Tech, Internet, Media and Telecom in 2025 and Beyond: Prepare for Acceleration

Published November 1, 2019 | 4 min read

Technology is clearly permeating every facet of our society, causing incredible accelerations of change all around us. Following up on our Landmark Imagine 2025 Study and Additional Imagine 2025 Research, our Global TIMT Research team collaborated to provide a roadmap for investors and industry leaders alike to navigate the change forces determining the global TIMT landscape. See below for a summary of the key takeaways.

Why companies should care about the individual

The consumer is entering a golden age of focus, where mass profiling of the ‘average customer’ is being rapidly replaced by highly calibrated personalization of the individual. Companies have long wanted to target audiences in this way but it’s only now that the technology is giving them the means to act.

A combination of advances in big data, AI and augmented reality also means that customer expectations of personal service tailored to their needs are higher than ever. The ‘calibrated and augmented self’ will start to benefit from new products across healthcare, transport, communications and industrial design to make their daily lives increasingly smooth.

The TIMT sector plays no small role in this: TV and video are especially at the forefront of the revolution in OTT services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, whose services have been widely and speedily adopted across the globe.

With this new sense of ‘self’, however come key concerns including the level of data sharing required to make things work. Privacy remains important where sensitive data like banking or health details are concerned, though research shows Millennials to be much more accepting and even relaxed about data’s role in getting them what they want.

 

Where do you come in the artificial intelligence race?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is best thought of as a progression rather than a single revolutionary point in time. At present, ‘Narrow AI’ is still being used to perform basic tasks, though compute power and advances in software mean that we are reaching ‘General AI’ where machines are performing tasks at the level of a human. ‘The singularity’ will be achieved once the cognitive abilities of AI surpasses those of humans.

Some recognizable high-level applications include the Internet of Things, smart devices and blockchain, though the threats to back-office functions, agriculture and mining – all arguably replaceable using AI – are seen as limited as they actually indicate a future uptick in productivity among western economies with older demographics.

New jobs are set to be created as part of this transformational period, and few sectors will be untouched. The likely winners are the FANG companies, as well as in automotive, though it is set to be a genuine force for change across the board.

 

Why the Cloud is becoming the natural home for growth-minded companies

The advent of cloud computing has changed the landscape for businesses significantly in a short space of time. Increasingly affordable and therefore available to all, the Cloud has helped fuel the start-up and growth of companies worldwide without the need for cumbersome and costly data centers and hardware.

Businesses models that rent infrastructure and platforms as a service have the benefit of rapid scaling and agility, though unless you match the Silicon Valley rule of thumb that requires your offering to be 10x cheaper, better or faster, you need to prepare to be disrupted by the competition.

Established corporates, too, are capitalizing on the Cloud’s efficiencies, with IT spending set to shift away from in-house for the first time by 2020.

With mainstream adoption on the up and new-starts disrupting the old structures, the Cloud-centric world is moving ever faster.

 

Winning the hearts and minds of the people

The power of the collective is an increasingly distinct feature of consumer and citizen behavior in society today – fueled especially by social media and the resulting movements for change that find common cause in challenging traditional institutions and norms.

Improved connectivity is the driver for collective action but it also highlights a deterioration in trust. Tech companies now need to be wise to the resulting democratization of finance and the workplace – and the enhanced control consumers will have over their IDs.

The social value and transparency standards which Millennials increasingly place on companies will also have continuing implications for how companies walk the walk of responsible business practice.

 

So, where do we go from here?

Technology is both the opportunity and the threat in uncertain times. Over the next five years it will either disrupt or be disrupted by a confluence of government regulation, consumer preference and competition in the market.

Regulation is a potentially significant limiter of growth, where customer data privacy and wider societal impact is high on the agenda. For tech companies, tax reforms and antitrust laws are also keeping their expansion in check.

The scale of consumer influence too on tech companies’ fortunes cannot be overestimated. Generational trends in response to rapidly developing technologies have for example seen the resultant rise in services such as Netflix and Spotify, thanks to younger people’s consumption habits dominating the direction of digital travel.

As it stands, businesses that are able to curate and leverage data while staying on the right side of the regulators, will be the most likely winners in the future.

 

Learn how to bend and flex – or get left behind

Companies cannot escape disruption – the question is whether they can exploit it or suffer the consequences of it. To be agile is the default state for companies keen to secure their place in a highly changeable environment.

Technology is a naturally rich sector for disruptors, though it is an increasingly high-stakes game that propels new-starts to global dominance or pulls the rug from under the feet of the long-established incumbents.

Four mandates dominate boardroom thinking whatever size company you are. First, ensure you have a cast-iron mission that everyone is on board with. Second, consider how a new business model might get you there, despite the risks in the short-term.

Third, build bridges with fellow or rival companies in the sector, thereby having more collective control over the growth and development of new tech. And fourth, lighten the load of your assets so that they don’t become liabilities. Growth currently favours capital asset-light and digitally-native companies.

Artificial intelligenceAugmented RealityBlockchainInternet of ThingsSmart devicesTechnologymachine learning