Press releases

Deloitte Global 2017 TMT Predictions: Mobile Machine Learning expected to expand, helping to transform society

  • Over 300 million smartphones to have built in machine learning capabilities in 2017
  • China's Big Three telecommunication operators are actively promoting 5G network with China Mobile being the fastest after intensifying up speed.
  • Biometric fingerprint reader-equipped devices will likely top one billion for the first time in early 2017

Published: 23 January 2017

Deloitte Global predicts that over 300 million smartphones, or more than one fifth of units sold in 2017, will have machine learning capabilities within the device in the next 12 months. Deloitte Global’s 16th edition of the Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions showcases how mobile devices will be able to perform machine learning tasks even without connectivity which will significantly alter how humans interact with technology across every industry, market and society.

However, over time machine learning on-the-go will not just be limited to smartphones. These capabilities are likely to be found in tens of millions (or more) of drones, tablets, cars, virtual or augmented reality devices, medical tools, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and unforeseen new technologies.

“Machine learning is fascinating as it will revolutionize how we conduct simple tasks like translating content, but it also has major security and health consequences that can improve societies around the world,” said Paul Sallomi, Deloitte Global TMT Industry Leader. “For example, mobile machine learning is a strong entry point to improve responses to disaster relief, help save lives with autonomous vehicles, and even turn the tide against the growing wave of cyberattacks.”

Deloitte China TMT Industry National Managing Partner William Chou commented, “We predict that over 300 million smartphones will have on-board neural machine-learning capabilities. Indeed, China has made headways in revolutionizing chip technology to mimic aspects of the human brain’s structure and function with elements replicating neurons and their interconnections, which allow smartphones to perform machine-learning tasks even when they are not connected to a network. Compact neural networks suited for mobile devices will enable tasks such as voice recognition, handwritten symbol recognition and language translation to perform on mobile phones in 2017. ”

5G: a revolution in evolution, even in 2017

Significant, tangible steps towards the deployment of 5G, the fifth generation of cellular networks, are expected to take place in 2017. Planned upgrades to 4G networks, as well as the performance of the first limited 5G deployments, should acquaint users and operators with several of the most important features of 5G networks, including significantly higher speeds, lower latency, and support for low-power low-bitrate IoT devices and sensors.

“We predict more than 200 carriers will likely offer LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), which will incorporate many of the core 5G network capabilities across some of their 4G networks by the end of 2017 while global operators accelerate commercial deployment," said Chou. "Meanwhile, China’s Big Three telecommunication operators are actively promoting 5G network with China Mobile being the fastest after intensifying up speed. Polar Code pushed mainly by Huawei became one of the international unified standard eMBB short code signaling control standards, a major breakthrough in the field for China mobile communications. Faster speed, low latency and high capacity will drive the development of 5G in three major areas: video, virtual reality and autonomous driving.”

Additional findings from Deloitte Global’s 2017 TMT predictions include:

  • Cyberattacks enter the Terabit Era - In 2017, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, a form of cyberattack, will become larger in scale, harder to mitigate, and more frequent. There are expected to be on average a terabit/s (Tbit/s) scale attack per month, over 10 million attacks in total, and an average attack size of between 1.25 and 1.5 gigabits per second (Gbit/s). This escalation in the DDoS threat is largely due to the growing number of IoT devices, online availability of malware methodologies which allow relatively unskilled attackers to corral insecure IoT devices and use them to launch attacks, and access to ever higher bandwidth speeds.
  • Biometric Security Reaches the Billions - The active base of fingerprint reader-equipped devices will likely top one billion for the first time in early 2017, with each active sensor used an average of 30 times a day, implying over 10 trillion aggregate presses globally over the year. With the rapid pace of access and adoption of this technology, the challenge is to determine which additional applications could use fingerprint readers and other biometric inputs to provide rapid and secure authentication.
  • Have We Reached Peak Tablet? - 2017 sales of tablets will likely be fewer than 165 million units, down by approximately 10 percent from the 182 million units sold in 2016, suggesting we have passed the peak demand for these devices. While the numbers vary by country, in terms of the preferred devices for various activities, there are three consumer devices that are at present leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers.
  • TV Advertising to Remain Flat – While US TV advertising revenue in 2017 is expected to be flat with 2016, this forecast is a positive outlook for an industry that too often is declared a vanishing business - flat is the new up. Spending will remain steady due to several factors including daily TV viewing remaining robust, ad skipping is relatively limited, older Americans are watching slightly more TV, and streaming continues to lack TV’s mass appeal for certain kinds of advertisers.

Now in its 16th year, Deloitte Global’s annual TMT Predictions provides an outlook on key trends over the course of the next 1-5 years in the technology, media and telecommunications industry sectors worldwide. Full details about the global TMT Predictions are available here:

Did you find this useful?