As part of our planning for next year, I’ve been thinking about some of the trends and disruptions that will face our clients and the comms and PR industry as a whole, in the technology sector. Here are my TOP 5 and certainly big areas of focus here at Harvard…
1) The heat will come out of the digital market: valuations are too high and it feels like 1999 again. With over 130 technology–focussed start-ups valued at over $1bn and the fact that you usually end up with one dominant disruptor in any given market, this isn’t sustainable and we’ll see a shake-down.
2)Acquisitions will speed up as the tech giants struggle to thrive in heavily disrupted markets. In 2009 there were 750 technology acquisitions valued around $30bn. This year those figures have risen to just over 3,000 acquisitions and a combined value of $140bn. That’s potentially 3,000 PR accounts disappearing! This trend will continue as tech giants look to make the right bets to thrive in the future. Luckily the technology sector always reinvents itself.
3) Continued consolidation in mobile as value is sucked away from Service Providers. A no-brainer this one. There are three global network infrastructure companies, three to four handset manufacturers that still count, a few chipmakers and around 300 major service providers. Consolidation has to come: 3 buying O2 is just the start in a long line.
4) Surveillance will win over the privacy debate, which will have a profound effect on our individual freedoms and a huge impact on trust. Following the Paris attacks, heightened global risk and the willingness of our Government to introduce the snoopers’ charter, the debate over personal data and privacy will rage on. This is a huge reputational communications challenge for most, if not all, big companies and technology plays a huge part.
5) The first huge financial institution will disappear due to disintermediation. This is a bold one but if you have any doubts, this article from the Economist on blockchain (the technology behind Bitcoin) demonstrates precisely why the financial industry is ripe for even more disruption.