The latest edition of Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions is out today and as always it looks at what innovations will rise in the next year.

A number of these predictions deal with the emergence of tech that has been talked up for what feels like years but there are a few familiar faces that could prove valuable as well.

“Many services and products that have been ‘just around the corner’ for years are finally turning that corner in 2020,” says TMT leader at Deloitte Africa, Mark Joseph, “Many previously hyped services and products will finally become a reality.”

So what should business owners be looking out for?

Internet from space, or rather, low-earth orbit is set to become increasingly viable over the next few years. Deloitte predicts that 700 satellites will be beaming internet to Earth by the end of the year. In the coming years this will grow to over 16 000 satellites.

This development will be rather important in Africa where connectivity is stymied by the vast distances infrastructure needs to cover.

“These satellites may also play a role in currently well served areas, offering welcome redundancy in the case of load shedding, equipment theft and undersea cable outages,” adds Joseph.

Sticking with connectivity, let’s look at 5G.

The next generation mobile broadband standard has been grabbing headlines for years now and in 2020 we’ll see that come to fruition in many parts of the world.

But commercial rollout of 5G has been hampered by regulation – especially here in South Africa – and as such firms have started to explore the implementation of private 5G networks.

We saw Vodacom launch a 5G network for businesses in Lesotho in 2018 and two years later it seems more firms will be testing 5G networks.

Deloitte predicts that more than 100 companies will begin testing private 5G deployments by the end of 2020.

Artificial intelligence is also not going anywhere except closer to the edge. Deloitte foresees the sale of more than 750 million edge AI chips in 2020. This is being driven by the demand for smarter services that don’t necessarily rely on a data connection.

More than this, Deloitte sees edge AI chips dominating the market and becoming bigger than the overall chip market.

The next prediction is rather strange one. Deloitte foresees massive growth in the global audiobook market.

The firms says the audiobook market will grow by 25 percent to be worth $5 billion and podcasts will grow by 30 percent to be worth $1.1 billion in 2020.

This growth will be especially noticeable in Africa according to Joseph who says folks will try to squeeze value out of long commutes by entertaining or educating themselves.

While we don’t refute this, we think this largely hinges on more content being made available in African languages.

Other highlights from the TMT Predictions report include:

  • The smartphone multiplier market (hardware, content, services) will drive $459 billion of revenue in 2020 alone and will grow between five to 10 percent annually through 2023, lifted by continued robust growth in its largest components. This means that in 2023, the smartphone multiplier market is likely to generate revenues of more than a half-trillion dollars per year.
  • Deloitte also predicts the global Content Delivery Network (CDN) market will reach $14 billion in 2020, up more than 25 percent from 2019’s estimated $11 billion. The market will double to $30 billion by 2025, a compound annual growth rate of more than 16 percent.
  • Tens of billions of additional bicycle trips per year will take place in 2022. The increase in bicycling will double the number of regular bicycle users in many major cities around the world where cycling to work is still uncommon. Deloitte predicts a 1 percentage point rise in the proportion of people who bike to work during the three years from 2019 to 2022. Between 2020 and 2023, more than 130 million e-bikes (using all battery technologies) are expected to be sold.
  • Of the almost one million robots Deloitte expects to be sold for enterprise use in 2020, just over half of them will be professional service robots, generating more than $16 billion in revenue—30 percent more than in 2019. Professional service robots will pass industrial robots in terms of units in 2020 and revenue in 2021.
  • Deloitte predicts that global revenue from ad-supported video services will reach an estimated US$32 billion in 2020. Asia, including China and India, will lead with US$15.5 billion in revenue in 2020, nearly half of the global total. In China, India, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, ad-supported video is the dominant model of delivering streaming video to consumers. By contrast, in the United States, most direct-to-consumer video offerings are pursuing an ad-free subscription model.
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