What will 2009 bring for tech, media and telecom?

Zoltar says Buy a Netbook
Zoltar says “Buy a Netbook”

Deloitte’s annual Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions event yesterday morning here at MaRS presented the 13 emerging trends that are expected to be a big deal for Canadian businesses in 2009. For those who missed the event it will be streaming online as Deloitte and Duncan Stewart travel cross-country (in Montreal today and in Ottawa at the Brookstreet on February 12).

Check out http://tmtpredictions.ca to watch the stream and download PDFs of these reports for each trend category – they cover off on these topics much better than I could here, and are supported by some research and real facts :)

Here’s a quick snapshot of what they recommend to watch out for this year:


1: SmartGrids – Let’s use our electrons more effectively and make them count. Our new friend Obama is planning to spend $32B on upgrading their country’s electrical distribution system. Cha-ching for RuggedCom and Sempa Power Systems.

2: Netbook!!! – I have found a new love in the netbook (ok, fine it’s not a mac). This mini-notebook cuts out all of the bs of a full-size notebook – lightweight, low-cost, energy-efficient, highly portable and $350 CDN. Disruptive? I think so.

3: Digital clean up – As we approach infinite data storage, good luck finding that 35th iteration of your pitch deck. Enterprise content management (ECM) software like Waterloo’s Open Text will help manage and store business content.

4: Social networks in the enterprise – They are cheap and everyone in the organization knows how to use them, so why not distribute your internal information this way? Internal social network tools like IGLOO Software help manage content and helps facilitate cross-functional team collaboration.


5: Stop the presses! – The printed news business model is broken, and one in 10 publishing companies will cease print publications entirely this year. “Newspapers” will have to reinvent themselves and look to alternate ways to package and deliver content. The LA Times, the most profitable online paper, offers more than just a screen cap of the paper medium, and The Economist has branched out into research tools.

6: Indie is the new mainstream – As a lover of Canadian indie and an all-around music snob, I suggest you overlook this one, and skip to number seven. Just kidding. The absence of big deal corporate sponsors and the inability for the consumer to buy overpriced tickets to see megastars will drive us into the local clubs. Will we see the rise of the Toronto FC and the Marlies continue?

7: WiFi radio: One small device and 14,000 stations, which means KCRW wherever you are in the world. There was a time when I thought radio was also dying: maybe not.

8: Mobile ads: After some experimentation and less than desirable results on previous campaigns that tried to jam a regular online campaign onto a mobile screen, mobile advertisers may have learned their lessons. Look for targeted SMS messages.


9: Getting smarter about smartphones – In a downturn, consumers won’t be paying a premium for these, and the carriers will have to dance between subsidies and data pricing to drive growth.

10: No email Friday – As much as I love shiny objects, I am a luddite at heart. Email is hindering our productivity as the inboxes overload. Let’s cut through the noise and get stuff done. Look for trends towards employee training on email rationing, appropriate usage and — eek! — disconnection.

11: Cellular network traffic jams – The aforementioned netbooks and smartphones are lapping up bandwidth and operators will have to cope with high traffic volumes. Good news for the likes of Sandvine, Bridgewater and DragonWave

12: Sharing fibre optic networks – In a time of illiquidity when deploying multiple fibre networks just might not make sense and the case for a single network with shared ownership and open access does.


13: The browser becomes the operating system – Google Chrome, ’nuff said.