Analyst predicts tech 'earthquake'

In his annual “state of the industry” address, analyst Richard Holway warned of seismic shifts that are threatening the foundations of the technology industry.

The information technology and communications industry ended the first decade of the new millennium with a lower share of GDP than where it started, he noted in his annual State of the Nation presentation in London last week. But the post-Y2K scenario is likely to get even worse as new “cold tech” trends such as offshoring and Cloud computing start to bite.

Cloud computing will be a boon for users by lowering their costs, but will depress the revenues and valuations of traditional IT suppliers who depend on “on premise” software business models.

Another disruptive force is what Holway calls “the Martini moment” with the arrival of internet access “anywhere, anytime and from any device”. By 2020 he predicts that 90% of the 11bn global systems capable of accessing the internet will be mobile internet devices (MIDs), a category which didn’t exist in 2000 and already represents more than 40% of net advices devices. Within a couple of years, more people will accessing from mobile devices than via fixed-line devices.

Leading the MID charge will be tablet devices riding on the coat-tails of Apple’s iPad. The iPad’s launch fulfilled Holway’s prophesy that 2010 would be “the Year of the Tablet” and represents the fastest move to the mainstream of any technological innovation in his lifetime.

The combination of MIDs, apps and social media such as Facebook will “wreak havoc on the business models of many of the leaders” he warned, with Google’s current model is one of most at risk.

Because all these innovations and changes are happening simultaneously, the ICT industry and its main players face the biggest period of disruption in their history, Holway said.

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