Deloitte, GP Bullhound and the FT are the obvious exceptions as sources which do carry out ‘due diligence’.
Table 1 summarizes a few of the key predictions covered in the expanded article here, which explores and contrasts major telecom/IT predictions from key sources. One thing is for sure – the next few years are going to be exciting – hold onto your hats – and your VR glasses!
|2013-2016||2013 and 2014 were the years everyone started talking about Big Data; 2015 was the year companies started using Big Data; 2016 is the year we shall gain insights from Big Data.||ITU|
|2014-2018||First trials of Google’s autonomous car, the Koala, began in 2014-2015. Observers suggest we’ll see the first fully autonomous cars successfully road-tested by 2018.||Google; PC Mag|
|2016||First bendable displays in finished product prototypes||Bob O’Donnell, Technalysis|
|Late 2016||FAA set to publish regulations for drones in US||FAA|
|2016-2018||Only 1% of all apps use cognitive services – by 2018, half of all apps will.||IDC|
|2017||First drone deliveries by Google, Amazon, Walmart and other players in the U.S.||Eweek.com|
|2018||Wi-Fi traffic is set to exceed all 2G, 3G and 4G cellular traffic combined||ABI Research|
|2019||10 billion devices capable of connecting to home routers will be installed in households worldwide by 2019||Wi-Fi Alliance.|
By Pippa Biggs
Pippa Biggs is Senior Policy Analyst and Content Coordinator of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. She is lead author and editor of the annual “State of Broadband” report charting the latest trends in the global broadband industry. Pippa has previously worked for the World Economic Forum, UNCTAD and Deloitte.