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Deloitte predicts UK technology sector trends for 2018

17 January 2018

  • The impact of machine learning applications – from machine vision to voice recognition – will be massively enhanced via the deployment of 800,000 machine learning centric chips in data centres this year, roughly quadruple the volume in 2016;
  • One billion smartphone users will create augmented reality (AR) content in 2018 globally, with half of UK smartphone users doing so;
  • Findings come from Deloitte UK’s TMT Predictions 2018 report, published today.

The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practice at Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has today announced its predictions for the UK technology sector in 2018. The news comes following the launch of the seventeenth edition of TMT Predictions 2018.

Machine learning: bargaining chips
A surge in deployment of FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) and ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) - will be a core driver in the use of machine learning. FPGAs and ASICs will represent between a quarter and a third of all machine learning chips deployed this year.

David Halstead, lead partner for technology at Deloitte, commented: “The rise in use of FPGAs and ASICs should dramatically increase the use of machine learning, which has previously been reliant on GPU chips (graphics processing units), which may be slower or more power hungry than FPGAs and ASICs.

“However, it isn’t just the chips that are getting better. Automation, data reduction and training will make machine learning technology easier, cheaper and faster for businesses to adopt and implement across a variety of sectors. In 2018, machine learning will become increasingly mainstream – but there will still be plenty of progress to make in subsequent years.”

AR: on the cusp of reality
Deloitte predicts that more than a billion smartphone users globally will create augmented reality (AR) content at least once in 2018, with at least 300 million doing so monthly. In the UK, half of all smartphone users will create AR content this year.

A key catalyst of the growth in AR content available is the availability of development platforms that reduce the technical skill level required to create AR experiences: more junior developers can now create AR.

Tens of thousands of apps incorporating AR capability will launch this year, and by the end of 2018, billions of smartphone users will have downloaded an app or an update to an existing app that incorporates AR content creation capability.

Paul Lee, head of research for technology, media and telecommunications, comments: “2018 is likely to be a year of significant progress and experimentation for AR content created on a smartphone. Not only will the quantity of premium AR devices increase, but there will be tens of thousands of AR apps available for consumers and businesses.”

Recent technological improvements in the latest smartphone models, including enhanced cameras and software, will be the key drivers for the growth in AR adoption this year. AR-enhanced content is likely to be more shared, and when shared, more ‘liked’: this will expedite consumer adoption and usage.

Smartphone-created AR content will look increasingly photorealistic – viewers of AR content may perceive it to be real when they view it on a smartphone – and will often be recorded and shared as a video file.

In the medium term, AR will be increasingly used by businesses, enterprise and government for a variety of applications, with instruction manuals, technical support and public service announcements all being possible cases for AR content.

Lee added: “We expect AR capability will be a key differentiator for certain genres of apps, such as social networks, messaging, shopping and games; it will be an important driver of future smartphone upgrades.

“Enterprises should experiment enthusiastically but pragmatically with possible applications, but should be careful, however, not to start off with AR as the answer before looking for the solutions it could address.”


Note to editors

About the TMT Predictions 2018
The 2018 series of TMT Predictions is the 17th edition of the report and has drawn on internal and external inputs from thousands of conversations with member firm clients and contributions from Deloitte member firms’ partners and managers specialising in TMT, and discussions with industry analysts as well as interviews with leading executives from around the world and proprietary quantitative research.

Please click on the following link to read about Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2018.

Please click on the following links to read about Deloitte’s predictions for the Media and Telecoms sectors in 2018.

About Deloitte

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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Annual minimum sales of machine learning chips in global data centres (units)

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