21 June 2018
BMI Research published the second edition of its Towards
2050: megatrends in industry, politics and the global economy
report in April 2018. Dexter Thillen, senior ICT analyst at BMI
and part of technology, media, and telecom (TMT) team,
contributed to this report and found three key megatrends:
• IoT and big
data: the main megatrends
• The disruptive
impact of AI, blockchain and quantum computing
operators focusing on services and content
Cybersecurity, while not a megatrend, is also a key element
of BMI thinking, as it will have an impact across all
industries. As well as the report, BMI conducted a survey of
250 senior executives across various sectors and countries.
From this BMI highlighted the key results, showing how prepared
the telecoms industry is for these upcoming trends as it is
uniquely placed, being both a provider and a user of these new
Looking across the different
industries, it is clear that the IoT is seen as having the most
disruptive impact, with a score of 80%. Automation/robotics,
and climate change, follow with 75% and 70% respectively, while
other technologies, such as AI and blockchain, are further
behind, with scores of 66% and 54% respectively.
The IoT is global and not a tech-specific trend and, while
operators are strongly positioned to take advantage, they also
need to realise they require partnerships to offer the best
possible service. Operators can be the main interlocutor to the
end-user, but they need others to meet the specific demand from
Looking at respondents from the TMT sector only, IoT
is also a key trend, as it will be used to improve internal
processes and lower costs as well as a new product to external
BMI found 89% of respondents believe it will have a high
impact in the next five years, dropping to 84% in the next 30,
and this matches the current investment cycle, with 78% of
respondents saying that the IoT was one of the main areas of
current spending. AI is also an area of investment, with 73% of
respondents saying it was a current area of spending, but over
a longer timeline than IoT concerning its impact.
Only 65% of respondents said they would have a high
impact in the next five years, which increases to 76% in the
next 30 years.
AI will have a key role with the development of
software-enabled solutions into the network, such as SDN or
NFV, while standards for 5G will include the use of machine
The survey highlights that the biggest impact from IoT,
automation and big data will be in terms of cost reduction and
additional revenue streams, with respective average scores of
69.4% and 64.9%.
BMI has long held the view that technology is first used for
cost savings, so that companies can find higher margins in
markets where revenues are stagnant, with the second stage
being to use these technologies to create new revenue streams,
through an evolution of their business model. This is also why
enterprises will be the first to adopt new technologies, before
moving into the mass-market consumer space.
The survey also shows that only 68% of respondents are
investing heavily into the personalisation of services: BMI
expected more. The ability of technology to switch from a
product to a service will be a key element of any updated
business model. Also for telecoms operators it is important to
realise that connectivity, while important, is not enough.
Personalisation will act as a key differentiator for operators
but this also requires a change of mind-set and a shift in
culture to meet these new challenges.
Cybersecurity is another key area
of investment according to 76% of respondents, and 84% believe
that the TMT sector is well prepared to deal with cybersecurity
issues, second only to the pharmaceutical industry. The TMT
sector has more experience than others when dealing with these
threats, but optimism should not turn into
Nothing is fully secure, as anything connected can be
hacked, with the ubiquitous and interdependence of devices
making it a clear risk.
Operators can become key players in the cybersecurity
battle, because without trust, none of these technologies will
have the impact we all expect.