Deloitte Global tech, media and telecom predictions: growth in digital reality, virtual doctor visits, cloud, and sports tech intensify

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Deloitte Global today released its Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions report, which highlights how worldwide trends in TMT may affect businesses and consumers worldwide. In addition, the report highlights how many of these trends are being driven by the global pandemic’s economic and societal impacts, resulting in intensifying growth in video, virtual, and cloud technologies, as well as in media segments such as sports.

“While some technologies followed expected growth patterns, the reality of a global pandemic has resulted in unprecedented technology acceleration that has fundamentally changed how we live and work,” said Ariane Bucaille, Deloitte Global Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry leader. “A range of enterprise and consumer technologies—from 5G to the cloud to virtual reality—will continue to offer opportunities to the worldwide business ecosystem.”

Doctor visits move to video

One effect of COVID-19 has been jumpstarting a worldwide trend of telemedicine, including video-based doctor visits. The global pandemic not only necessitated the elimination of regulatory barriers to such visits but also helped consumers better understand and leverage video calling apps, especially consumers over the age of 65.

Despite some initial trepidation, the TMT Predictions report illustrates how many consumers (and doctors) have been willing to shift to virtual appointments, including video visits. Deloitte Global predicts that the percentage of virtual video visits to doctors will rise to 5% globally in 2021, up from an estimated 1% in 2019. Even single-digit growth is significant; 8.5 billion doctor’s visits, worth a total of approximately US$500 billion, took place in the 36 OECD countries in 2019 alone.

Education and the enterprise opt for virtual reality

The market for digital reality headgear is growing as immersive technologies gain popularity in the enterprise and for education. Deloitte Global predicts that, led by purchases by corporations and educational institutions, sales for enterprise and educational use of wearable headsets for virtual, augmented and mixed reality—collectively known as XR or digital reality—will grow by 100% in 2021 over 2019 levels.

Market growth for these types of headsets has already accelerated in some markets due to the risk of COVID-19 infection driving their use in teaching employees and students virtually rather than in person. With the pandemic accelerating the opportunity to demonstrate their value, digital reality headsets may continue to gain ground after the pandemic ends due to a variety of other benefits, such as lower cost, greater safety, and better learning retention.

The pandemic drives cloud growth

By some metrics, the cloud market grew even faster in 2020 than in 2019. According to the TMT Predictions report, this was driven by increased demand due to COVID-19, lockdowns, and the work-from-anywhere business environment. Deloitte Global predicts that revenue growth will remain greater than 30% for 2021 through 2025 as companies migrate to the cloud to save money, become more agile, and drive innovation.

With the pandemic driving more enterprises toward cloud, the market will likely emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. Cloud providers and others in the ecosystem will also have the opportunity to capitalize on increased usage, while cloud users can seek to explore new ways for the cloud to create value. In the near future, cloud technologies may become the dominant solution across all types of businesses.

Women and tech transform sports

While the number of sporting events slowed during 2020, the potential for growth ultimately did not. Deloitte Global predicts that two major trends in sports—the increased monetization of women’s sports, and the use of digital to create a hyper-quantified athlete—will continue their upward trajectory.

Women’s sports are now on track to be worth more than a billion dollars in the years ahead. Its ability to generate substantial TV audiences, deliver value to sponsors, and draw fans has been demonstrated on multiple occasions over the past decade. Just as COVID-19 has catalyzed fundamental reappraisals of many aspects of society, Deloitte Global predicts that women’s sports will also be perceived, promoted, and commercialized in new ways.

Another ongoing shift in sports involves the use of athlete data collection and analysis. With this data becoming increasingly real-time, it is now possible to measure indicators inside as well as outside the body, creating hundreds of new metrics to feed into decision-making—creating, essentially, the digital athlete. With the hyper-quantified athlete offering such strong potential, Deloitte Global predicts that by the end of 2021, multiple professional sports leagues will establish new formal policies around the collection, use, and commercialization of player data.

Unleashing Industry 4.0 with the intelligent edge

The intelligent edge—the combination of advanced wireless connectivity, compact processing power, and AI located near devices that use and generate data—is already animating some of the largest technology and communications companies on the planet. Deloitte Global predicts that in 2021, the global market for the intelligent edge will reach $12 billion, continuing a CAGR of around 35%. That increase is being driven primarily by telecommunications companies and their expanding 5G networks, along with hyperscale cloud providers. These highly capitalized leaders’ trailblazing may make it easier for companies across multiple industries to attain the intelligent edge.

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