Deloitte TMT Predictions 2020: Edge AI Chips, Private 5G, Robots Become Ever More Interconnected; Previously Hyped Innovations Become a Reality

Deloitte released the 19th edition of its “Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions,” which looks at three overarching themes: individual technologies are becoming ever more interconnected and interdependent, increasing their impact and value as a result; smartphones, computers, TVs, enterprise data centers and software, and IoT will drive most of the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) industry’s revenue; and lastly, many previously hyped services and products will finally become a reality in 2020.

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“In 2020, we will start to see a canopy effect where industry players will work more closely together as individual technologies like edge artificial intelligence (AI) chips, robots, and private 5G become better connected, and promising innovations like low-earth orbit satellites finally come to life,” said Paul Sallomi, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, global TMT industry leader, and U.S. technology sector leader. “This year’s predictions are a helpful guide for TMT business leaders to break through the clutter and understand what to do next in order to help be successful in 2020 and beyond.”

“These disruptive forces will continue to challenge traditional tech, media, and telecom companies to keep pace with new-age, digital-native companies. Those that can innovate, swiftly bring the latest developments to market and satisfy the demands of increasingly savvy consumers are the ones most likely to be rewarded,” said Sandra Shirai, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. technology, media, and telecommunications leader.

AI has the edge
A new generation of edge AI chips will reduce frustrations caused by a lack of internet connection on smartphones by bringing AI to the device. Deloitte predicts that in 2020, more than 750 million edge AI chips — chips or parts of chips that perform or accelerate machine learning tasks on-device, rather than in a remote data center — will be sold and that the edge AI chip market will continue to grow much more quickly than the overall chip market.

Private 5G: Enterprise untethered
Deloitte predicts that more than 100 companies worldwide will begin testing private 5G deployments by the end of 2020, collectively investing a few hundred million dollars in labor and equipment. For many of the world’s largest businesses, private 5G will likely become the preferred choice, especially for industrial environments such as manufacturing plants, logistics centers, and ports.

Meet your new colleague, a robot
Of the almost 1 million robots Deloitte expects to be sold for enterprise use in 2020, just over half of them will be professional service robots, generating more than US$16 billion in revenue — 30% more than in 2019. Professional service robots will pass industrial robots in terms of units in 2020 and revenue in 2021.

Can I have an ad with my content? 
Deloitte predicts that global revenue from ad-supported video services will reach an estimated US$32 billion in 2020. Asia, including China and India, will lead with $15.5 billion in revenue in 2020, nearly half of the global total. In ChinaIndia and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, ad-supported video is the dominant model of delivering streaming video to consumers. By contrast, in the United States, most direct-to-consumer video offerings are pursuing an ad-free subscription model.

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“As major networks and studios continue to launch their own direct-to-consumer streaming services in 2020, competitors will likely scramble to offer content libraries broad enough to both attract and retain customers. There is an opportunity for media and entertainment companies to reaggregate their content libraries with a wide array of offerings — from video, music and gaming services to ad-supported content,” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. telecommunications, media & entertainment leader. “For telecom providers, on the other hand, the emergence of 5G will offer unprecedented opportunities for companies to grow and achieve new levels of productivity. However, helping shape (and manage) customer expectations regarding its possibilities will be a big challenge in the coming year.”