Deloitte Canada’s 2010 Technology Predictions

Today Deloitte unveiled its 2010 Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications predictions  and launched its cross-country road show presentation series. Now in its ninth year, Deloitte’s TMT Predictions are a highly anticipated annual series of global insights that showcase emerging global trends that will significantly impact businesses and consumers in the coming year.

According to Deloitte Canada’s TMT leadership across the country, the top 10 most significant TMT trends that will impact Canada in 2010 are:

1) eReaders fill a niche, but eBooks fly off the (virtual) shelf — Although eReaders are securing headlines, they are an interim technology and sales growth will not meet expectations, as competition from alternative devices will likely slow their growth rate in 2011. eBooks are expected to do well, but not be limited to standalone eReaders and will mainly be read on smartphones, PCs and tablets. This changing industry landscape will likely pose challenges for Canadian publishers, writers and distributers, which could mirror those of the music industry, where sales of recorded music have been in decline for years.

2) Smaller than a netbook, and bigger than a smartphone: net tablets arrive — Experts predict that there is room for a connected media device that fills the gap between the smartphone and the netbook, which could generate well over $1 billion in global sales in 2010. Canadian companies could potentially build the software applications and content for these devices, which are creating a compelling new electronic way to consume media and have the potential to help revitalize the Canadian magazine, newspaper and television industries.

3) Publishing fights back: pay walls and micropayments — There has been a great deal of talk about newspapers and magazines charging for online content, whether through subscriptions or micropayments. In reality, while a majority of Canadian publishers may be wondering if they can charge readers for online editions, most will not implement pay walls or micropayments, knowing they could negatively impact traffic, and therefore, advertising revenue.

4) CleanTech makes a comeback. But solar stays in the shadows — Although the long-term future of solar energy is still promising, a massive global supply glut will make 2010 a very tough year. British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are the hub of Canada’s solar industry. As Ontario introduces new programs to encourage the use of CleanTech, the province may run the risk of trying to create a globally competitive solar manufacturing industry, while the rest of the world may not require these services in the long run because of their own market overcapacity.

5) IT procurement stands on its head — More and more companies are buying smartphones and computers based on employee demand rather than corporate policies. “Win the consumer, and you win the enterprise” is a reversal of decades of enterprise IT buying habits. If consumer demand begins to drive corporate IT purchasing decisions, smartphone companies are likely to benefit.

6) Nixing the nines: reliability redefined and reassessed — The default enterprise IT contract specifies 99.999% (five nines) reliability. 2010 will see some companies settle for fewer nines to save money, which could allow Canadian IT and telecom companies to reduce costs as they may no longer need to implement expensive measures to ensure 99.999% network reliability. As a result, savings will likely be passed onto consumers in exchange for their acceptance of minor network downtime.

7) Cloud computing: more than hype, but less than hyper — Cloud computing will grow faster than almost all other tech sectors, but it is not taking over the world quite yet. Concerns over reliability and security continue to make large enterprises and governments cautious about adopting cloud. In contrast, consumers and small enterprises are the logical early adopters, as the global cloud computing industry is predicted to grow almost 50% to $80 billion in 2010.

8) Paying for what we eat: carriers change data pricing and make regulators happy — “All you can eat” data plans have succeeded in attracting customers, but are killing the networks. Yet, while it is tough for carriers to move back to the meter for data without angering customers, recent network neutrality rulings from the FCC and CRTC will make it easier. Meanwhile, new players are entering the Canadian wireless market, and some have started offering “all you can eat” data plans in an effort to capture market share — setting a potentially dangerous precedent for carriers. Finding an appropriate competitive response that does not erode profitability may be a challenge for wireless carriers.

9) Widening the bottleneck: telecom technology helps decongest the mobile network — As smartphones and PCs create a mobile data traffic jam, carriers will not be able to build entirely new networks in 2010. Instead they will use short-term tech quick fixes to make the mobile Internet work faster and handle more customers, with some players profiting greatly. Although network congestion issues are not yet common in Canada, they are a global challenge, and many of the companies that provide these technologies are Canadian.

10) The shift to online advertising: more selective, but the trend continues — Online only makes up about 10% of global ad sales at $80 billion. That said, online sales will continue to steal share from traditional media in 2010 and disrupt the ad market, causing prices to fall. Although this shift will likely impact traditional media across the country, the good news is that it will become less expensive for Canadian companies to place ads in both traditional and online media.

Full details of both the top 10 Canadian and global TMT Predictions are available online and will be showcased in an eight-stop cross-country TMT Predictions road show series today in Montreal, January 20th in Toronto, January 21st in Winnipeg, January 22nd in Ottawa, January 26th in Halifax, January 27th in Quebec City, February 1st in Vancouver and February 2nd in Calgary.