Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications trends forecaster Duncan Stewart places his bets for 2015


The always entertaining Duncan Stewart, head crystal ball gazer for Deloitte, was back in Edmonton last month at a full-house breakfast as part of his annual TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) Predictions 2015 tour.

Stewart’s talks follow a standard pattern:

·         A report card on the accuracy of his predictions from the past year.

·         Myth busters

·         Trends and predictions for the coming year

·         Q and A

Report card on his 2014 predictions

·         E-Health – Last year, Stewart suggested eVisit technology (Skype-like consulting between doctor and patient) would be on the rise, as it would result in major cost-savings to medical systems.

“Wrong,” he said self-disparagingly. “There’s been next to no change.”

·         Wearable computers (i.e. Google Glass).  “We said no to sales of 100 million. We said sales of four million. We were wrong. The actual sales were 40,000.  Consumer demand is low, but for enterprise – for security and industry, there’s a big appetite.”

·         Phablets – Deloitte had predicted 25% of all smartphone sales world-wide in 2014 would be phablets, smart phones with five-inch or longer screens.  Not quite, said Stewart. As it turned out 36% of world-wide smartphone sales were phablets.

Myth busters for 2015

·         Cord-cutting – the industry-predicted rise in Canadians unsubscribing from cable TV has not happened.

“It’s the smallest epidemic in Canada,” Stewart said.  The average hours of TV watched overall in Canada, 27 hours per week, has stayed constant since 2011/12. ” But the 20% who watch the least TV – 36 minutes per day, continues to drop dramatically.

“We had predicted down to 30 minutes a day. The reality is it has dropped to 18 minutes a day. Forty-eight million Americans are watching only 18 minute of TV a day.”A trend setting off warning bells on Stewart’s radar is the movement of the millennial age group away from conventional TV to spend more time on social media and web-subscription providers like Netflix. Where live sport viewing is still the great attraction to keep a cable TV subscription, 15% of the 18-34 year olds are not watching sports on TV, and 43% of millennials (teens to 34) are not following sports.Trends and Predictions for 2015   

SMARTPHONE UPGRADESOf 1.35 billion smartphones sold in 2014, only 35 million were to new buyers.  All the rest were upgrades. “Phablets are great, you don’t need reading glasses,” says Stewart.“For millennials, a beat-up Mustang isn’t a status symbol anymore, but what you are carrying in your pocket is.”SMARTPHONE MOBILE PAYMENT

(Smartphone payment apps replacing the credit card at the cashier, in what’s called NFC or Near Field Communications)

Smartphone mobile payment apps have not caught on in 2014 as industry expected. There had been predictions of payments of $162 billion through smartphone check-outs. Actual payments made were $4 billion.

But NFC payments could grow from 2 million uses to 60 million uses in 2015. Because Apple is now on board and Canadians are getting used to paying with credit card taps. As card taps become smooth and reliable, worries about security (on both cards and smartphones) are lessening.


Ordering groceries online, then collecting  at the grocery store, has not yet caught on in Canada, but there are 500,000 click and collect points in Europe.  SuperStore and Walmart are testing the process.

One thing retail stores like about click and collect. When the customer drives to the store to collect the order, he or she will inevitably pop into the store to buy something else.


Drones will be used more and more, but as a business tool, mostly an enterprise B to B model, not as a toy.


Customers aren’t all that interested at this point, as the return on the additional capital investment (in an Internet-enabled machine) is low.  Nobody really wants a smart washing machine that will turn itself on during off-peak hours.

The importance of Internet enablement is to the manufacturer and brand – the stream of data giving insight into customer habits.


Three-dimensional printers won’t be a big consumer item, but its rapid prototyping capability, within existing manufacturing places, will be widely used to produce parts on demand.

For instance, wedding rings: A 3-D printer can’t make a wedding ring, but it can produce a custom-designed mold – the design, ring size etc. – into which a ring itself can be made the old-fashioned way, i.e. with molten metal.

SHORT FORM VERSUS LONG FORM VIDEO (YouTube viewership versus TV shows)

While the Gangnam-Style YouTube video may have attracted 2.8 billion viewers, “long-form” viewership still attracts far more viewership – 400 billion world-wide, then “short-form” i.e. YouTube, at 4 billion. Short-form is growing, but still tiny.

BOOKS – Their covers,their intrinsic value, their smell

Stewart wrapped up his 2015 Deloitte TMT Predictions on an anecdotal note:  His 19-year-old “all-digital daughter” surprised him by carrying around for most of the summer a hefty print version of Doestoevsky’s Crime & Punishment.

When he asked why not an e-book, she replied, “Dad. Books this good deserve to be read in print.”

His point – that if Millenials feel the “non-online” value of content is worthwhile, they are willing to spend a little money for the more satisfying “original” version. Millenials will still spend an average of $750 each for media content, equal to 15% of their income.  And 80 million of them will spend $60 billion on legal media content … and, despite the proliferation of high-HD streaming, will go out to the movies an average of 7.1 times a year.

For this presentation in slideshow format, visit Deloitte’s 2015 TMT website page.

TEC Edmonton was a sponsor of Duncan Stewart’s Edmonton event.
More about Duncan Stewart.

An excellent story in the YouAlberta Student Life blog entitled  Winning! How Young Academics Are making History at Falling Walls. It’s about the three winning student research projects from the Falling Walls Edmonton Lab in September.  As winners, Nermeen Youssef, Zach Storms and Diana Martinez went off to Berlin, Germany to compete in the Falling Walls Lab finale.

They all did the U of A and Edmonton proud.  Nermeen placed second in the finals from around the world.

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