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2019 will be Defined by Smart Speakers, Rise of 5G Networks and Development of Cloud-Based AI

Prague, 13 December 2018 – In 2019, smart speakers will be the fastest-growing connected IoT device category. Their market will be worth USD 7 billion. Fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks will burst onto the scene in 2019, and by 2020, around 50 operators will offer this service. Among companies using artificial intelligence (AI), more than two thirds will obtain these capabilities through the cloud. These are some of the conclusions of Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions 2019.

The study marks the 18th edition of the technology development predictions released by Deloitte’s experts for the coming years. Next year, 5G wireless networks are expected to arrive in scale. According to the study’s conclusions, 72 operators are currently testing this offering, and in 2019, 25 wireless operators are predicted to launch 5G service, a figure that will likely double by 2020. In total, over one million 5G handsets are expected to be sold in 2019, and that number should expand to 15-20 million units by 2020.

“Wide-scale adoption of 5G devices will take time. However, 2019 will be the starting point for sweeping change for the wireless industry. 5G can provide hundredfold increases in traffic capacity over 4G, and this has truly transformative potential on the offer of extended connectivity for a wide range of uses and development of innovative IoT solutions. According to unofficial information, the next-generation network will soon be adopted in the Czech Republic as well,” says Štěpán Húsek, Partner in the Consulting function of Deloitte leading the Technology advisory services team.

According to Deloitte, total industry revenues in respect of smart speakers with an integrated virtual assistant using AI will be up 63% to a total of 250 million installed devices. Speech recognition technologies continue to improve, but for truly global adoption of assistants, the industry will have to overcome obstacles which include, among others, wider language support.

In 2019, companies will significantly accelerate usage of cloud-based artificial intelligence services. Among companies using AI, 70% will obtain AI capabilities through cloud-based enterprise software, and 65% will create AI applications using cloud-based development services. According to Deloitte’s study, by 2020, the penetration rate of enterprise software with AI built in, and cloud-based AI development services will reach an estimated 87% and 83%, respectively.

“So far, AI’s initial benefits have been predominantly accrued by ‘tech giants’ such as Amazon and Google, which have extensive financial resources, strong IT infrastructure, and a highly-specialised pool of experts,” says Štěpán Húsek. “However, thanks to increased cost efficiency and widespread availability, the cloud will rapidly extend the use of AI capabilities to a much wider range of enterprises,” adds Húsek.

Additional topics from Deloitte's 2019 TMT Predictions include:

  • 3D printing development – The industry’s sales will surpass USD 2.7 billion in 2019 and top USD 3 billion in 2020, growing 12.5% annually each year.
  • Quantum computing will emerge as one of the largest new technology revenue opportunities. According to Deloitte, the quantum computing market is expected to be comparable to that the supercomputer market – around USD 50 billion per year by the 2030s.
  • China will further strengthen its position as a globally-significant player in developing and manufacturing semiconductors and will play a leading role in AI development. It will also have highly-developed telecommunications infrastructure, enabling further dynamic growth of IoT and AI service offerings.

More information about Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2019 can be found here.