Expect heavy-duty AI capabilities in your pocket this year and explosive growth in the 5G market, according to Deloitte’s annual TMT predictions, growth that will be felt by all industries, especially healthcare.

Deloitte held its annual TMT Predictions event on Jan. 14 which provided the company’s outlook on key trends in technology, media and telecommunications over the next five years.

Over 100 companies around the world are expected to begin testing private 5G deployments by the end of 2020

Deloitte is projecting that by 2025, the 5G market is poised to experience a 55 per cent compound annual growth rate of over $6 billion per year and that more than 100 organizations around the world will begin testing private 5G deployments by the end of 2020. 

“5G will allow for significantly better density. Density is going to change things for consumers and businesses. Where I think it gets more interesting is something like a hospital or a technology campus using private 5G, it’s a PBX (private branch exchange) for cellular to drive down their costs and increase their privacy, security and resilience. Instead of there being a single public 5G network, we want to think about an overlay public 5G network with micro private 5G sites. That has an impact on business…it’s not really a consumer thing,” Duncan Stewart, director of research, TMT, Deloitte Canada, told IT World Canada at the event.

Hospitals could benefit from this greatly, he added.

“Picture Mount Sinai and Sick Kids Hospital having their own private 5G. Wiring in a hospital is incredibly annoying. They’ve already got lots of equipment and running a new wire costs thousands of dollars. Why? It’s not because it costs that much, it’s because you’ve got to bring in a technician that’s properly trained to work in a hospital. They have to have all their equipment sanitized and scrubbed and disinfected. The cost of wiring a new hospital room is thousands of dollars….doing it with private 5G would be a couple bucks. And it’s private and secure, and resilient.”

More than 750 million edge artificial intelligence (AI) chips are expected to be sold in 2020

Deloitte predicts sales of edge AI chips will go up significantly in 2020. Over 750 million of these chips are expected to be sold over the year, representing a rise of more than 100 per cent in sales recorded in 2017, and $2.6 billion in revenue. New edge AI chips will bring AI capabilities directly to the device, allowing it to perform or accelerate machine learning tasks without having to connect to the internet, unlocking countless opportunities for businesses.

The edge AI chip industry is poised for growth (Source: Deloitte TMT Predictions Report)

“When we talk about low latency on 5G, we’re talking about millisecond or two. I can now work even when the network goes down,” said Stewart. “Canada is a world leader in AI, specifically on the software and the algorithm side. In terms of implementing edge AI chips, Canada’s absolutely on par with any other country in the world. We are not behind but we’re not particularly ahead. This will be something that happens over time.”

Among other important predictions was that Deloitte expects almost one million robots to be sold for enterprise use in 2020. Just over half of this number will be the versatile, cart-like service units (professional service units robots), which will likely surpass the kind with arms (industrial robots) in revenue by the year 2022.

Deloitte also reported that, at 172, the density of robots in the Canadian manufacturing industry in the year 2018 was above the world average of 99 robots per 10,000 workers.