Third Platform Will Dominate ICT Growth in 2015

We recently ‘attended’ a webinar by IDC, covering the company’s prediction for the ‘third platform’. The third platform consists of 21st century technologies such as big data, mobile, the cloud and the internet of things (IoT). These technologies now account for 30% of ICT market spend and almost 100% of growth! Areas to watch include the IoT, cognitive systems and 3D printing.

Ten predictions were made by Frank Gens, SVP and chief analyst at IDC. We will not cover them all here as not all are relevant to the display industry.

The overall outlook for the worldwide ICT industry is a slowing in spending growth, to 3.8%, next year. Total spend at this point will be just over $3.8 trillion. Almost all of the growth will focus on third platform technologies, with the second platform (client-server computing) slipping into recession in the second half of the year. Emerging markets will rise about 5x faster than developed markets, at 7.1% compared to 1.4%. China, at 11.4%, will represent 43% of spending growth. Europe will be flat, Japan will decline around 3% and the USA will grow 2.7%.

Wireless data will be both the largest (worth $536 billion) and fastest-growing (13%) telecom service – there aren’t many markets where this is the case!

In mobile devices, Gens predicted smartphone and tablet spending to generate 40% of all IT spending growth (excluding telecom services) and be worth $484 billion. Phablets (5.5″+ smartphones) will grow 60%, eroding tablet sales – which will only grow at about 3%.

Samsung’s global smartphone market share could drop below 20% for the first time in four years in 2015. Chinese vendors will move in to replace the Korean company: Lenovo and Xiaomi will rise the fastest, but Huawei, ZTE and Coolpad were also named as ‘ones to watch’.

The IoT is an important “Innovation Accelerator” for growth and expansion of IT value. Spending is expected to exceed $1.7 trillion (14% YoY growth), with 30% of this focused on intelligent embedded devices outside the ICT industry.

Gens’ final prediction focused on China. The country’s influence on the ICT market will “skyrocket” in 2015, with spending passing $465 billion – double Japan’s spend in the next year and a half, and 1.5x higher than the USA’s. The region, as stated, will account for about 43% of industry growth, as well as 30% of smartphone purchases and 30% of all online shoppers.

Chinese smartphone OEMs, such as Lenovo, Xiaomi and other companies already mentioned (there about 24 in total) will take a 40% global market share in 2015, up from 36% this year.

The 13th Five Year Plan is expected to be announced in China in early 2016. IDC expects that it will drive “huge” investment through 2020 and focus on third platform technologies and standards – especially on championing China-developed standards like 4G LTE.