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By 1 February 2012 | Categories: news

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The unspoken but all too evident theme in a forum hosted by Deloitte yesterday in Sandton was that the world is changing, most particularly, with regards to technology, media and telecommunications.

The company, which presented its Technology, Media and Telecommunications  (TMT) Predictions report for 2012, painted a picture in which computing, communications and entertainment continue undergoing some swift progress in the year ahead.
 
Paul Lee, the global director at Deloitte Technology, Media and Telecommunications, began by explaining that the company’s predictions were intended to serve as a catalyst for discussion around significant developments that may affect companies and governments alike.

Technology Changes

He continued by pointing out that at present, consumer technology was defying the economic headwinds, and on this basis, predicted that the overall global demand for consumer technology would rise in the year ahead.

One reason he gave for this was the impact of Moore’s Law, which translated in practical terms to users receiving greater value for their money year on year. One example cited was the release of the iPad 2, which offered 30% more performance than its predecessor, at the same price at which the iPad 1 was originally launched.

Additionally, the company predicted that there would continue to be a changing perception of consumer technology, enabling it to compete even more fiercely with other expenses to become a higher priority, such as owning a car or taking holidays abroad.

Another no less interesting prediction for 2012 was the rise of the multi-tablet owner. Lee elaborated that almost 5% of tablets sold during this year was expected to be to households that already own a tablet, while main factors driving the adoption of tablets were expected to be the size or form factor of the device, as well as the desire for content.
 
“We expect larger form tablets to become increasingly powerful, and move from dual core to quad core offerings,” he continued. This multi tablet ownership in the workplace would further deliver the paperless office, thanks to the presence of having more screens on hand.   
 
Along the same lines, devices including tablets and smartphones, are further expected to retain their appeal independent from each other. Lee pointed out that, for example, while many people rely on their smartphone, BBM messaging and other forms of communication, they often still have a landline phone as well. For this reason, he does not believe users will we ever have a single converged device that does everything.
 
Telecommunication trends
 
Lee continued that on the telecommunications front, the company predicted that there would be half a billion $100 smartphones in 2012. However, he pointed out that the industry definition of the category differed greatly from how it is defined by general users.
 
While the industry evaluated smartphones based on the operating system they ran, he asserted that for many users, any phone that looked like a BlackBerry or iPhone was often considered one as well. These cheaper versions though, offered far lesser processing power and battery life.
 
He added that for a proportion of users, the technical specifications mattered little; if their smartphone can play games, capture photos and browse the internet, these were the outstanding features they really desired. However, this would make a considerable difference to app developers, who may find themselves having to assume a greater difference in processing power between high-end and lower-end smartphones.
 
Cap in hand
 
A further prediction in telecommunications was the end of the road for unlimited internet on fixed lines in developed countries, due mainly to broadband adoption growing at an increasingly faster rate. However, monthly caps could range from the measly (1 GB) as experienced here in South Africa, to the generous (900 GB).
 
A final prediction with regards to transmission of information was the increase of device to device sharing of data, which would bypass the internet altogether. Lee elaborated that the company expected to see three networks working together, namely cellular, wi-fi operating off a fixed-line and short range device-to-device sharing via either Bluetooth or cable.
 
Entertainment to go
 
On this front, the company predicted that there would be a growing use of smartphones and tablets as personal video recorders, being used to catch-up on TV while commuting on public transport. TV was similarly expected to attract greater attention, thanks to it being a common source of conversation on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, added Lee.
 
The number of apps are also expected to continue flourishing, with two million apps predicted being made available on all app stores this year. However, as this number grows, the percentage that are paid for or even downloaded are expected to shrink further.     
 
To the point
 
Even if only a fraction of these predictions are proved true in the year ahead, each could to our mind, have a far reaching impact on their respective sectors.
 
While the forum addressed only a part of the full telecommunications, media and entertainment predictions, it was still enough to tantalise, but more than enough to leave us excited about the changes that surely lie ahead.  

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