Deloitte: Top Technology, Media and Telecommunications Trends for 2008

Deloitte has released its 7th annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions that showcase emerging global TMT trends that may significantly impact businesses in 2008.

Deloitte's Canadian TMT industry group has singled out the top 10 biggest TMT trends that will impact Canadian business in 2008:


- The rising value of digital protection: The value of personal computers (PCs) and other electronic devices no longer rests in their silicon chips, but in the data, files, songs and images they store. Backing up this content to protect it from viruses and theft, and making sure files are forward compatible may fuel growing industries.

- From anonymity to authenticity: The face of the Internet is changing. With concern about online fraud and predators increasing, social networking sites like Facebook have replaced the "secret Internet's" use of fictitious identities and avatars by requiring users to post their real names, e-mail addresses, and photos. With eight million Facebook users, Canada leads the world in voting for authenticity over anonymity.

- How to manage talent when legacy becomes the future: Almost every business in Canada relies on its IT department. Attracting and retaining skilled employees familiar with cutting-edge technology is no longer the only challenge large companies face as they try to get the most out of their past IT investment. Skill sets, like the ability to program and maintain 30-year-old mainframe computers, remain important - and are becoming increasingly scarce.

- The flight to privacy: It is beneficial when PCs, search engines, online retailers and social networks use our "private" information to help fill in forms faster or make useful suggestions. But, as recent controversies with Facebook, Beacon and other online sites demonstrate, even if privacy has not actually been breached, the online community is highly sensitive to a perception of violated privacy, ensuring it continues to be a flashpoint in 2008.


- Stop the presses - Online is moving (slowly) to the front page: Canada's media industry has been a world leader in embracing the online world. In 2008, look for even more web content creeping onto our TV screens and into newspapers, as well as the hiring of non-journalist bloggers as writers and computer programmers, who can add interactive content like searchable databases and mashups. Big legal battles may ensue, as libel laws are tested to see if citizen journalism sites are legally responsible for what they post.

- Overcoming online piracy may not mean the end of counterfeit content: Canada has the highest percentage of high speed Internet users in the world. Another fact to note is that according to one of the six major North American film studios, over 50% of all pirated movies globally are illegally recorded in Montreal. Piracy once seemed unstoppable - but technology now provided by companies like Waterloo-based Sandvine (#1 ranked Deloitte Technology Fast 50 award winner in 2007) is allowing network operators to detect, slow down and even stop illegal piracy activities.

- Time for music to get tangible again: Since 1997, Canadian sales of recorded music in physical form plummeted 50%, with songs often enjoyed in their intangible (digital) and often illegally obtained format. However, recent declines in the price of flash memory make it inexpensive to put files on a flash memory chip or low priced MP3 player, meaning music lovers may start rebuilding their music libraries in physical formats again to feed their desire for tangible, permanent objects.


- How to capitalize on the $10 mobile phone: Advances in semiconductor manufacturing and better integration technologies have led to the era of the $10 phone. By embedding digital phone functionality in machines - from ATMs to vending machines, and from freight containers to cars - two-way data communications can now create a far more powerful, reliable and cost-effective network of machines.

- Giving mobile GPS direction: Using Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to determine location is already a multi-billion dollar market for automobiles and hikers. However, just because GPS is included on a phone doesn't mean consumers will use it more than a few times for novelty. GPS works well for cars, but its need for "line of sight" means getting a signal sometimes requires users to walk away from buildings and into the middle of a street, which may be a big barrier for repeated handset use of GPS.

- Gray is good: the return on investment from making telecommunications accessible to all: For years it was assumed the online community had an average age of about 21. As a result, websites featured weird colours, tiny fonts and loud song tracks. But with aging baby boomers skewing the demographics, Canada is getting older faster, and this demographic controls a lot of wealth. Making telecommunications and technology more accessible to older users - bigger buttons, bigger fonts, and better ergonomics - may open up this large and under-developed market.

"Technology is playing an increasingly central role in many of the key challenges and issues facing Canadians, and that's nowhere more apparent than in Canada's attempts to confront environmental challenges with clean, 'green technology' solutions," says Duncan Stewart, Director of Deloitte Canada Research.

Deloitte has also identified the top five green TMT challenges and trends facing Canadian business in 2008:


- The challenges and opportunities of water scarcity: Population, economic and environmental pressures may make water the key crisis of the 21st century. Canada has freshwater in abundance, as well as a history of technological innovation in the filtering, remediation, conservation and purification of water, leaving us well placed to help solve global water problems, while confronting our own issues such as how to extract oil from the oil sands without requiring vast amounts of water.

- From zero to green hero - the renaissance of nanotechnology: There has been a stealth explosion in nanotechnology usage in the clean technology arena recently, led by Canada's National Institute for Nanotechnology in Edmonton. Atomic-level innovation is driving technology in power production, transmission and storage, lighting and LEDs, and cleaning up polluted soils and groundwater.

- Let there be light emitting diodes: In 2008 the conventional light bulb may finally start to be superseded by a viable replacement: the white light emitting diode (LED). But rapid advances in semiconductor manufacturing combined with rising energy prices have shifted the balance, and LEDs are now the superior choice over the long term in most home lighting applications.

- Getting value from virtualisation: Virtualisation, a form of software first used in the 1960s, was one of the most talked about technologies of 2007 due to its proponents' claims of cost savings, more security, and lower power consumption. In 2008 companies may be more cautious as virtualization is neither a one-size-fits-all solution nor a panacea. However, energy savings are key, especially for new server farms based on "cloud computing" similar to Google.

- The living room moves closer to being Public Enemy Number One: Consumer electronics now use 15% of household electricity consumption - up from 5% in 1980 - with forecasts indicating that number could reach 50% by 2020. Giant screens, especially plasma, use two to four times more power than cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs. And dozens of other household devices are using up energy, even in standby mode. Look for 2008 to bring in more power-efficient home media devices, including ones that that have "real" off switches.

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