By the end of 2010 analysts expect there to be more than 1 billion mobile devices accessing the Internet - boosted by the growing popularity of smartphones and the arrival of Apple's iPad tablet computer.
Mobile devices will also exert a powerful transformational force on the industry as they increasingly compete with PCs as the primary client platform for developers and users alike, predict tech analysts at IDC.
And the growth in mobile devices will ignite an explosion in mobile applications, with the number of Apple iPhone apps tripling to 300,000 and Android apps surging by a factor of five or more.
This same phenomenon will also play out in the netbook market, where new software ecosystems will emerge to optimize the performance and usability of these popular devices.
The expansion of cloud services, the explosion of mobile devices and mobile applications, the growing popularity of video applications, and more, will all put greater demands on public networks in 2010.
IDC expects industry players will accelerate their migration toward converged IP platforms, expand their managed services footprints, and transform their service delivery platforms and business models to support the growing wholesale, connected devices, and machine-to-machine (M2M) opportunities.
Two themes will dominate events in the IT and Telecommunications markets in 2010: recovery and transformation.
With a global economic recovery widely anticipated, modest growth in IT and telecommunications spending is expected. But the industry is entering this recovery year with an ambitious agenda, making transformation the more interesting theme of IDC's predictions for 2010.
"In last year's predictions, we talked about how a slow global economy would act like a pressure cooker on the IT market, speeding the development and adoption of new technologies and business models," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC.
"What's different about 2010 is that the economic recovery will release some of the pressure on spending, enabling a number of transformational tipping points to be reached in a year of economic upswing."
In terms of the recovery, IDC predicts that worldwide IT spending will grow by 3.2 percent in 2010, returning the industry to 2008 spending levels of about $1.5 trillion.
Emerging markets will drive more than half the new IT industry growth in 2010, with IT spending up 8-13 percent in the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
Telecommunications spending will experience respectable growth of 3 percent, driven by a rebound in the IP and data segments in mature markets and strong growth in the mobility sector in emerging economies.
With IT spending returning to pre-recession levels, IDC believes that transformation will impact every corner of the industry in 2010.
The most important transformational force in the IT market will be the continuing build-out and maturing of the cloud services and consumption model.
The emergence of "enterprise-grade" cloud services will be a unifying theme in this area, with a battle unfolding in cloud application platforms - the most strategic real estate in the cloud for the next 20 years.
Significant opportunities will also unfold for public IT cloud services, private clouds, cloud appliances, and hybrid cloud management tools, while cloud APIs will emerge as the new determinant of the cloud partner/solution ecosystem.
Other IDC predictions for 2010 include:
- A new, mashed-up generation of business applications will emerge that leverages social and collaborative networks and derives insights from them. These "socialytic" apps will not only bring new capabilities to customers and new growth to suppliers, but also new competition and threats to traditional leaders.
- A renewed focus on reducing CO2 emissions, at both the national and international levels, will present opportunities for IT solutions to help reduce greenhouse gases while challenging the industry's energy use and disposal costs.
- Other industries will emerge from the recession with their own transformation agendas, and will look to IT as an increasingly important means for achieving the new objectives.
- Finally, the transformation agenda will drive a fresh round of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships as vendors pursue profitable IT and business solutions and power positions in the cloud.
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