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 fathomable industry ranging from oil & gas, healthcare, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), to transportation & transit industries.
Rapid strides in ICT industry have led to an unprecedented increase in sales of smartphones, which are supported by robust IT infrastructure. This increase in global penetration of smartphones, in turn fuels demand for robust broadband connectivity that subsequently fuels 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, are projected to present potential growth opportunity over the future. 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 better consumer experience.
Cloud and Analytics
Cloud technology has witnessed adoption in every industry as an integral part of operations. The technology scope is inclusive of huge scalable ICT related technologies that includes networks, storage, servers, applications and services that are provided as service 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 increasingly adopted by enterprises and has emerged as key factor contributing to industry growth. Along with multiple benefits offered by these solutions, industry is expected to be consistently in check by factors 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 generation due to the global digitization would position data analytics as a crucial tool for effective optimization of data for providing workable insights. Requirement to make appropriate business decisions, enhance business productivity and cost savings will continue to drive demand for cloud data analytics.
Requirement for faster internet speeds owing to increasing connectivity in every industrial segment, and requirement has led to development of 3G and 4G connectivity. However, telecommunication industry participants have already introduced plans to develop 5G connectivity featuring theoretical wireless download speeds of 10k Mbps, broader bandwidths and capabilities 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 the arena. 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
ICT industry participants have witnessed considerable demands in providing connectivity and automation in homes, mobility and overall infrastructure. Connected mobility is expected to gain significant momentum through our forecast period owing to major government support, specifically in the U.S. and participation of major players in the development.
Industry players have made significant development in V2V and V2X communication systems. For instance, in March 2017, GM initiated the production of 2017 Cadillac CTS sedan featuring V2V communication. Moreover, expected introduction of mandates to be introduced by U.S. Department of Transportation till 2023, will present potential growth prospects.
WannaCry Ransomware attack in May 2017 was a worldwide cyberattack phenomenon affecting around 57,000 computers across 150 countries. Proliferating connectivity and cloud solutions can lead to increased risks from such malwares and cyberattacks. Such concerns regarding information security is projected to present considerable challenge to the global ICT industry over the forecast period.
Distinctness of the government and regulatory compliances for different ICT industry segments across the global stretch will hamper the growth. For instance, legal obligations for processing of personal data differ across the U.S. and Europe. Under EU regulation, 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 US, 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 ICT industry. However, the industry in the country is expected to witness steady growth, owing to presence of major multinational firms, continuous innovations and high inclination of consumers towards advanced technologies. Moreover, advent of V2V communication and 5G technologies in the country will provide major scope for the growth over the next few years. Cost saving enabled through advent of such technologies, and improvement of human living standards is among the major benefits offered through these technologies.
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, Asia Pacific ICT industry is expected to register major growth over the near future. However, other emerging economies that are crippled with low corruption perceptions index (CPI), high communication costs and lack of technology skills are expected to witness major growth challenges through the forecast period. Moreover, poor IT infrastructure, and legal deficiencies will further 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. Industry will be highly characterized by collaborative activities for the development of innovative technologies. R&D and new product launch will form the basis of the company strategies to strengthen their positions in the global industry. M&A will also be witnessed based on players requirement for forward integration, backward integration or expansion of the industry presence. For instance, AT&T entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition Time Warner that was worth over US$ 85 billion, in October 2016. This was to help the company gain strong foothold in the media and communications market.
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