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2021 predictions for UK Technology, Media and Telecommunications


The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practice at Deloitte, has today announced its predictions for the sector in 2021. These are:

8K to usher in a new age for the small screen in 2021, generating £2.5 billion globally
Deloitte predicts that one-million 8K TV’s will be sold in 2021, generating £2.5 billion in revenue globally. 

The average selling price of an 8K set is currently more than seven times that of the average television sold, but it’s expected that the entry-level price of an 8K TV may fall to the critical £1,000 level by the end of 2021.

Deloitte predicts that less than 0.1% of all video content created in 2021 will be in 8K. However, upscaled, remastered and even content captured by smartphone will give 8K television owners enough to spend every hour of 2021 watching 8K material.

Dan Ison lead partner for telecoms, media and entertainment at Deloitte, said: “8K’s sheer size and definition will see it used as a one screen fits all – to watch cinema-quality content, deliver the best home-working experiences, participate in life-size fitness classes and show-off artworks, fish-tanks and fireplaces when not in use.

“The timing of 8K’s launch may prove its secret to success - televisions were one of the most popular devices bought during the first lockdown, and the launch of 8K will tempt many more to upgrade to a new screen whilst we spend more time at home.

“The lack of native 8K content is not likely to be a major issue for consumers contemplating 8K sets. All 4K is readily upscaled to 8K using AI capabilities on the TV set, and there is now ample 4K content via on-demand and broadcast platforms.”

2021/22 season will see women’s sport score record revenues

Deloitte predicts that revenue from women’s elite sports will be under a billion dollars in 2021, but over the course of the 2021/22 season will reach a new record as high audience figures are matched with significant interest in brand sponsorship agreements and TV rights deals.

Following the end of social distancing measures, pent-up demand for live sporting events will lead to record matchday attendances. Record TV audiences are also expected for the Women’s Rugby World Cup, the postponed Women’s EURO 2021, now scheduled for 2022, and the W Series as this is added to the support bill of eight Grands Prix in 2021. 

Izzy Wray, consultant in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “2021/22 may prove to be the breakaway season for women’s sport revenues.

“Prior to COVID-19, matchday audiences, TV viewing figures and fan bases for women’s sports had been building at phenomenal pace. As social distancing measures lift, pent-up demand for live sporting events will collide with the growing fan base for women’s sports. Brands have a significant opportunity to seize the moment to explore new opportunities in the market, which have the potential to bring immense value, not only in monetary terms, but also as a signal for their support of gender parity.”

2021 will see 90% of major mobile operators pick up and run with Open RAN
Deloitte predicts that 90% of major telecoms operators in Europe will be trialling Open RAN within their networks by the end of 2021, with half of all major operators in the region deploying Open RAN at a live site. 

Deloitte predicts that the market value of Open RAN in Europe will be modest in 2021, between a quarter and half a billion pounds, but with the potential to overtake traditional RAN revenues by 2028.

Dan Adams, head of telecommunications at Deloitte, said: “Open RAN will be revolutionary for telecoms operators. Allowing them to build systems bespoke to their needs, with faster running times and more manageable processes. For consumers, Open RAN has the potential to lower data costs per gigabyte and speed-up network roll-out, including for 5G networks. We expect operators to start by trialling in rural areas where peak traffic will be lower as they learn to tune the performance.”

Robo-coach: Over 10,000 UK athletes will benefit from video analytics in 2021
Deloitte predicts that in 2021, more than 10,000 players in the UK’s professional and semi-professional sports teams will benefit from video analytics to improve their play, rising to 100,000 athletes by the end of 2023. Thousands of teams, spanning those in lower leagues and semi-professional teams, will be able to benefit from the same artificial intelligence (AI) enabled tools that formerly only elite teams had access to. It will accelerate the flow of insights generated by video footage.  

Deloitte predicts that these tools will grow more sophisticated over the course of the year and functionality will over time cascade down to smaller teams.

Consumers training at home could also benefit from video analytic and sensor technology in 2021. This can be via balls (basketball, Pilates, footballs) equipped with sensors or even smartphones with sufficient processing power to undertake video analytics. 

Paul Lee, global head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, said: “Premier League teams have relied on video analytics for years to improve on-pitch performance. In 2021, we’ll see the technology democratised, with prices affordable to lower leagues as well as a wide variety of sporting tournaments and championships. Coaches will rely on video analytics to detect when players fall out of position, to assess speeds and shooting accuracy and measure a player’s capability to maximise their team’s likelihood of scoring. 

“As technology improves, so will sports teams. Data will determine which players make the team, are subbed on mid-game and even which team will lift the trophy at the end of the tournament.”

Cloud revenues to gather steam, rising by 30% between 2021 and 2025
Deloitte predicts that cloud revenues will grow by more than 30% between 2021 and 2025, as companies continue to roll-out the technology as part of their business recovery post-COVID.

It’s expected that by 2021, the majority of business workload globally will be in the cloud for the first time.

Neil Clements, TMT Lead for Deloitte’s Economic Advisory group, based in Cambridge, added: “Cloud has proved critical for organisational resilience in 2020, with a large number of businesses relying on cloud computing to keep their operations running during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the speed at which companies have migrated to cloud does present privacy and security aspects that urgently need to be addressed in 2021.” 

Intelligent edge technology on the verge of £9 billion in 2021
Deloitte predicts that in 2021 the global market for the intelligent edge will expand to almost £9 billion. Made up of technologies critical to Industry 4.0, such as wireless connectivity, compact processing power and artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent edge places cloud computing, data analytics, and AI physically near where data needs rapid analysis and response. 

“In 2021, businesses will look to establish intelligent edge use cases and develop pilots that can deliver value. There will be challenges to overcome, as standards and best practices for intelligent edge have not yet been set. Telecoms and technology companies will need to work together to build high-quality networks at scale.” 

Commenting on the predictions for 2021, Lee Welham, Cambridge TMT Partner, said: “We’ve witnessed the fast-paced change which are reflected in the 2021 predictions, particularly around cloud and Intelligent Edge.  We’ll be discussing these topics in more depth in the New Year.”

Access the full report here.


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