The pendulum of technology adoption is set to swing back from the consumer to the enterprise in 2015 with companies leading the way in wearables, drones, 3D printing and the Internet of Things.
That's according to Deloitte's annual technology, media and telecommunications predictions.
The other major prediction from the IT consultant is that 2015 will be a tipping point towards wider consumer adoption of in-store smartphone payments.
Deloitte Australia TMT industry leader, Stuart Johnston, said smartphones were already being used to check balances, transfer funds and transact online, although they had not yet reached ‘mobile wallet’ status globally.
"However, we believe 2015 will be the inflection year," he said.
“This is the first year that all mainstream mobile requirements will be addressed, including user friendly security, making smartphone payment options much easier.
He said, since 2009, mobile payments had been poised to take off, waiting for the multiple prerequisites to satisfy financial institutions, merchants, consumers and device vendors.
“In Australia, the UK, Canada, and Asia Pac - and in particular early adopters Japan – Tap and Pay is becoming universally accepted. We expect this to encourage our ‘always on’ Australian consumers to move easily to mobile payment, particularly given Australians take-up of mobile banking is ahead of the US, UK and Germany.
“Our report predicts that some five percent of the 600 million NFC-enabled smartphones in the world, (30 million), will be used to make an in-store payment at least once a month.
Also, counter to previous industry predictions that the smartphone market will plateau, Deloitte predicts a further one billion upgrades globally in 2015, signalling that the market has not yet matured or stagnated.
Over one billion of the 1.35 billion smartphones predicted to sell worldwide in 2015, will be upgrades – new phones for those who already have one. The upgrade cycle may be lengthening, but battery capacity and age, screen size, speed, storage, software and design will continue to drive growth for smartphone refreshes.
Battery life was seen as the most important factor Australians would look for in their next smartphone purchase, followed by price, according to a deloitte survey.
In a surprise prediction, Deloitte's TMT report maintains that print is not dead - at least for books.
Print books globally will continue to dominate the publishing industry, accounting for 80 per cent of all book sales by dollars and units, according to Australian national media lead partner, Clare Harding.
In 2015 Deloitte predicts that sales from print books will be five times the sales of eBooks.
In fact print will represent more than 80 per cent of book sales worldwide.
Harding said eBooks had not substituted print books in the same way that sales of CDs, print newspapers and magazines have declined, particularly for the younger cohort (aged 18-34), and specifically for young women.
"Apparently it is the ‘smell of books’, liking to collect them, and wanting ‘full bookshelves’ that is driving the appetite for printed books," she said.
"It would seem that millennials are as attached to print books as their elders and read at about the same rate. And they are willing to pay for them!” Harding said.
Millennials are also willing to pay for Pay TV, music, computer games, live sports, streaming videos, books and even print newspapers.
Harding said the ‘generation that won’t pay’ is spending on TMT and are being led by North American millennials.
“They will spend an average of US$750 per person in 2015 for content, both digital and traditional.”
TMT risk services partner, Dennis Moth, said last year’s shifts from a decade-long trend of consumerisation of Information Technology (IT), with for example a modest consumer uptake of wearable technology like smart glasses, had set the trend for 2015.
“Although the noise is loudest around consumer use, we believe that in 2015 it is the enterprise that will drive adoption, drive spend and importantly reap value," he said.
"We expect the pendulum of technology adoption to swing back to the enterprise with company led adoption of wearables, 3D printing, drones and the Internet of Things [IoT] meeting more needs and generating higher sales for business than consumers.”
Deloitte predicts that in 2015, more than 60 per cent of the one billion global wireless IoT devices will be bought, paid for and used by enterprises, with the IoT-specific hardware predicted to be worth $US10 billion, and enterprise services enabled by the devices, about $US70 billion.
Moth said although the focus may well be on consumer take-up – think Bluetooth enabled roller-doors, white goods - the real value will be in the savings made by industry and business, with smart factories, smart homes, eHealth and telematics.
“In Australia for instance the takeup of drones will have multiple industrial, organisational and civil government applications," he said.
"In 2015, we’ll see further and multiple uses [of drones] with Surf Life Saving Australia already using unmanned aerial drones to patrol some of Queensland beaches and the University of Wollongong awarding two of its PhD students an innovation award for their work on a lifesaving drone.”
Globally Deloitte predicts sales of non-military drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles( or UAVs), to be about 300,000 units, driving the installed base to over a million. Although consumers or prosumers will buy the majority, most of the real value will come from enterprise use.
The report predicits nearly 220,000 3D printers to be sold worldwide, with a dollar value of $US1.6 billion.
But it is unlikely that there will be a factory in every home.
Deloitte estimates about 80 per cent of the value of all 3D printers globally will be for companies instead of consumers, meaning the real revolution will be in the enterprise market.
Moth said he anticipated that rapid prototyping and 3D objects that fitted into existing manufacturing processes and techniques, such as tooling or creating a mold, would represent 90 per cent of the objects made by the enterprise.
"3D printing will also boost the startup market given this ability to facilitate cost effective tailored prototypes.”