Global information and communication technology (ICT) industry can be broadly segmented into IT equipment, software, IT & business services, telecommunication equipment, and carrier services. Widening business operations and rising demand for high-speed connectivity throughout the business value chain have led to vast integral applications of ICT. ICT finds application in every industry ranging from oil & gas, healthcare, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), to transportation & transit industries.
Rapid strides in the ICT industry have led to an unprecedented increase in sales of smartphones, which are supported by the robust IT infrastructure. This increase in global penetration of smartphones is fueling growth of the ICT industry. Ability of consumers to access anything from anywhere across the globe, with around 7 billion mobile users and 3 billion internet subscribers in 2016, as per the ICT Data and Statistics Division, is projected to present potential growth opportunity. Trends that include cloud, analytics, social media and mobility have led to development of agile enterprises through distinct value chains and business models that offer a better consumer experience.
Cloud and Analytics
Cloud technology has witnessed adoption in every industry and industrial operations. The technology scope is inclusive of huge scalable ICT related technologies that include networks, storage, servers, applications and services that are provided to consumers through virtualization.
Different types of cloud offerings include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). SaaS is the most preferred form of cloud computing. Hybrid cloud models are being increasingly adopted by enterprises and are contributing to the industry growth. Along with multiple benefits offered by these solutions, industry is expected to consistently face challenges such as data security threat, limited user control, and interoperability problems that may arise while migrating from a vendor to another.
Exponential increase in data due to global digitization is likely to make data analytics a crucial tool for effective optimization of data in providing workable insights. The growing need to take appropriate business decisions, enhancing business productivity and cost savings is scheduled to drive demand for cloud data analytics.
Demand for faster internet speeds owing to increasing connectivity in every industrial segment, has led to development of 3G and 4G connectivity. However, players operating in the telecommunication industry are planning to develop 5G connectivity featuring theoretical wireless download speeds of 10k Mbps, broader bandwidth and capability to run complex internet applications (e.g. VR/AR applications). Industry participants such as Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm, BT and Ericsson have already made notable advancements in this area. For instance, in June 2017, Keysight Technologies collaborated with Qualcomm Technologies Inc. for the development of 5G test solutions.
Development of this technology will help IoT gain significant leverage through its lower latency, high ubiquity and increased consumer usability. However, high costs of the technology may act as a considerable growth barrier over the coming years.
Internet of Things
Connected mobility is expected to gain significant momentum over the forecast period owing to growing support from regional governments, specifically in the U.S., in addition to product developments by players operating in the market.
Industry players have made significant development in V2V and V2X communication systems. For instance, in March 2017, General Motors started the production of 2017 Cadillac CTS sedan featuring V2V communication. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to introduce mandates by 2023, which is expected to facilitate growth of the market.
WannaCry Ransomware attack in May 2017 affected around 57,000 computers across 150 countries. Proliferating connectivity and cloud solutions can increase risk of malwares and cyber-attacks. Such concerns regarding information security are projected to present considerable challenge to the global ICT industry over the forecast period.
Differing government regulations in every country, as well as regulatory compliances for different ICT industry segments across the global stretch are projected to hamper the industry growth. For instance, legal obligations for processing of personal data differs across the U.S. and Europe. Under EU regulations, personal information can be collected only for a legitimate purpose under stringent conditions. Data Protection Directive 1995/46/EC is the main component of the EU data protection law. However, in the U.S., there is no all-inclusive law standardizing the processing and collection of personal information. Data protection in the country is regulated by state and federal rulings.
U.S. is the most mature market for the ICT industry. However, the industry in the country is expected to witness steady growth owing to presence of major multinational firms, continuous innovations and consumer demand for advanced technologies. Moreover, advent of V2V communication and 5G technologies in the country are expected to provide major scope for growth in the next few years. Cost saving through the advent of such technologies is among the major benefits.
China, India, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia have witnessed major economic growth over the last few years. Low manufacturing and service costs and favorable trade regulations in these countries are expected to provide major traction to the venturing investors. Thus, the Asia Pacific ICT industry is expected to register major growth over the near future. However, factors such as low corruption perceptions index (CPI), high communication costs and lack of technology skills in emerging economies are expected to hamper the market growth in these economies. Moreover, poor IT infrastructure is likely to hinder the growth prospects in these regions.
IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Cisco, Apple, Samsung, Google, HP, Accenture, TCS and Amazon are among the top industry participants. The industry growth is driven by collaborative undertaken by key players to develop innovative products and technologies. R&D and product launches are also expected to strengthen the position of companies in the global industry. Mergers and acquisitions by players with the goal of forward integration, and business expansions are also predicted to strengthen their presence in the industry. For instance, AT&T entered a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Time Warner that was worth over US$ 85 billion, in October 2016. This was to help the company gain a strong foothold in the media and communications market.