Worldwide ICT spending is set to grow to more than US$3.8 trillion, or 3.8 per cent, in 2015.
That's according to IDC, which has revealed its top ten predictions for next year.
IDC predicts nearly all of the spending growth will be focused on 3rd Platform technologies, with spending on the 2nd Platform expected to slip into recession by the end of the year.
On a geographic basis, ICT spending in emerging markets is forecast to grow 7.1 per year over year, while mature markets hum along at 1.4 per cent growth.
IDC senior vice president and chief analyst, Frank Gens, said the 3rd Platform would account for one third of global ICT spending and 100 per of spending growth.
"The industry is now entering the most critical period yet in the 3rd Platform era: the 'Innovation Stage'," he said.
"Over the next several years, we expect to see an explosion of innovation and value creation on top of the 3rd Platform's foundation.
"This stage will be driven by a new wave of core technologies – innovation accelerators – that radically extend the 3rd Platform's capabilities and applications across all industries."
Telco services will see wireless data emerge as the largest ($536 billion) and fastest growing (13 per cent) segment of telecom spending.
To avoid being marginalised as little more than infrastructure providers, carriers will scramble to develop platform- and API-based services that add value and attract developers to their networks. They will also seek rapprochement with over-the-top (OTT) cloud services providers through innovative performance and revenue-sharing arrangements.
IDC has predicted mobile devices and apps will continue to charge ahead in 2015, but not at the frenzied pace seen in recent years.
Sales of smartphones and tablets will reach US$484 billion, accounting for 40 per cent of all IT spending growth (excluding telecom services), while Chinese vendors capture a significant share of the worldwide market.
Wearables will see an explosion of innovation, although unit sales will underwhelm.
And mobile app downloads will start to slow in 2015, but enterprise mobile app development will double.
Cloud services will remain a hotbed of activity in 2015 with US$118 billion in spending on the greater cloud ecosystem. Adoption of cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will grow briskly (36 per cent) as market leader Amazon comes under attack from all directions as challengers attempt the "Amazoning of Amazon".
Similarly, look for heightened competition among Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers as competitors engage in death match battles to attract developers and their apps and Software as a Service (SaaS) players accelerate their adoption of PaaS and cloud marketplaces.
Gens said Cloud was also where he expected to see new partnerships forming among strange bedfellows.
"Such as Facebook with Microsoft and/or IBM or Amazon partnering with HP, to expand market opportunities," he said.
IDC's fifth prediction is that Big data and analytics will see important developments in 2015 as worldwide spending on big data-related software, hardware, and services grows to US$125 billion.
Rich media analytics (video, audio, and image) will emerge as an important driver of big data projects. And big data supply chains (i.e. Data as a Service) will grow in importance as cloud platform and analytics vendors offer clients value-added information from commercial and open data sets.
Elsewhere, IDC expects to see important new developments in cognitive/machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) analytics.
One third of IoT spending in 2015 will be focused on intelligent embedded devices outside the IT and telecom industries helped by partnerships among leading IT companies seeking to kickstart the market for industry solutions.
Datacentres are undergoing a fundamental transformation in the 3rd Platform era as the majority of raw compute capacity and raw storage capacity moves to cloud-, mobile-, and big data-optimised hyperscale datacentres operated by cloud service providers. This shift will spark a burst of "cloud first" hardware innovations and drive greater consolidation among server, storage, software, and networking vendors.
IDC expects to see two or three major mergers, acquisitions, or restructurings among the top-tier IT vendors in 2015.
In addition to the Internet of Things and cognitive/machine learning systems, two other innovation accelerators will become important growth drivers in 2015.
Biometric security on mobile devices and the core and encryption in the cloud will become the default practice.
And threat intelligence will emerge as a killer Data as a Service category with a rapidly growing number of enterprises receiving tailored threat intelligence information.
Elsewhere, 3D printing will see significant activity among conventional document printing companies as they lay the groundwork for a looming battle for commercial and industrial markets in 2016.
China rounds out the top ten. IDC predicts it will experience skyrocketing influence on the global ICT market in 2015 with spending that will account for 43 per cent of all industry growth, one third of all smartphone purchases, and about one third of all online shoppers.
With a huge domestic market, China's cloud and e-commerce leaders (Alibaba in ecommerce, Tencent in social, and Baidu in search) will rise to prominence in the global marketplace. Similarly, Chinese branded smartphone makers will capture more than a third of the worldwide smartphone market.
"To say that 2015 will be a pivotal year in the ICT industry is a gross understatement," Gens said.
"We'll see the 3rd Platform finally reach massive scale, along with lots of vendor consolidation and drop outs, 'strange bedfellow' partnerships, death match battles for developers (and their apps), expanding cognitive/machine learning and IoT offerings, a growing focus on data supply chains, and skyrocketing influence for China."