I would never recommend anyone try and make a living by making predictions in any field but at this time of year there seems to be a plethora of experts trying to do just that in the telecommunications industry. What seems to be common among them is the view of continued growth of mobile services. As I pointed out in my last blog post, network data usage is growing quickly and is expected to be a key driver of mobile adoption for the foreseeable future.
Having said that, there seems to be three different sources of predictions for the telecom industry in 2010 depending on what market you believe. One from each of Canada, the U.S and the U.K. InCode Telecom is probably the most widely read U.S industry strategy think tank and seems to have a loyal following. What stands out for me in their prediction is the heavy emphasis on data issues affecting operators. Deloitte Canada’s 2010 Technology Predictions is always a good read as the author (Duncan Stewart) has been in and around this industry for a number of years. What I liked about his predictions was that they seem to be pretty low risk. He really doesn’t go out on any limb and say anything too extraordinary. For example, I don’t think it takes a clairvoyant to point out that tablets are about to make a showing in 2010 with the impending announcement from Apple on their iSlate.
Juniper Research on the other hand is a U.K based think tank that has a slightly different spin on its predictions and seems to have a very broad following in the industry. Not so sure these are all ‘predictions’ in the truest sense of the word or more like the reconstitution of large industry trends that started a while ago.
One prediction that isn’t present in any of the above mentions, that I would suggest has been overlooked, is the use of near field communication (Bluetooth, Zigbee etc) and Wi-Fi in the emerging energy management category. We’re seeing some large industry players, including Apple, Microsoft, Google and T-Mobile, get active in this fast growing sector. Why? Because energy management is the next frontier for cost reduction in the face of expected increases in energy costs from renewable sources.
Well at least someone went out on a limb.