Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Top TechTrends

Consulting firm Deloitte released its annual list of predictions for Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) yesterday, showcasing emerging global tech trends that should affect business in 2008.

The headline on their release was a little gloomier than I’d have expected: “2008 anticipated to be "the best of times and the worst of times" as Canadians begin to understand that change comes at a price.

Brrrr!

The “price” they are taking about is the risk of becoming dependent on potentially scarce resources. For example, says John Ruffolo, National Leader of Deloitte’s TMT Group, “putting all of one's data on a single device is extremely convenient until it is stolen, lost or simply malfunctioning. Further, society must carefully balance the needs of a growing planet with a threatened earth, as our homes' carbon footprint is suddenly cause for concern."

Deloitte’s three Prediction reports are available online at www.deloitte.com/ca/predictions2008.

They are being showcased in a five-city roadshow that began yesterday in Toronto and now visits Ottawa (Jan. 24), Montreal (Jan. 25), Vancouver (Jan. 29) and Calgary (Jan. 30).

Here are a few of Deloitte's top trends for 2008.

- The rising value of digital protection (or, Goodbye hardware, Hello software): The value of personal computers and other electronic devices no longer rests in their silicon chips, but in the data, files, songs and images they store. Backing up this content to protect it from viruses and theft, and making sure files are forward-compatible, will fuel growing industries.

- The flight to privacy: As recent controversies with Facebook/Beacon demonstrate, even if privacy has not actually been breached, online users are highly sensitive to perceptions of violated privacy. This will be a continuing flashpoint. (Or as an entrepreneur might say, another opportunity.)

- The $10 mobile phone: Advances in semiconductor manufacturing and integration technologies have led to the era of the $10 phone. By embedding digital phone functionality in machines - from ATMs and cars to vending machines and freight containers - two-way data communications can now create far more powerful and cost-effective networks.

- Gray is good: As Canadians age, making technology more accessible to older users - bigger buttons, bigger fonts, and better ergonomics – will open up new and under-developed markets.

Nothing earth-shaking, but then this looks like a consolidation year.

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