Tech to watch: Smart speakers, 5G networks, cloud-based AI adoption
Deloitte forecasts smart speakers will be worth $7 billion in 2019, becoming the fastest-growing connected device category in history, selling 164 million units at an average selling price of US$43. Total industry revenues will be up 63 percent, compared to $4.3 billion in 2018.
In its 18th edition of “Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions,” Deloitte also predicts that fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks will arrive at scale, providing faster connections for consumers and enterprises, and opening new revenue opportunities for telecommunication companies. Furthermore, cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) software and services will make it easier for companies to benefit from AI, accelerating AI’s adoption and enabling enterprises of all sizes to experience its benefits.
“2019 will see massive improvements in a wide range of technologies, pushing once-novel innovations into the mainstreams of our lives and work,” said Sandra Shirai, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP; and U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader. “Emerging technologies are blurring traditional industry lines, impacting people and organizations; as a society, we’ll be smarter, more productive and more deeply engaged with the world around us.”
The democratization of AI
Deloitte predicts that in 2019 companies will further accelerate usage of cloud-based AI software and services. Among companies using AI, over 70 percent will obtain
AI capabilities through cloud-based enterprise software and 65 percent will create AI applications using cloud-based development services. By 2020, the penetration rate of enterprise software with AI built in, and cloud-based AI development services, will reach an estimated 87 and 83 percent respectively.
“So far, AI’s initial benefits have been predominantly accrued by ‘tech giants’ with extensive financial resources, strong IT infrastructure and highly-specialized human capital,” said Paul Sallomi, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, global TMT industry leader and U.S. technology sector leader. “However, the cloud will power increased efficiencies and better returns on investment, and we expect these benefits to rapidly extend beyond AI ’s pioneers to the wider enterprise.”
The new network arrives
Wireless operators have been pouring resources into 5G network development – in fact, 72 operators are currently testing this offering – and Deloitte forecasts that in 2019, 25 wireless operators will launch 5G service, a figure that will likely double by 2020. In total, over 1 million 5G handsets are expected to be sold in 2019, and that number should expand to 15 to 20 million units by 2020. A further one million 5G modems/pucks are also predicted to sell in 2019.
“It won’t happen overnight, but 5G will profoundly change our interactions and experiences, which is good news for consumers as they demand better performance and more access to content,” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. telecommunications, media and entertainment sector leader, Deloitte LLP. “Higher speeds and lower latency will enable new and innovative consumer experiences in areas from augmented reality to entertainment to medicine and smart cities.”
Additional topics from Deloitte’s 2019 TMT Predictions include:
• China’s connectivity nurtures new digital business models: Deloitte predicts China will have world-leading telecommunications networks in 2019 and most likely in the medium term. Its communications infrastructure will provide a foundation for at least three significant new industries, each of which could generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue annually by 2023.
• Betting on sports broadcasting: Deloitte predicts 60 percent of North American men ages 18 to 34 who watch sports on TV will also bet on sports. As a result, about 40 percent of all U.S.-based TV watching by men 25 to 34 years old will be driven by sports betting.
• 3D printing breaks through: Sales of enterprise 3D printers, materials, and services from large public companies will surpass $2.7 billion in 2019 and top $3 billion in 2020, growing 12.5 percent annually each year. The list of possible 3D-printable materials has more than doubled in the last five years, which (along with other improvements) has led to a rebound in the industry’s growth potential.
• eSports continue to surge: The North American eSports market will expand by 35 percent powered by advertising, broadcast licensing, and franchise sales. North American eSports franchise leagues will expand into specific U.S. cities, following the professional sports model.
• Radio remains relevant: Deloitte predicts that over 85 percent of the adult population will listen to radio at least weekly in the developed world (the same proportion as in 2018), although reach will vary in the developing world. Combined, nearly 3 billion people worldwide will listen to radio weekly. In the U.S., Deloitte expects that more than 90 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds will listen to radio at least weekly in 2019, and will likely spend more time listening to radio than watching traditional TV by 2025.
• Evaluating quantum computing: Quantum computing (computers that use quantum-mechanical phenomena) will emerge as one of the largest new technology revenue opportunities over the next decade but are unlikely to replace classical computers. The future quantum computing market is expected to be comparable to that of the supercomputer market – around $50 billion per year by the 2030s.
• China expands technological prowess: Revenues for Chinese-manufactured semiconductors will grow by 25 percent to approximately $110 billion in 2019, to meet the increasing domestic demand for chips driven in part by the growing commercialization of AI. Also, in 2019, a Chinese chip foundry will begin producing semiconductors specialized to support AI and machine learning tasks.
“The next wave of technological transformation is reaching the shore. Artificial intelligence is evolving rapidly from the domain of ‘experts only’ to ‘every company,'” said Dr. Jeff Loucks, executive director, Deloitte Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Deloitte LLP. “3D printing enables businesses to quickly design new products with innovative materials, in ways that weren’t possible before. eSports is growing fast by combining the familiar – sports leagues – with video game platforms that foster competition and engagement among millions of players. And it’s all brought together by advanced semiconductor designs and next-generation data networks that are getting faster and smarter.”