The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practice at Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has announced its predictions for the sector in 2016. The news comes following the launch of Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2016, now in its sixteenth year.

Photo sharing: trillions and rising

Deloitte estimates that 2.5 trillion photos will be shared or stored online globally in 2016, a 15 per cent increase from last year.

About three-quarters of this total will likely be shared, and the remainder backed-up online. The expected network impact of this will be about 3.5 exabytes (the equivalent of 3.5 billion Gigabytes), a 20 percent increase from 2015.

Dr Danny McConnell, technology partner at Deloitte in Belfast, comments: “Over 90 percent of these photos will be taken using a smartphone. Digital SLRs, compact cameras, tablets and laptops will collectively contribute the remainder.”

The dominance of the smartphone to photo sharing is due to their ubiquity, the popularity of “selfie” self-portrait photos and the rate at which owners upgrade their devices. Deloitte expects 1.6 billion smartphones to be sold in total this year, around 23 times the peak sales of film cameras (70 million in 1999) and 13 times the peak for digital cameras (120 million in 2010).

Deloitte estimates that the number of photos shared online is more than 30 times the volume of photos taken in the 1990s, when about 80 billion photos were taken every year. Deloitte expects this to keep rising as rising network speeds make it easier to send bursts of images.

“As of the end of 2015 there were over 2,000 photo-sharing apps available, Some tools encourage keeping images for posterity, others emphasise the moment,” says Dr McConnell.

“Research shows that photos get 53 per cent more ‘likes’ and 104 per cent more click-throughs than text only posts on social media. The more fervent reaction to social network posts with photos is likely to encourage yet more posts with images.”image

Deloitte’s Dr Danny McConnell gazes into the crystal ball of technology, media and telecommunications trends for 2016. The Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2016 report forecasts 2.5 trillion photos will be shared or stored online globally in 2016, a 15 per cent increase from last year.

Deloitte forecasts that about three-quarters of smartphones sold will be upgrades, with most having better cameras, processors, connectivity and storage than their predecessors.

Deloitte also said that the growing ease of creating and sharing images is shaping the way people communicate – with the speed and quality with which we can take photos encouraging photos and videos to be substituted for spoken or written words.

According to Deloitte, in 2016, 26 percent of smartphone users in developed markets will not make any traditional phone calls in a given week, instead preferring to communicate using a combination of messaging, voice and video services delivered over the internet.

Trailing millennials are the pro-PC, not the post-PC, generation

However, this year’s report also predicts that trailing millennials (18-24 year olds) are likely to be the biggest PC users in 2016, and are very unlikely to abandon personal computers altogether. Although regarded as the smartphone generation, this age group sees smartphones and PCs as complements, not substitutes. Its ownership, intent to purchase and use of PCs will likely be higher than any other age group in 2016.

Dr McConnell adds: “Having a mobile-first strategy will be necessary in 2016, especially if your market includes millennials.

“But a mobile-only strategy will simply not work, as this assumes that millennials have already abandoned, or are about to abandon their computers. Our research shows that millennials still use their PCs, and sometimes even prefer the PC to mobile.”

Virtual reality: a billion dollar niche

Deloitte also predicts that the virtual reality (VR) market will have its first billion dollar year in 2016. Revenues will mostly be driven by approximately $700 million in hardware sales globally, and the remainder from software and content. According to Deloitte, this year will see sales of approximately 2.5 million VR headsets and 10 million game copies sold.

Dr McConnell comments: “The notion of virtual reality is decades old, but, as with many technologies, its commercial potential has yet to be fully realised.

“Virtual reality is likely to have applications for both consumer and enterprise, but this year we expect the majority of commercial activity to focus on video games. Companies that are considering using VR should be aware of the hardware cost and the slim content that is currently available.”

Other predictions include:

Touch commerce accelerates the mobile check out

According to Deloitte, 2016 will mark the rise of mobile touch commerce, which will be used by 50 million consumers by the end of the year, an increase of 150 percent from last year. Consumers love browsing retail sites and apps on their phones; payment however is typically far more clunky, and abandoned baskets are commonplace. Touch commerce allows customers to make a secure payment on a mobile device, authorised simply through a fingerprint or a few touches of the screen, without having to provide registration.

Mobile games: leading, but less lucrative

Mobile devices will become the leading games platform in 2016, says Deloitte. Smartphone and tablet games will generate $35 billion in software revenue, an increase of 20 per cent from 2015. This compares to $32 billion for PC games and $28 billion for console games, up only five and six percent respectively from the previous year.

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