Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Deloitte 2012 Predictions - Canadian tech outlook - some takeaways

Deloitte Canada has been running this event for 11 years, and yesterday's TMT Predictions 2012 in Toronto is the biggest one yet. I've attended and blogged about this event for a few years years now, and they had over 1,400 registered for this one. Pretty strong turnout, and they've built this up into a great showcase not just to share thought leadership about their TMT practice - technology, media and telecom - but also to brand Deloitte as more than just dull audit and tax advisory stuff.

Duncan Stewart is the star of the show, and this is his stage to be the public face of a worldwide team of research - mostly internal - who pull all this neat stuff together. Most of these trends are global, but he does his best to put it in a Canadian context to make it more relevant for the audience.

The presentation was built around 10 key findings, which is a subset of a more complete set of conclusions, but there was plenty there to think about for any business. No huge surprises for people like me, who follow these things closer than most of those in attendance, but well put together, nonetheless. I just wanted to pass on few notable takeaways here, and you can ping me if you really want to hear more!

- Tablets are really about the Internet of things. They're just the latest step along the way to ubiquitous computing made possible by cheap, mobile broadband. This speaks to the much broader trend of M2M, where we'll all be using multiple broadband-enabled devices - some of us with more than one tablet - to communicate with other broadband-enabled devices as much as we use them to connect with people. Scary.

- We appear to have moved into the "post-PC era", where the action has shifted to mobile devices. Duncan cited some nice data points showing how unit sales of the former have now eclipsed PCs. Fair enough, but to counter that, he also presented data showing that we still spend far more time on our PCs. So, we're not quite there yet for being in a post-PC world, and I think that speaks volumes about how important the end user experience is. In that regard, size matters, and the PC will never lose that tete-a-tete here.

- For all the flexibility we have to watch TV shows where we want and when we want, old habits are really hard to change. I found this data fascinating, and Duncan was sharing some very current findings. On average, we watch 33 hours of TV a week, compared to only 4 hours on the Internet. Of course this will vary by age - and applies to home-based use - not work-related - but TV still rules. More to the point, households are only watching about 2.5 hours of time-shifted TV per week, and less than 0.5 hour watching Web-based video programming. Bottom line - over 90% of all TV content is viewed within 24 hours. Say what you want about TV networks being on the decline - that's where the advertising dollars go - and stay - simply because that's where the viewers are. Sure, teens aren't watching TV like they used to, but in broad strokes, TV audience behaviors are not changing compared to the way our behaviors are with mobility usage. The world of online advertising and branding still has great potential, but it's a different world than TV (which Duncan touched on later in the presentation).

- It's good time to be in the tech business. This is a trend that I've been attuned to for a while now, and am glad to see it presented in this environment. In terms of how consumers spend their money, tech products and services provide high utility, and are relatively affordable. I've been saying this for a while. Despite our no-growth economy, people always seem to find money for the latest iPad, Android device or notebook. We've become so addicted/dependent on these things, we'd rather drive our cars another year, keep wearing last year's boots, put off that home renovation project, etc., in order to stay current to enjoy the latest YouTube videos and share Facebook updates virtually every waking moment. Surely, this is the sign of an advanced civilization...

Enough takeaways, and I'd better stop there - this is no place for a rant about how the Internet makes us stupid. :-) Let's end on a high note and just say that Deloitte's research shows that innovation is alive and well, and Canadian businesses need to pay attention - things are moving too fast these days, and the stakes are getting higher if you bet wrong or simply stay still.

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