INTERNATIONAL. According to the predictions of Deloitte’s annual report on top technology trends for 2012, demand for consumer technology will continue to advance in 2012 with record numbers of smartphones and tablets likely to be sold and demand from emerging markets, including the Middle East, for lower-cost televisions and computers boosting volumes.
“Despite this upward trend in sales, the dollar value of the market may prove to be flat as lower prices and the value for money of technology becomes more paramount,” said Emmanuel Durou, Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) director at Deloitte in the Middle East.
He added: “The cost of technology has plummeted over the past three decades and the usage of a tablet and a television, compared to a car, overseas holiday or sporting event, proves that consumer electronics fare well in terms of value. Compared to the cost of buying a car or a house, an investment in consumer electronics could become an alternative status symbol for consumers with constrained budgets. Buyers may even sacrifice vacations in order to upgrade to a new computer and television rather than choosing which device to buy.”
The Deloitte report also highlighted a number of 2012 technology predictions:
It takes two to tablet: the rise of the multi-tablet owner
The tablet explosion has shown little sign of slowing down since the format hit the market in 2010 and it is set to take the mantle of the most rapid ‘multi-anything’ market penetration in history. Roughly five million tablets will be sold to people that already owned one in 2012 generating up to US$2 billion in revenue.
In contrast, it took several decades for one household to have more than one car, phone, radio or television and ten years for a similar landmark to be reached in the computing and mobile phone markets. However the tablet market will diversify around size, processing power, price and operating system in 2012 as was the case with smart phones.
Corporations are also likely to require tablets with greater security and ruggedness. That presents a challenge for content owners, network operators and retailers that need to prepare to respond to the rise in the multi-tablet household.
Billions and billions: big data becomes a big deal
The Deloitte report also indicated that big data projects had a total industry revenue of only US$100 million in 2009. However 2012 will see 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies kick off a big data initiative which will boost trigger industry revenue of between US$1 billion and 1.5 billion.
Big data is still in its infancy, mostly used for meteorology and physics simulations, but interest is gaining pace as data warehouses start to overflow and the need for ‘real-time’ analysis puts strain on traditional analytics tools. Internet companies have led the way with exploring big data but fast follower sectors are likely to include the public sector, financial services, retail, entertainment and media.
This could trigger a talent shortage with up to 190,000 skilled professionals needed to cope with demand in the US alone over the next five years. Meanwhile companies launching initiatives need to take a disciplined and targeted approach to big data.
Hard times for the hard drive: solid state storage
The storage technology used for the world’s consumer devices is mostly taken for granted by consumers by the increasing desire for smaller, lighter gadgets and the advent of the cloud could provide a boost for the solid-state drive providers.
The Deloitte 2012 technology report predicts that by the end of 2012, solid state storage for small devices such as MP3 players, smartphones and tablets will likely account for 90 per cent of the market, compared to 20 per cent in 2006, and a sixth of the laptop segment. Even in data center market could turn to smaller, cooler, power-sipping solid state drives as an alternative to more traditional hard drives.
The technology, which builds storage onto silicon chips, should benefit from more savvy consumer behavior who will start to pay more attention to how much storage they actually need on specific devices, particularly as more cloud-based storage services become available.
Ambient Radio Frequency Power Harvesting: A Drop in the Bucket
Wireless power transmission - where TV towers and mobile phone masts could be used to create a sea of ambient Radio Frequency energy to power devices - has been a dream since the age of Nikola Tesla. However power harvesting products based on RF will remain a niche market during 2012 due to significant technical challenges. One issue is the scarcity of ambient RF energy with solar a much more plentiful resource.
Another problem is that the amount of power density from a RF source varies dramatically depending on the distance and location of the user. Interference from other environmental factors and the conversion process also add hurdles.
Charging a tablet in this manner would be like filling a swimming pool with a shot glass. There are a few applications - such as ceiling sensors and remote controls - that may be tuned to RF but the sector will remain niche with moderate growth potential in 2012.
3D printing is here - but the factory in every home isn’t here yet!
3D printing has caught the attention of the public but the hype around the technology does not recognise the severe limitations of the concept. The Deloitte 2012 technology predictions indicate that the ability to download designs for anything imaginable and create the product on the spot will become a viable segment in several niche markets over the coming years such as the US$22 billion global power tools market, the biomedical sector and the after-sales service industries such as auto repair.
It is likely that several ‘do-it-yourself’ enthusiasts to invest in 3D printers as prices drop below US$1,000 in 2012 but the cost of the materials needed to create a product as prosaic as a running shoe remains specialised and expensive. Sales in 2012 will likely remain below US$200 million and anyone expecting the era of the Star Trek “replicator” may have to wait awhile yet.
The 2012 series of Predictions has drawn on internal and external inputs from conversations with member firm clients, contributions from Deloitte member firms’ 7,000 partners and managers specializing in TMT, and discussions with industry analysts as well as interviews with leading executives from around the world.
For further details about Deloitte's Technology, Media & Telecommunications industry practice, please click here.
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.
Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte's approximately 182,000 professionals are committed to becoming the standard of excellence.
For more information, please visit please www.deloitte.com/about
About Deloitte & Touche (M.E.):
Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and is the first Arab professional services firm established in the Middle East region with uninterrupted presence for over 85 years.
Deloitte is among the region’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through 26 offices in 15 countries with over 2,500 partners, directors and staff. It is a Tier 1 Tax advisor in the GCC region (International Tax Review World Tax 2010, 2011 and 2012 Rankings) and was recognized as the 2010 Best Consulting Firm of the Year in the Complinet GCC Compliance Awards.
In 2011, the firm received the Middle East Training & Development Excellence Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).