Welcome to the fifteenth edition of Predictions for the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors. The last 15 years have been a golden era for innovation: multiple TMT products and services that we now take for granted were niche or non-existent back then.
In 2002, homes typically had dial-up Internet access, boxy television sets, wired speakers, standalone digital cameras, shopping catalogues and fixed line telephones. Photos were stored in albums and shelves bulged with CDs and DVDs; LPs had been banished to the attic or sold off.
‘Candy bar’ shaped mobile phones had monochrome screens and were predominantly used to make calls and exchange text messages. Instant messaging, e-mail, e-commerce, maps, search engines, photos, videos and other online services that are now routinely accessed via smartphones were predominantly PC-based at the start of 2002.
3G networks had only just launched commercially, offering speeds of a few hundred kilobits per second. As most homes still had dial-up Internet, it was faster for most people to visit a video rental store, return home, watch the film, and then return it rather than to wait for a file to download.
Over the last 15 years, connectivity has become steadily faster, enabling many new categories of service to become mainstream, including a number of current staple applications: search engines, social networks, video-on-demand, e- and m-commerce, app stores and online video games.
These new services have driven the growing appeal of digital devices; smartphones and tablets being the two standout devices to have emerged over the period. These new device types have tended to complement rather than usurp existing products.
While the past 15 years has witnessed startling change, it has also seen remarkable continuity. Broadcast television, radio, cinema, live entertainment, printed books and in-person meetings remain popular despite multiple digitally-enabled alternatives.
2016 promises to be yet another exciting year for the TMT sector. In this year’s edition we look at a fascinating array of trends, each developing at its own momentum.
We look forward to the progress of cognitive technologies in enterprise software, to new approaches in accelerating mobile commerce check-out, and to the progression of graphene. We highlight the continuing strength of demand for the PC – especially among millennials.
We welcome the commercial launch of virtual reality, and note the continued growth of both premium sports (with a focus on football in Europe), as well as the emerging eSports sector. We expect mobile should become the biggest games platform in 2016, overtaking console and PC.
We observe that the key traditional media of television and cinema should continue to hold their own, even if not growing. We explore the current and near-term impact of ad-blockers on mobile advertising revenues.
We discuss key drivers of bandwidth demand including the emergence of Gigabit to the home, trends in photo sharing and a continued rise in data exclusive communicators, as well as the potential impact of the take-up of network-managed voice over data services.