Monday, 17 February 2020 23:39

Private 5G predicted to ‘take off’ in Australia in 2020 Featured

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A year after the commercial rollout of 5G in Australia, private 5G will take off this year, with a prediction that more than five enterprises in Australia will run trials before the end of 2020.

That’s the predictions in the annual Deloitte Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions report released on Monday, marking what Deloitte says is a distinct shift as technologies that were ‘just around the corner’ finally arrive, with the promise of significant efficiency dividends.

This year’s report looks at what Deloitte says are the big five TMT ecosystems -smartphones, TV, PCs and ancillaries, datacentres and software, and the Internet of Things.

“2020 is all about the continued cross-linking of these ecosystems as they continue to improve our personal and professional lives,” says Deloitte.

Kimberly Chang, Lead TMT Partner, Deloitte, said: “The 2020s are shaping up to be an interesting new decade for TMT organisations.

“Technologies that have been evolving over the years are coming together in a converged way that will amplify impact and create opportunities that will transform not just the TMT world, but every industry. This year’s report offers a useful guide to those looking to capitalise on the major trends shaping the decade.

“Following the commercial launch of 5G in Australia and globally last year, there is more clarity around the technology’s potential, particularly for enterprises.

“We’re also seeing progress on how the ecosystem around 5G might evolve with new edge AI capabilities and CDNs playing an increasingly important role in enabling new use cases.”

Chang notes that unlike a public network, a private 5G network can be optimised and configured to a location’s needs. A private network also allows companies to customise the network’s deployment timetable and coverage quality, all while being more secure.

“We expect private 5G networks to become the next frontier of innovation in 2020 which goes beyond private LTE deployments,” Chang said.

“Mining, utilities, ports and universities are expected to benefit the most, as the technology enables significant automation and new configuration options, which will help these sectors define their future.

“Enterprises in Australia will start to invest in private 5G networks which will underpin new capabilities and innovations that will be game changers for their operations. As companies look to upgrade or replace existing technology systems, 5G could replace the cable to deliver the possibility of fully mobile solutions particularly in private precincts like warehouses, mines sites, ports and campuses.”

Deloitte predicts 94% of Australians will have access to a smartphone device in 2020, up from 91% in 2019, as the country moves toward complete smartphone saturation.

Running parallel to smartphone growth is the smartphone multiplier market which is predicted to be worth around $4.1 billion in Australia in 2020 - and apps, mobile advertising, hardware and wearable accessories will dominate, accounting for nearly 80% of the multiplier market.

Peter Corbett, Telecommunications Lead Partner, Deloitte, said: “It is clear that smartphones are a critical part of our every-day lives. But we may see our dependence on these devices shift as the ancillary market tightens its grip on Australian consumers.

“As consumers are actively trying to limit their mobile use, wearables are finding a strong foothold in the market. Fitness bands are the most common wearable technology, now at 22% adoption, and the Apple Watch is currently the number one sold watch globally.

“We also predict apps will accelerate the decline of wallet and key usage as our smartphone takes over these functions. We increasingly pay for our groceries via our watch or phone, and car companies are now creating digital car keys, making car sharing more seamless and eliminating the panic of lost car keys.

“Our report expects one in three license holders in NSW will obtain a digital driver’s license in 2020, paving the way for more licenses to become digital and making the wallet even more redundant.”

In other predictions, Deloitte says that a new wave of edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) chips will reduce frustrations caused by lack of internet connection on smartphones by bringing AI directly to the device.

Deloitte predicts that in 2020, more than 750 million edge AI chips will be sold globally and in Australia, Deloitte predicts 66% of smartphones sold in 2020 will carry edge AI chips - up from just 20% in 2018 - and “bringing to life features such as facial recognition, voice-based interactions and translation, even in offline mode”.

These chips perform or accelerate machine learning tasks on a device, rather than connecting to a remote data centre, Deloitte observes, and says tha tthe sectors likely to benefit most from Edge AI include mining, oil and gas, logistics and supply chain, and automotive and transport. Edge AI - combined with edge computing - will provide mission-critical capabilities to power drone swarms, unmanned aerial vehicles and precision manufacturing.

“Most consumers don’t realise that the majority of apps we interact with today have a level of AI already built in. But to make the magic on these apps work, like facial recognition on Facebook or Google Photos, you need constant connection to the network to process information centrally,” Corbett said.

“Edge AI chips are physically smaller, inexpensive, use less power and generate less heat than current chips, making them easy to integrate into a handheld device like a smartphone.

“Surf Life Saving NSW is already using drones to give them eyes in the sky to detect sharks faster, but this requires human operators to identify the sharks and notify swimmers. With edge AI processing, time-critical functions such as spotting the sharks and responding would be much quicker.

“Businesses that invest in edge AI will see improvements to productivity, efficiency and security. AI has promised progress for many years, and as it moves to the edge it will continue to deliver.”

And Deloitte also predicts podcasts will see double-digit growth through 2020 as consumers, creators, brands and media buyers become more familiar with the medium.

Podcasting revenue will see rapid growth, according to Deloitte, outstripping the 30% rate predicted globally to A$47 million in 2020, equating to 62% growth.

Adam Power, Media Lead Partner, Deloitte, said: “Podcasts have become a real powerhouse media channel which has stepped out from the shadow of radio, and now firmly sits in its own category.

“Australia’s love for mobile devices and insatiable appetite for entertaining and educational content are the real driving factors for growth in this space.

“The rise of celebrity podcasters and true crime series continues to fuel audience growth and advertiser interest.

“As this platform enjoys steady growth, brands, publishers, creators, agencies and media buyers should all consider how they explore this group of active and engaged audiences.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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