Deloitte TMT predictions: Spectrum shortage looms

It not just vehicular traffic that will be slowing down consumers and businesses in Canada’s large urban centres in the near future, according to professional services firm Deloitte Canada.

A looming spectrum shortage, brought about by increasing wireless bandwidth demand will slow Internet speeds, constrict access to networks and result in more dropped calls and data session, according to the firm’s TMT Predictions 2013. The report forecasts developments in the technology, media and telecommunications industries.

“We’re predicting spectrum exhaustion in the next two years,” said Duncan Stewart, director of research for Deloitte Canada. “There’s a finite number of spectrum available and some networks are already strained to capacity because of today’s demands.”

Providers will roll out ameliorative tech solutions, he said, but solutions will boil down to how efficiently available bandwidth is used and allotted to users.

“Ultimately users will likely be given a stick or a button called ‘the Rocket’ or something like that and they turn it on and they’ll have faster service. But they’ll have to pay more for that,” he said.

Signs of a shortage have long been apparent with the constant jockeying for spectrum by Canada’s wireless providers. For instance, Rogers Communications is hoping to freeze out competitors with attempts to snap up Western Canadian wireless spectrum the cable company Shaw Communications is currently offering up for sale.


Rogers gets an edge on Shaw spectrum
TMT Predictions 2012: Big data to drive big hires

Contrary to popular belief, Stewart said, pay TV subscriptions will continue to grow in 2013. Deloitte’s research shows that no less than 99 per cent of North American will continue to pay for the service in the next few years. While the industry has been talking about so-called “cord cutters,” or viewers who switch from TV to the Internet, Stewart said people should be watching the “cord nevers” — much younger viewers who will likely not subscribe at all when they move out of their parents’ homes.

Other predictions offered by Deloitte were:

Over-the-top TV and movie services will become a strong offering by legacy broadcasters and distributors who, because of the rights they hold on fresher content, will have an edge over pure-play firms.

The next generation of high definition TV sets will feature 4K technology. This offers resolution four times higher than current standard HD sets. The constraints will be price, as the new sets cost $15,000 to $25,000, and the scarcity of content for 4K sets.

The personal computer will maintain its dominance over smart phones and tablets. More than 80 per cent of Internet traffic will be generated by desktops and laptops because mobile screens are just too small.

Tablets will help mobile advertising thrive. But again, fewer people will be viewing ads on smart phones because of the smaller screens.

More than 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies will have selective or fully implemented enterprise social networks. That’s a 70 per cent increase from 2011 figures. Although only one third of people who register on the networks ever read its content, and only 40 per cent even post material, companies will still use them because for those numbers at a cost a about $1/user, ESNs are cheap.

It’s going to be the-more-the-merrier with crowdfunding as the new venture capital strategy gains more traction and grows into a $3 billion industry in 2013. That’s a 100 per cent increase over 2011.

BYOD takes on a new shape as more companies agree to let employees use their own computers and laptops for work purposes. Companies won’t pay for the devices, but they will allow access to the enterprise network.

Increasing hacker attacks will bring about the death of strong passwords. Instead, companies will begin using multiple authentication tools. These could include token devices, extra passwords sent through SMS via smart phones and various forms of biometrics.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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