Duncan Stewart, co-author at Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions and director of TMT Research at Deloitte, kicked off the 2014 INMA World Congress Monday by predicting the future of technology and media in the growing digital world. 

Stewart discussed the use of personal computers, which has been on the decline since 2008 and recently has decreased by 11%. Despite this, Stewart noted that three out of every four worldwide Web page views still come from a personal computer, regardless the data. 

“The PC is not going away,” Stewart said. 

Stewart moved from computers to televisions, focusing on the next generation of televisions that will include 4K, a step above high-definition (HDTV). 

“You can count the pine needles on that tree,” he said, pointing to a display that showed what 4K would look like. 

As impressive as the display appears to be, Stewart noted a problem: Cable does not support 4K, and neither does Blu-Ray. However, Youtube and Netflix do support the 4K setup, which presents an interesting glimpse into how people owning these televisions will decide what to watch. 

“There’s a group of people out there that will have TV sets and the only way they can consume will be over the Internet,” he said. 

Stewart brought up the logistics of new technology such as smartglasses (such as Google glasses), where a user interface will appear in the glasses you are wearing but remains transparent, to allow users to see the real world behind it. 

Stewart points out the faults of such technology — watching a soccer game, for example. A smartglass user would not being able to see a soccer ball because of the low pixel size of the ball, making the technology less than ideal for entertainment purposes. 

“Every year, we like to do a little mythbusting,” he said, noting the idea of 3D televisions being a failed technology. His company is now busting items such as smartglasses, saying they will not overwhelm smartphones. 

“They only work with the smartphone,” he said. “They don’t replace it.”

Stewart began asking for a show of hands from the audience whenever he mentioned something that they had access to. He started with electricity and water, but then moved on to tablets and smartphones to show the usage of them in our daily lives. 

“Can you feel how these devices are ubiquitous?” he asked. 

Stewart explored the market including TVs, smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles, noting that these technologies were a US$250 billion market in 2004, but have become a US$768 billion market in 2014: “This market has tripled in a decade.”

But due to patterns such as smartphone replacement cycles getting longer, the market may not continue to boom as it has previously. 

“We have never seen growth like this before, and it’s about to come to a screeching halt,” he said.

In his presentation, Stewart showed that in 2006, the United States represented 47% of all spending in the world when it came to TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles. In 2014, the country will only represent 27%.

With the growing array of new technology and media, Stewart discussed a “phablet,” which is a smartphone with a screen larger than 5 inches in size. 

Although Deloitte data shows people are not that interested in owning and using a phablet, Stewart said the overall market of sales will show a different story: “Phablets will be 25% of the global smartphone market this year.” 

Phablet sales show how we are all tied into our future products, whether we think certain items will be popular with the masses or not.  

“We are all forecasters,” he said. “Predictors of the future.” 

Stewart showed the move from traditional TV usage into the new era with video streaming services such as Netflix. He showed the pattern of how people who watch different shows are actually different in regards of age, education, and income. 

Canadians who are university graduates are much more likely to be Netflix subscribers as opposed to those who failed to graduate high school, he said: “Those who watch House of Cards are different than those who watch Duck Dynasty.” 

Looking ahead to the future of media, the Internet will present data about exactly what people are watching and where they are watching it, with a nod to more video traffic. 

“The Internet of 2020 will be a delivery vehicle for high-quality consumer content and virtually nothing else,” Stewart said.  

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