Prediction vs. Reality in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Sector

Sometime ago, International Data Corporation (IDC) made quite a few startling predictions for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. However, these were greatly influenced by the 3rd Platform, i.e. the industry’s emerging platform for innovation and growth built on the technological underpinnings of mobile computing, cloud-based services, big data and analytics and social networking.

 To be more precise, some of IDC’s predictions, as presented by Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC, are presented below for the benefit of researchers interested in finding the facts.

27>> IT spending, throughout the world will reach $2.1 trillion by the end of 2014. This spending will be channelized through 3rd platform technologies, which is estimated to grow 15% year over year, eventually capturing 89% of the total spending growth. Sales of tablets and Smartphones will continue at the same uplifted pace while disbursements for servers, networks, storage, software and services will go considerably up as compared to those in 2013. The PC market will continue to remain unsteady, while revenue will plummet at 6% year over year.

>> 2014 will witness emerging markets returning to double-digit growth (10%), soaring as much as $740 billion – around 35% of global IT revenues, and phenomenally more than 60% of worldwide IT spending growth. So far as BRIC countries are concerned, IT spending will grow by 13% year over year which will be instituted by an economic recovery in China. In true dollar value, China’s IT spending growth will be at par with that of the United States, irrespective of the fact that the Chinese market is one third the size of U.S. market. In other countries, emerging market growth will be haphazard, a true harbinger of a new ‘Post-BRIC’ era.

>> Betwixt the 3rd Platform, value will begin to migrate ‘up the stack’ from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), as also from generic Paas to data-optimized PaaS. The rearmost will become quite evident when Amazon Web Services will rollout a torrent of Platform-as-a-Service offerings for developers and higher value services aimed at businesses. Needless to say, this will induce incumbent IT suppliers, those that had won market leadership in the 2nd Platform era – to reconfigure post-haste to fight for position in the 3rd Platform marketplace. Joining them in this band wagon will be Google, after realizing the risk of being thrown out of a market where it should run for leadership.

>> The mobile device onslaught will continue with sales of tablets growing by 18%, while smartphones may go down to 12%. The Android confederacy, pioneered by Samsung, will maintain its volume advantage over Apple, while the latter will hold onto its value edge with stronger average selling prices and perhaps an entrenched ecosystem of apps. However, Google Play (Android) app downloads are in for sensational gains and the ‘app ecosystem value gap’ will be appreciably lowered in 2014. Nevertheless, Microsoft needs quickly double mobile developer interest in Windows.

>> Cloud spending, that includes cloud services and the technology involved in these services will go up 25%, probably reaching $100 billion. Incidentally, International Data Corporation anticipates a dramatic hike in the number of datacenters as cloud players are all set to achieve global success. Needless to say, this will be followed by similar expansion in the various workload-specialized cloud infrastructure services, giving rise to new forms of discrimination among cloud service providers.

Eventually, a conglomeration will be formed where developers that can create cloud-based applications and solutions will all join together and settle the code of conduct.

As the year of prediction, i.e. 2014 have already started rolling in a steady form, the reader may equate the figures predicted by IDC vis-à-vis what has happened in reality in the IT world.