Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Monday, May 29, 2017

Windows PC Market Very Unlikely to Improve in 2017

The personal computer sector is stuck in a downturn. Worldwide shipments of personal computing devices (PCDs) -- including a combination of desktop, notebook, and workstation PCs, plus slate and detachable tablets -- are forecast to decline from a total of 435 million units in 2016 to 405.2 million units in 2021, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

This latest forecast represents a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -1.4 percent. IDC reduced its overall PCD forecast from the previous version by up to 3 percent depending on the year, with the largest reductions coming from the media tablet product categories.

PC Market Development Remains Bleak

Always the optimist, IDC analysts now believe that the troubled market could return to an overall growth trajectory in 2019. Led by a modest recovery in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific regions within the first quarter of 2017, the traditional PC market registered its first positive growth since Q1 2012.

Despite the upward improvement, growth was less than 1 percent. Now IDC expects traditional PC shipments to return to a slow decline until positive growth resumes. Desktop volume will continue to decline, while notebook PC volume will likely grow modestly, boosted by the business user market.

"The steady refinement of slim and convertible designs, as well as rising commercial spending are helping stabilize overall traditional PC shipments," said Loren Loverde, vice president at IDC.


Although traditional PC shipments will decline slightly by the end of the forecast, rising replacements and steadier growth in emerging regions will keep commercial growth in positive territory and sustain total annual shipments above 252 million throughout the forecast.

Within the tablet category, the high-level story hasn't changed all that much. The expectation remains that slate tablets will continue to decline at double-digit rates in 2017, with contraction slowing in the later years of the forecast while detachable tablets are expected to continue strong growth.

However, coming off a weaker than expected 2016 for detachable tablets, IDC reduced its overall detachable tablet forecast with the largest reductions coming from the United States and Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan).

According to the IDC assessment, sales of detachable tablets haven't quite met their expectations, and as a result they've reduced volume projections throughout the forecast period.

Outlook for PC Product Category Growth

New detachable tablet products continue to reach the global market, but the reality of this relatively new product category is that Microsoft and Apple control close to 50 percent of the volume and both companies have very cyclical product releases and relatively high price points.

One piece of industry movement that IDC says that they continue to watch closely is OEMs that have traditionally focused on the smartphone space moving further into the Windows device market. This is happening with both detachable tablets and notebook PCs, and as recently as this week Huawei announced very attractive products in both categories.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Digital Commerce Users will Reach 3 Billion by 2021

The mobile internet is a proven catalyst for online retail innovation. For some time, it's been clear that the mobile device -- either smartphone or media tablet -- is increasingly important in the world of digital commerce transaction growth across the globe.

Leading industry analysts have already observed a shift in the market dynamics -- where the smartphone was once used merely as a means for discovery, to a situation where now it's used for both product discovery and for online purchase.

This trend appears to be a natural progression from the relatively stagnant tablet industry, where a lack of market momentum has been compounded by the emergence of large-screen smartphones offering an improved online purchase experience.

Digital Commerce Market Development

Indeed, mobile applications as a whole are gaining traction as a remote goods purchase vehicle, although the smartphone growth is clearly accelerating much faster than that of the media tablet.

According to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, users of digital commerce services will reach 3 billion by 2021 -- or 40 percent of the global population -- that's up from just 32 percent this year.

The new research found that two core sectors will dominate the global digital commerce industry, in terms of transaction values: remote payments for digital or physical goods and digital banking via bill payment services.


These market segments will account for over half of all global transaction values by 2021. Significant opportunity for businesses exists, with remote payments for digital and physical goods forecast to account for over 10 percent of the $20 trillion global retail market in 2017.

Moreover, businesses will gain advantage through use of highly automated customer experiences. With product search and discovery a key stage in the online shopper journey, merchants must adopt conversational interfaces to drive customer engagement and, ultimately, sales.

That being said, Juniper analysts found that by 2021 the surge in chatbot use will result in positive gains throughout the digital commerce market.

Outlook for New Digital Experiences in Retail

"Juniper has found that chatbots and natural language search can greatly improve retailer understanding of consumer behavior, so we are witnessing growth in this sector, for example investment by Facebook and Google, as well as the launch of digital assistants by companies such as Amazon," said Lauren Foye, senior analyst at Juniper Research.

In addition, the latest research discovered that digital banking will increasingly envelop a greater proportion of the global population, with adoption forecast to approach 1 in 2 adults by 2021.

Juniper also found that usage will continue to rise as consumers increasingly opt for banks offering the convenience of rapid, multi-channel digital services. Providers will need to focus on presenting easy-to-use digital experiences to their customers, especially to remain as local market leaders.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Network Function Virtualization Revenue to Reach $38B

Open source hardware and software projects continue to gain momentum in the global telecom sector. However, after a relatively slow start, the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) market will experience growth through ongoing technology investments by major telecommunication service providers.

According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, North America will lead global growth, accumulating $13 billion in NFV-related investments during 2022. Meanwhile, Europe will experience the highest growth rate, at an estimated 53 percent CAGR between 2017 and 2022.

NFV Technology Market Development

Early adopters of the technology claim several benefits to NFV-enabled systems -- which include reductions in network CAPEX and OPEX, service agility, and reduced deployment times for new network elements.

"In 2015 and 2016, the market experienced some early successes but mostly reconsideration and failure with NFV," says Neha Pachade, senior analyst at ABI Research.

Early adopters conducted proof of concept testing and NFV-integrated system demonstrations with the aim to understand the true impact of NFV technologies. ABI forecasts indicate that NFV will become a sizeable opportunity for vendors, although it is not yet clear whether it will cannibalize existing hardware-based product lines.

ABI Research estimates that total NFV market revenues will reach $38 billion in 2022. Hardware spend -- including servers, storage devices, and switches -- will reduce with time, while software and services will have higher growth rates of 55 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

According to the ABI assessment, although the market is evolving and technical expertise is starting to mature, the standardization and multi-vendor involvement challenges will remain stagnant for the next couple of years.

Software and services vendors will have opportunities to identify NFV use-cases in enterprise verticals and apply these to offer end-to-end integrated systems.

"Early contracts and market trends illustrate the biggest winners are likely to be the established telecom vendors -- including Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia, as well as specialists like Amdocs and Netcracker -- with systems integration becoming more important each day," concluded Pachade.

Outlook for NFV Application Adoption

Several vendors also committed to open source software, which may increase business opportunities but may also create difficult choices for them in the future -- particularly if telecom service provider interest in specific open source projects fizzles out.

For the time being, NFV is mostly considered as a cost-cutting exercise, since new revenue opportunities require a transformation in a much broader context, which ABI analysts believe is more likely to be driven by 5G wireless technologies, sometime after 2020.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

How Digital Growth Drives Enterprise Architect Demand

According to the latest 2017 CIO Survey from Harvey Nash and KPMG, 89 percent of respondents are maintaining or increasing their investment in IT innovation. Moreover, 52 percent are investing in more nimble business technology platforms to help their organization innovate and grow.

Digital growth strategies are now fueling businesses across the globe at an entirely new level. The proportion of organizations surveyed that have enterprise-wide digital growth strategies increased 52 percent in just two years, and organizations with a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) have increased 39 percent over last year.

To deliver these complex digital growth strategies, organizations also report a big demand for Enterprise Architects -- the fastest growing technology skill this year -- that's up 26 percent compared to 2016.


Cyber security vulnerability is at an all-time high, with 32 percent of IT leaders reporting their organization had been subject to a major cyber-attack in the past 24 months – that's a 45 percent increase from 2013.

Yet, only 21 percent say they're 'very well' prepared to respond to these attacks -- that's down from 29 percent in 2014. Furthermore, the biggest increase in threats comes from 'insider' attacks, growing to 47 percent over last year.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Eighteen percent of CIOs report their organizations have 'very effective' digital strategies.
  • CIOs at these digitally-enabled organizations are almost twice as likely to be leading innovation across the business (41 percent versus 23 percent), and are investing at four times the rate of non-leaders in cognitive automation (25 percent versus 7 percent).
  • Overall, the survey found almost 61 percent of CIOs from larger organizations are already investing or planning to invest in hiring more digital talent.
  • 61 percent of CIOs say IT projects are more complex than they were five years ago, and weak ownership (46 percent), an overly optimistic approach (40 percent), and unclear objectives (40 percent) are the main reasons their IT projects fail.
  • 27 percent of CIOs say that a lack of project talent is the cause of project failure, but project management skills are absent from the top list of technology skills needed in 2017, dropping a staggering 19 percent in just one year.
  • CIOs who are 'very fulfilled' in their role is at a three-year high -- rising from 33 percent in 2015 to 39 percent this year.
  • For the first time in a decade, more than 71 percent of CIOs believe their role is becoming more strategic. And, 92 percent of CIOs joined a Board meeting in the past 12 months.
  • However, the typical CIO employment tenure is just five years or less (59 percent), although many want to stay longer (if they had a choice).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Growth Challenges Drive Semiconductor Market M&A

Semiconductors are the heart of information technology and telecommunications systems. Worldwide semiconductor revenue totaled $343.5 billion in 2016 -- that's a 2.6 percent increase from 2015 revenue of $334.9 billion, according to the latest global market study by Gartner.

The top 25 semiconductor vendors' combined revenue increased 10.5 percent, a significantly better performance than the overall industry's growth. However, most of the reported growth resulted from vendor merger and acquisition (M&A) activity.

Semiconductor Sector Market Development

"The semiconductor industry rebounded in 2016, with a weak start to the year, characterized by inventory correction, giving way to strengthening demand and an improving pricing environment in the second half," said James Hines research director at Gartner.

Worldwide semiconductor revenue growth was supported by increasing production in many electronic equipment segments, improving NAND flash memory pricing and relatively benign currency movements.

Intel retained its number one position as the largest semiconductor manufacturer and grew its semiconductor revenue 4.6 percent in 2016. Samsung Electronics continued to maintain the No. 2 spot with 11.7 percent market share.

Consolidation continued to play a major role in the market share rankings, with several large companies growing through acquisitions.

Merger and acquisition activity among the major vendors in 2016 included Avago Technologies' acquisition of Broadcom Corp. to become Broadcom Ltd., On Semiconductor's acquisition of Fairchild Semiconductor, and Western Digital's acquisition of SanDisk.

The largest mover in the top 25 was Broadcom Ltd., which moved up 12 places in the market share ranking.

Gains for Overall Semiconductor Sector

"The combined revenue of the top 25 semiconductor vendors increased by 10.5 percent during 2016 and accounted for a 74.9 percent share, outperforming the rest of the market, which saw a 15.6 percent revenue decline," said Mr. Hines.

However, according to the Gartner assessment, these results are skewed by the large amount of M&A activity during 2015 and 2016. If you adjust for this M&A activity by adding the revenue of each acquired company to the revenue of the acquirer for both 2015 and 2016, then the top 25 vendors would have experienced a 1.9 percent revenue increase, and the rest of the market would have increased by 4.6 percent.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Why Digital Trust is an Organizational Culture Challenge

Organizational security online is everyone's responsibility, and a key part of all digital transformations. Furthermore, maintaining 'digital trust' is a critical aspect of all business technology deployments. Besides, the concept of digital trust is essential in the Financial Services sector of the Global Networked Economy.

People trust banks with their money, insurance companies with their health and future and investment companies with their savings, and yet the recent International Data Corporation (IDC) market study highlighted that how these organizations manage IT security is not as advanced as we might expect.

Digital Trust Assessment in Asia-Pacific

The report of the findings entitled "IT Security in Financial Services in Asia-Pacific (Excluding Japan) 2017" studied the maturity of 106 financial services organization and found that, on a scale of 1-5 for IT security maturity, more than two thirds of all respondents (71.6 percent) were at either stage 1 (29.2 percent) or Stage 2 (42.4 percent).

"This is not what we had expected to see," says Simon Piff, vice president at IDC. "The key issues at hand that resulted in this shocking statistic is very much about the way IT security is considered within organisations."

Thinking that online security is a problem for the IT organization to solve is both short-sighted and does not embrace the full issue. Therefore, organizations must think in terms of business risk first, then decide how IT can help mitigate some of these risks, and not simply assign an IT label to it.

In the hyper-connected world of today, the methods by which threat actors will try to breach a network are many and varied, and traditional IT approaches of focusing on perimeter prevention, without investing sufficiently into network detection and remediation, is at that heart of the issue.

"The bad guys are already on the inside, and we are all looking outside to see what we can stop thereby missing the advanced threat actors who can create the worst scenario for any business," concluded Piff.

Global IT Security Framework

The results in this study are based on the IDC "2016 IT Security MaturityScape Benchmark Survey" of 852 organizations, conducted from June to July 2016. The telephone survey used a structured questionnaire which focused on the five dimensions of a framework.

For each dimension, IDC created a set of questions to assess the level of capability and/or maturity for the dimension. Of the respondents, 106 identified themselves from the financial services industry. The IDC MaturityScape is based on global best practices for IT security maturity.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Line of Business Leaders Drive Digital Transformation

Digital transformation requires savvy talent. That's why more Line of Business (LoB) leaders are adding business technology experts to their staff -- independent of the traditional IT department. Senior executives cite the need for specialized skills, faster response times and predictable business outcomes.

But while lines of business have autonomy to make technology decisions, they continue to collaborate with the corporate IT organization. Forty percent of business respondents to a recent survey said that their department works jointly with CIOs and CTOs to determine the solutions they'll deploy.

Digital Transformation Market Development

Executives from finance, marketing, sales, logistics and other departments play an increasingly central role in the evaluation, purchase and deployment of technology solutions, according to the latest market study by CompTIA.

"CIOs and CTOs remain involved in the process, as their expertise and experience are valued," said Carolyn April, senior director at CompTIA. "But business lines are clearly flexing their muscles. It's another strong signal that technology has shifted from a supporting function for business to a strategic asset."

Among the 675 U.S. businesses surveyed by CompTIA, 45 percent said that ideas about technology come from different areas of the organization, and 36 percent said more executives are involved in the decision making. Moreover, 52 percent used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases.

LoB leaders are also staffing their departments with specialists, such as data scientists and business analysts, software developers and social media experts. This shift in talent development and digital growth agenda influence is impacting the IT channel -- vendors, distributors and solution providers.

"The amount of green-field, untapped space for business is huge," April continued. "But lines of business have little knowledge or interaction with the IT channel. It's incumbent on the channel to get their faces in front of line of business leaders."

Furthermore, LoB leaders are driving the trend of adopting more public cloud-based offerings, which can be self-provisioned quickly by software developers. For that reason, CompTIA believes that legacy IT channel partners need to package what they sell differently.

Business Technology Procurement Trends

"They need to speak the language of business, because this new generation of buyers doesn't want to hear about the technical implications of their purchases," April explained.

According to the CompTIA assessment, IT channel partners need to position themselves as consultants and service providers who can help LoB customers make informed decisions about what they buy.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

More IT Workloads Shift to Cloud Services in 2017

Cloud computing services continue to grow, as more organizations discover the benefits of hybrid cloud solutions. The worldwide cloud infrastructure services market grew significantly in the first quarter of 2017, up by 42 percent year-on-year to reach $11.4 billion, according to the latest market study by Canalys.

Once again, Amazon AWS maintained its dominance in the sector, holding a stable global market share of 31 percent. It was followed by its strongest hyperscale rivals - Microsoft, Google and IBM.

Microsoft grew 93 percent and Google was up 74 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. These growth rates were faster than those of AWS and IBM, which grew 43 percent and 38 percent respectively.

Public Cloud Service Market Development

"Competition for enterprise customers is intensifying among leading cloud service providers, which are investing heavily to secure key national and global accounts," said Daniel Liu, research analyst at Canalys.

Timing is crucial, as many large accounts are assessing, formulating and executing strategies to move existing workloads and infrastructure to the cloud, and develop new types of workloads as part of digital transformation initiatives.

Cloud players are therefore looking to the channel to expand their reach, especially into mid-market opportunities. According to the Canalys assessment, the business partner channel has become integral to winning in the enterprise, with top cloud players focusing on channel expansion plans.


AWS has an established channel program that is growing and is cited by the company as helping to win key global clients. Microsoft’s growth in Q1 2017 demonstrates the benefit of having a huge enterprise client base and converting it to Azure.

Many of the leading enterprise vendors are building on Azure Stack, Microsoft’s latest cloud initiative, to provide customers with hybrid solutions.

Third-placed Google has revamped its partner program as it strives to catch up. It has made progress toward meeting the technology and feature requirements of large enterprise customers. But to rival the others public cloud leaders, it needs to demonstrate its enterprise readiness.

Outlook for Multi-Cloud Environments

Moreover, to achieve this potential upside, Google will need to sustain investment in both technology and go-to-market capabilities, and continue to highlight key customer wins in 2017 and beyond.

Go-to-market strategy -- including both customer and channel partner engagement -- will ultimately determine vendor success in this segment. Larger enterprises will adopt a multi-cloud strategy to distribute risk. In order to challenge AWS, Canalys believes that other cloud vendors will need deep financial resources to continue to participate and advance in this highly competitive market.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Autonomous Vehicle Ecosystem Gains Momentum

The term connected cars refers to devices installed in the vehicle which allow Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication or machine-to-human interaction. M2M is communication between two machines that require no human interaction.

In contrast, vehicle telematics enables data to be sent from a vehicle to another location, and used for vehicle conditioning or to monitor driver behavior. Beyond the connected car ecosystem, opportunities will present themselves for integration with other ecosystems, such as the smart home and smart city technology.

The full value of the ecosystem will be felt by others outside the connected car ecosystem, such as law makers and mobile network operators.

Connected Vehicle Market Development

According to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, 50 percent of new vehicles will be shipped with Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) hardware by 2022 -- it's a wireless communication technology that enables real-time short-range communication between vehicles.

The new study found that the total number of V2V-enabled consumer vehicles on the road will reach 35 million by 2022 -- that's up from less than 150,000 vehicles in 2017. This strong growth rate (376 percent CAGR) reflects the early stages of roll-out for V2V, but will still only represent 2.7 percent off all vehicles.

According to the Juniper assessment, the technology launched by Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac will play an important role in the advance of autonomous vehicles, as the annual production of self-driving cars approaches 15 million by 2025.

The research found that, alongside GPS, Light-Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and road mapping, V2V will be among the critical technologies in delivering autonomous driving systems.

In order for V2V to be successful, OEMs must include cellular connectivity to provide over-the-air firmware updates. Moreover, OEMs should implement 5G technology at the earliest opportunity, to benefit from these newly enabled services.

Outlook for Vehicle-to-Everything Apps

5G wireless will play a key role in the future of the Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communications. Low latency, high bandwidth and wide coverage will be the key enabler of new services such as in-vehicle audio streaming and vehicle-to-infrastructure services -- such as safety and weather warnings for drivers.

As the complexity of these services increases, Juniper analysts estimate that future automotive technologies, including autonomous systems, could each consume up to 1 terabyte of data per day.

"For V2X to meet future expectations, development must continue on the premise that 5G will be the underlying connection. This will be underpinned by increasing cross-industry collaborations such as the 5G Automotive Association," said Sam Barker, research analyst at Juniper Research.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Distributed Ledger Technologies Enable Smart Contracts

Blockchain applications are driving significant new investment in related Internet of Things (IoT) projects. The rapidly evolving distributed ledger technology will alter established industries beyond financial services, according to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research.

In addition to online transactions, blockchain technology can also be used for communication, identification, ownership, and device management. Besides, with continued architecture improvements and ecosystem expansion, blockchain technology is moving into smart contracts and other promising use cases.

Blockchain Apps Market Development

"These pre-programmed, self-executing, autonomous contracts can be used for numerous applications, including: digital identities, governance, asset tracking, and M2M transactions, among many others," said Michela Menting, research director at ABI Research.

Through these evolving IoT related technologies, blockchain can affect and perhaps transform all kinds of interactions: from business and legal to social and political.

The growing potential to explore distributed ledger applications as a market beyond cryptocurrency can be measured against current venture capital funding, which is reported to have reached about half a billion dollars globally in 2016.

According to the ABI assessment, there are already more than 1,500 start-ups that have adopted blockchain technology. But not all of these application scenarios are public. Some blockchains are private, while others are of a hybrid nature or run by an industry consortium.

Furthermore, not all distributed ledger technologies are blockchains, as the goals and objectives of the various industry ecosystem participants are compelled by other commercial imperatives.

That being said, while distributed ledger technology has transformation potential, it also needs to overcome numerous real or perceived obstacles. As an example, it's not immune from vulnerabilities, and ABI analysts believe that other unknowns may inhibit further growth and eventual market maturity.

Vendors, such as BitNation, Modum, MultiChain, and Riddle&Code, will need to create interest in blockchain for the ultimate end-users, and create broad awareness of how it can be applied in value-added applications across many different sectors.

Outlook for Blockchain Application Growth

However, first the vendors must address issues associated to immutability, scale, cost, and privacy -- as well as clarify the legal uncertainties surrounding smart contracts. Above all, the leading vendors will also likely need to tackle misconceptions about what blockchain can enable, and any inherent limitations.

"While the cryptocurrency market may be maturing, IoT applications are still largely untested," concludes Menting. "The excitement around Bitcoin success is nonetheless fueling a great many endeavors beyond fintech that are likely to impact the IoT market."