Tuesday, 12 March 2019 20:25

Deloitte details Australia's tech, media and telco predictions for 2019, with 5G, AI and more

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The latest 2019 TMT Predictions from Deloitte show that Australia leads the global race to adopt 5G, with eSports striding ahead, AI for better customer service, quantum computing as a major revenue opportunity and more among a wealth of other must-read prognostications.

Global consulting firm Deloitte recently unleashed its latest 2019 TMT Predictions (Technology, Media and Telecommunications) report.

Among 112 pages of top-shelf content, Deloitte suggests that Australia will lead the world in the 5G race, see a rise in the eSports phenomenon, hear radio remain a trusted media platform, have AI boost customer satisfaction and witness businesses finally start understanding the power of quantum computing.

Lead partner Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Kimberly Chang, said: “2019 is an exciting year, with lots of different and interesting predictions for the TMT sectors. Businesses and consumers should hold on tight and pay close attention to the market, or they face being left behind".

5G – Australia will lead the rollout race

Deloitte predicts that 2019 will "be the year 5G arrives in scale across the globe, providing the fastest mobile Internet speeds the world has ever seen. Deloitte forecasts that 25 network operators will launch 5G services globally in 2019, and that is expected to double in 2020".

"The high data speeds and low latency 5G provides could spur the next evolution of health care, smart transport, manufacturing and nearly every industry that relies on connectivity."

Partner, Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Peter Corbett, said: “5G will transform the way we live, work and play in 2019; the prospects are really exciting. What’s more exciting is that we predict Australia will be one of the fastest countries to commercially rollout 5G, and put its power in the hands of every day Australians.”

Smartphones

We're told that more than a million 5G-ready handsets are forecast to be sold worldwide in 2019, and Australia is predicted to sell 50,000 of those. This is a considerable stake in the global figure, and is largely attributed to Australia’s 5G infrastructure readiness.

Corbett added: “Australian network operators have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into 5G infrastructure, laying the foundations for the technology and enabling Australia to lead the pack".

Fixed wireless

Deloitte predicts a million 5G fixed wireless access devices will be installed around the world in 2019, with Australia predicted to install 10,000 devices by year’s end.

Corbett continued: “We also expect to see more partnerships between 5G fixed wireless service providers and city councils to mount small cells on light poles and other sites. This will allow telcos to access small cell locations through a city, without having to acquire expensive real estate".

The 5G device landscape

As 5G rolls out across Australia, Deloitte predicts a new wave of innovative and 5G-ready Internet of Things devices to hit the market.

Here, Corbett noted: “These innovative products will include 5G enabled smart home appliances, sensors and vehicles. 5G will enable a more efficient and diverse smart appliance ecosystem that connects all aspects of our lives.

“There are many opportunities and challenges ahead for the rollout of 5G, and customers will need to be patient. However, we predict 2019 will indeed be the year of commercial rollout, and early bird customers will enjoy enhanced speeds from their home, and potentially on the go within connected pockets of major cities.”

eSports – too legit to quit

Deloitte predicts a global increase in popularity for eSports, and 2019 will see existing leagues expand and new leagues established. Analysts expect revenues from the global eSports market to reach US$1 billion in 2019, largely driven by advertising, broadcasting rights and league expansion.

In Australia, eSports is predicted to continue its stride towards becoming a mainstream form of entertainment in 2019, and sport federations and commercial organisations will align themselves more closely to the sport.

Partner, Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Leora Nevezie, said: “Games such as Fortnite have taken the world by storm, and we’re seeing a rapidly growing base of players and fans in Australia. Last year’s inaugural Melbourne eSports Open attracted 12,000 fans in person, and more than 12 million views across Twitter, Facebook and Reddit which is quite impressive.

“There is a natural synergy with eSport and telcos, and we predict that this year we will see telcos explore eSport as an integrated telco-tainment offering, as well as a perfect use case for high-speed connectivity and big data plans. We expect this to really take off when the power of 5G is unleashed.

“We’ve already seen big companies like Hungry Jacks, and JB Hi-Fi align themselves with eSports in various ways, and we expect that trend to continue. Some of our biggest sporting clubs have also acquired eSports teams, with the Adelaide Crows acquiring Sydney-based Legacy eSports in 2017.

“Broadcasters need to keep an eye on eSports, as every hour spent watching eSports is less time watching traditional TV and content. eSports will likely become a valuable media right as broadcasters diversify their approach to reach target audiences.”

Radio – the trusted broadcaster

Deloitte predicts that global radio revenue will reach US$40 billion in 2019, a small but steady 1% increase from 2018. Nearly 3 billion people worldwide listen to radio every week, with adults listening to an average of 90 minutes a day.

Australians spent an average of 125 minutes daily listening to radio in 2018, well above the global figure, and this is expected to remain the same for 2019.

In Australia, radio remains the most resilient and trusted form of traditional media, and 2019 will see more media buyers target radio to reach younger generations.

“We predict radio will become an increasingly appreciated advertising medium in Australia in 2019. The 25-39 year old age group spends more than 65% of their commercial audio consumption time on radio, making it the perfect platform to target this group,” Nevezie said.

“This is particularly relevant as the Australian industry is trialling more effective RoI measurement tools for radio, similar to those used in the US and other markets. With more Australians listening to music via ad-free subscriptions through Spotify and Apple Music, radio broadcasters are likely to benefit from more ad spend.

“Radio is also the most trusted form of media, according to Roy Morgan’s MEDIA Net Trust Survey. This highlights the credibility of the platform in the public’s eye, and is an important consideration for companies when planning advertising campaigns.”

Artifical intelligence – the key to happy customers and efficient business

Deloitte predicts that in 2019, companies around the world will increase their use of cloud- based Artificial Intelligence (AI) software and services. Of the companies adopting AI, 70% will use AI capabilities through pre-packaged, cloud-based software, and 65% will create AI applications using cloud-based development services.

In Australia, AI is predicted to be the lynchpin to excellent customer service and streamlining business operations in 2019. But to really succeed, companies must develop both data and application governance frameworks to ensure AI programs are transparent, robust and operate ethically.

The key to the safe integration of AI into businesses will be through ‘ethical and responsible AI’. Any decision made by an AI program must be interpretable by humans, otherwise we risk the technology running away from us, and making decisions we cannot explain or understand.

49% of Australian executives are highly concerned with the ethical use of Industry 4.0 technologies, like AI, compared with 30% globally, according to Deloitte’s 2019 report, Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Faces of progress. But, like their global counterparts, few have put policies in place related to ethical use (Australia 14%, global 12%).

“AI is not intended to replace the human brain. It’s intended to improve business operations and help reshape industries and societies for the better. Australia is in an excellent position to take advantage of AI, without repeating a number of mistakes that early adopters made,” Corbett said.

“In the TMT sector, businesses dealing with customer happiness and satisfaction, marketing and customer acquisition, operations, and margins and revenue will benefit the most from AI.”

Quantum computing – the future of problem solving

Deloitte predicts quantum computing will emerge as one of the largest new technology revenue opportunities globally over the next decade, forecast to be worth around $50 billion per year by 2030.

In Australia, 2019 will see companies actively encourage their innovators and strategists to learn about quantum computing and how to harness it within their organisation. Deloitte also predicts companies will start testing initial use cases, and begin working on security and cryptography for quantum computers.

“Australia is a major player in global quantum computing research and development. We have deep technical expertise and strong backing from the government to continue researching and exploring the possibilities of quantum computing,” Corbett continued.

“Quantum computing is the future of problem solving, and 2019 will see businesses preparing for this cutting-edge technology. Companies working with complicated data and information will begin to understand the power of quantum, and how it can unlock complex problems that have always been uncrackable.

“It’s important to know we’re still a long way from quantum computers solving our problems, but if businesses don’t start learning about it now, they risk being left behind altogether.”

More information and the full report is available here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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