Big data will drive big hires, Deloitte says

Big data projects will drive thousands of Canadian IT hires and tablets will become as pervasive as light bulbs, according to a list of key tech predictions presented Tuesday by Deloitte & Touche LLP.

About 100 million tablets could be sold in 2012, more than doubling the 47 million sold last year, said Duncan Stewart, director of research at Deloitte Canada and co-author of Deloitte’s 11th annual report on technology, media and telecom trends. Though it took 40 years for five per cent of households to own two TV sets, it will take less than three years for five per cent of homes to reach the two tablet threshold, he said.

Within a few years the proliferation of multiple tablets per owner will make computing and connectivity pervasive in every room of the home, Stewart predicted, “so it’s essentially like a light bulb on the ceiling.”

The desire to view video and TV content from anywhere at any time is driving much of the double tablet phenomenon, with “catch up commuters” set to consume an estimated five billion hours of TV content on their way to and from work in 2012, Stewart said.

In turn, that jump in online video and TV consumption is one factor leading to the rise of big data, along with increased use of the Web for social networking, gaming and advertising. This “deluge of data” could grow by over 1,000 per cent in the next two years, Stewart said, boosting enterprise spending on big data storage and management tools even though the global economy remains fragile.

“All of the sudden, traditional data tools struggle with those (volumes),” Stewart said. “About 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies will have big data projects (in place) by the end of 2012.”

Deloitte forecasts up to $1.5 billion worth of new big data projects being initiated globally in 2012 (up more than tenfold since 2009), touching off 15,000 new IT hires in Canada over the next five years. The firm expects the earliest adopters of big data tools to be the public sector, financial services, retail, entertainment and media.

Turning to near field communication (NFC), Stewart said the mobile payments technology will see a dramatic increase in its availability – but not necessarily its popularity.

“We think 2012 will be a transition year on NFC,” Stewart said, with the number of NFC-enabled smart phones expected to double from 2011 levels of 90 million.

The use of those NFC chips to actually complete purchases and other financial transactions won’t gain huge traction this year, however, since “consumers are skeptical” about security risks, Stewart said. Instead, he said consumers in 2012  will likely use NFC “less for payments and more for the other stuff you can do” with it, such as mobile gaming, gambling and health care applications.

Among Deloitte’s other predictions for 2012:

Consumer IT demand. “We expect consumer technology demand to be surprisingly robust this year,” Stewart said. This trend will continue to defy the tough global economic climate as falling device prices and a thirst for newer gadgets combine to drive higher sales of smart phones, TVs, tablets and other computers in 2012.

Ultrabooks. “We think a lot of consumers around the world are going to embrace this,” Stewart said of the super thin, super lightweight Intel powered laptops. “Fifteen per cent of PCs (sold in 2012) could in fact be Ultrabooks.”

Hard times for hard disks. People will migrate from hard disk drives to more power efficient SSD storage for small mobile devices like smart phones and tablets; as a result, SSDs will grab 90 per cent of the total storage market in 2012, up from just 20 per cent in 2006.

Data caps. With big data comes big traffic jams for ISPs, so Deloitte expects providers to move from unlimited data service plans to capped plans that charge extra fees for every gigabyte that users go over each month.

Traditional TV still king. Despite growing consumption of TV content on mobile devices, “that’s still an extremely small piece of the pie,” Stewart said, making up only five to 10 per cent of all TV content viewing overall today. Consumers love the convenience of mobile viewing but prefer a large, high quality screen as their primary TV viewing device, he said.

BYOD. This year many enterprise IT managers and executives won’t bother setting up policies to police bring-your-own-device use, but will focus on implementing IT tools to make sure those devices are properly supported and secure instead.

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