UK: Technology Predictions TMT Trends 2009 - Part Two

Last Updated: 23 January 2009
Article by Deloitte Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry Group

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

To read Part One of this article please Click Here.

Generic becomes the 'it' brand

In recent years, brand has been all-important for both enterprise and consumer technology62. Few companies have dared risk experimenting with lesser known, untested suppliers.

Consumers, spurred by billions of dollars of advertising, have sought out and paid premiums for the best brands, even if these may not have offered the best products.

In 2009, companies and consumers may actively seek out unbranded or relatively unknown technology brands on the basis that they are good enough and, more importantly, significantly cheaper63. Similar to supermarkets' shift in focus to own-label value products, retailers and manufacturers are likely to adjust their product lines to be aligned with new economic realities.

For enterprise software and technology, companies are likely to become more willing to try out cheaper alternatives to their current suppliers. This reaction is similar to that of many companies' annual reversion to generic stationery at the end of a financial year. Linux, software-asservice (SaaS) and cloud-based storage may all get greater consideration than in previous years on the basis of their lower prices64.

As for communications technology, employees may find themselves issued with standard voice phones given that the majority of business usage is for voice calls. Voice-centered phones can cost as little as tens of dollars. This compares with hundreds of dollars for smart phones. Small and medium-sized companies may consider consumer variants of VoIP more carefully in order to minimize their phone bills65.

In good times, great gadgets, replete with functionality of questionable business benefit, may have been part of the package required to attract the best talent into a company. In not so good times, the best talent is likely to be quite willing to remain attractive to their employers, even if this means using basic devices. Some companies may ultimately regret changing suppliers, but for others the shift will be permanent. The immediate, quantifiable, cost savings from changing suppliers may be outweighed by the harderto- measure costs of adjusting to the new technology.

Bottom line

Technology device manufacturers must consider how the impact of branding is going to change in the face of a downturn. A brand that once stood for quality, reliability and even desirability may come to represent extravagance.

As enterprises and consumers aim for frugality, a formerly attractive brand may become a liability. Device manufacturers may have to consider creating low-cost or generic brands, a strategy that has worked well in other sectors. But for premium brands, the optimal approach may simply be to suffer a near-term slump in sales. Dropping prices may increase sales in the shortterm, but might cheapen a brand's image in the long term.

Enterprises considering changing suppliers should consider the longer term view and undertake a medium-term cost benefit analysis that factors in all possible costs. Some companies may find that while open source software may appear cheaper, in some cases it may be harder to attain redress in the case of problems. If a supplier's reputation is based on price, not quality, it will have less incentive to resolve issues.

Using alternative suppliers is also likely to require users to become familiar with a new interface, causing a drag on productivity. Enterprises should look at approaches of minimizing this disruption, for example through the use of digital skins that mimic interfaces and appearances that users are more familiar with.

The digital ambulance chaser gets supercharged

Digital litigation may prove recession proof, or even counter-cyclical, in 2009.

Citizens are likely to be asked if personal information, from pictures of them on photo-sharing websites, to details of charitable donations they have made, has been used without permission66. Citizens may also be asked if personal data is being stored in countries whose legislation allows governments to read it67.

Consumers may be asked if a digital product or service delivered on the advertised promise. Was it as fast, as economical, as long-lasting as claimed68? Workers might be asked if their ill-health was caused or exacerbated by any technological device69. The growing range of mobile data devices, keyboard and touch-screen based, may lead to new types of repetitive strain injury.

Software companies may be asked to review whether their intellectual property has popped up in anyone else's product. This kind of claim has already generated billions of dollars in settlements70, and given the increasingly frenetic pace of product development, the chances of patents being infringed inadvertently may rise.

Lack of clarity over ownership of digital rights by country and by industry71, is likely to make the volume of digital ambulance-chasing cases greater than ever.

The economic outlook may make companies in general more aggressive in their search for sources of revenue. Identifying potential copyright breaches may be one income stream that some companies start to target72.

In 2009, there may be hundreds of class action suits – claims of billions of dollars for copyright abuse – for media, software and other forms of content.

Bottom line

All companies involved with digital products and services should be wary of unwittingly being caught out by legislation related to digital infractions, whether committed against a consumer, an employee, an acquisition, a partner or another business.

A company that wants to undertake a swift launch of a product or is considering the deployment of a new digital application to increase worker productivity should consider whether any element of the product or application could lead to litigation. While companies should be dynamic, they also need to be cautious, to avoid ending up on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Dealing with litigation can also be a major distraction for senior management, as well as being highly costly, in terms of legal fees and possible fines.

Any organizations considering M&A or joint ventures in 2009 should consider as part of their due diligence process whether their target company or proposed partner might become subject to digital litigation, for example through using intellectual property that had not been properly acquired73. Among the things companies should look out for are a change in control clauses in licenses that could prompt renegotiations of royalties on a transaction.

Enterprises should also be aware of the implications of joint and several liability74. This may affect companies with only minimal involvement in the design, manufacture or hosting of a contentious product or service. Technology companies should constantly monitor how consumers actually use their digital products and services and whether this may create legal issues. Actual use may differ quite considerably from expected use. Text messaging was originally designed as a means for mobile phone engineers to communicate with each other. But now, for example, motorists illegally send and read messages while they are driving75.

Social networks in the enterprise: Facebook for the Fortune 500

It looks as though 2009 is likely to be the breakout year for social networks in the enterprise. Internal and external spending on social networking solutions from IT providers and carriers may approach $500 million. Social networks are likely to be considered an inexpensive solution in what is likely to be a financially constrained IT spending environment76.

Globally, social networks have enjoyed a 25 percent growth in unique visitors in the last year. Some sites have doubled their user base77. And their demographic profiles now include users over 35. Social networking is no longer a tool just for high school and college students. On some networks, around 40 percent of users are over 3578.

While questions grow about consumer social networks' varying ability to monetize their hundreds of millions of users79, enterprises are looking at how they can harness the hierarchy-flattening, information-sharing, teambuilding power of social networks.

Large IT companies are planning on spending significant research and development (R&D) dollars in 2009 on social network applications and building new research centers that focus exclusively on enterprise social networks80.

Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) goes well beyond the consumer experience of social networking. It can include social discovery, social search, microblogging, visualization and new scalable architectures for social software, such as cloud computing. Enterprises are also experimenting with other ESN or Web2.0 applications, include wikis81, mash-ups82, online meetings, and syndicated feeds. And of course toolmakers are supporting ESN with their latest generation of content management tools83

Some major telecommunications companies are already deploying social networking solutions internally. They are also including that technology as a solution, as part of their global service offerings, with plans to increase their efforts greatly in 200984. As providers of bandwidth and solutions they are keen on any application that requires more bits to be transmitted over their networks, and are heavily promoting ESN to their customers85. Wireless carriers and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) also see a strong future for ESN tools as mobile workers need to be part of the social network too86.

In 2009, governments are likely to implement top-down directives for their administrations to deploy ESN tools, both internally and as a method of interacting with their constituents87. Governments are obvious potential users of ESN: they tend to be large, distributed and focused on information sharing – the ideal environment for social networking solutions88. There are even public health applications for ESN tools89. Until now, government IT departments have been inherently conservative. However, as a new generation of politicians (who have used social networking tools to campaign successfully) move into office, adoption may become mandatory in certain departments.

While 2009 should see a growth in ESN, it will probably only be in a minority of leading-edge firms. During the year, the exact extent of adoption may still be unclear. Some commentators claim enterprises are generally not yet deploying social networks; various Fortune500 CEOs believe the opposite90.

While the dollar value may still be small, 2009 should see an explosion in ESN tools, trials and in-house deployment at industry-leading firms, with government as an early but influential adopter. ESNs are already being used in government departments in several of the G20 nations.

Bottom line

Social networks look to be a powerful tool and a way of tapping into the 'wisdom of crowds.' But the enterprise versions of these solutions are still being refined. IT departments need to develop the tools in such a way that they engender productivity. Measuring returns on investment for ESN will be challenging, as will balancing an enterprise's need to control a social network with its employees' desire for privacy.

On the other hand, most early versions of ESN look to be inexpensive, easy to roll out and require little employee training. Cashconstrained companies should look at ESN as a way of capturing value that already exists within an enterprise at a relatively low cost.

Telecommunications operators and IT solutions providers need to invest in ESN so they have the expertise and credibility to deploy these solutions if or when they become more broadly adopted, and start becoming a more significant source of revenues.

Sinners become saints

The world's inconstancy and unpredictability has been demonstrated by the volatility that characterized the global economy in 2008.

That volatility also applies to commonly held public truths. What was considered good, may in future be considered evil and what was once regarded as harmful may be reappraised as benign.

Two technological innovations that had been regarded as evils may be recast, more than ever, in a positive light in 2009.

One is nuclear power, which many countries had aimed to ban in the 1980s91. But in 2009 it is likely to consolidate its position and perception as a required source of power in a growing number of developed countries92. The volatility in the price and supply of oil, gas and coal may be a key reason for the growing supply of nuclear power, whose global generating capacity is forecast to grow by 1.3 percent in 2009 and could double by 203093.

Another technology that had been regarded as evil is genetically modified (GM) food, which remains banned in many countries, including the entire European Union94. However, the global scarcity of water afflicting a growing number of countries has made governments around the world look for ways of maintaining, or even boosting, agricultural yields while dramatically reining back water consumption95.

GM is one way of delivering this96. The need to feed people, coupled with the need to conserve water, is likely to prompt a re-evaluation of GM97. In 2009 a growing number of countries may, on environmental grounds, rescind regulation prohibiting the use of GM98. A growing number of countries are likely to undertake GM trials. Lobby groups that had been opposed to GM may decide the technology is positive for the environment, rather than malign.

Many cities, from Chicago to Auckland, have for years prided themselves on their status as nuclear-free zones99. Throughout most of this decade, food suppliers have trumpeted the lack of GM in their food100. In future, these positions may get turned on their head.

If sinners are likely to be regarded more positively in 2009, conversely some once 'saintly' approaches and products may develop tainted reputations. Free-range farming may be criticized for the amount of land it requires. Glass, once morally sound for the ease with which it can be recycled, may become criticized for its weight relative to plastic when used for containers101.

In 2009 it may even be considered virtuous to create dishes comprising GM ingredients, packaged in plastic, in kitchens powered by nuclear fuel.

Bottom line

Governments should take a lead on investigating, understanding and communicating the various solutions available for addressing the world's key sustainability challenges. Some of the potential conclusions reached may not appear politically expedient in the short term. But an autonomous government's legacy often requires making policies that are initially unpopular.

The balance between the short and long term can be challenging, and it may never be possible to prove what the right approach should be. Nuclear power may help cut carbon emissions in the short term, but may lead to waste-storage challenges that cost billions to address in the future102. GM crops may increase yields and cut water consumption only to have a downstream impact on the balance of whole ecosystems103.

Any company involved in a technology perceived as unpopular needs to be able to take a long-term approach. Deployment of technologies like GM and nuclear have suffered setbacks and will likely continue to, which could derail progress by years. A single scare story could reverse this improved perception.

Companies involved with newly favored technologies should also evaluate the skills base. Countries where nuclear has fallen out of favor may find that indigenous talent has diminished due to lack of activity and skills may thus need to be sourced from other countries104.

Finally, the industry should encourage the public to take a balanced, longterm view. The public should be urged to consider the case for and against, rather than being directed by the emotion of headlines.


62 Over one-third of the Top 50 Best Global Brands, ranked by Interbrand, are those of technology companies. See: Also see: Best Global Brands, Business Week, 18 September 2008.

63 For example, supermarket chain Tesco now sells own-label, generic software in stores and online. See:

64 Gartner sees great SaaS enterprise application growth despite downturn, eWeek, 24 October 2008.

65 Telecom market heading for healthy growth, TIA projects, Search Telecom, 26 February 2008.

66 For example, see: Lawsuit over Virgin Mobile's use of Flickr girl blames Creative Commons,, 25 September 2007.

67 According to IBM, there are over 20,000 regulations worldwide affecting data storage. See:

68 For example, see: Apple hit with 3G iPhone lawsuit, ABC News, 20 August 2008.

69 Repetitive strain injury costs business £300m in lost working hours, Personnel Today, 4 June 2008. The article refers to the cost of mobile work related injuries, such as thumb strain resulting from the use of click wheels.

70 For example, see: BlackBerry maker, NTP ink $612 million settlement, CNN, 3 March 2006.

71 Clarity needed for digital copyright law, Computing, 8 April 2008.

72 For example, see: YouTube faces $1 billion lawsuit for alleged breach of copyright, The Guardian, 14 March 2007.

73 The IP Factor In M&A Deals, Howard and Howard, 10 July 2008.

74 In common law systems, the concept of joint and several liability usually means that any defendant in a legal action (assuming there are more than one) may be found responsible for the entire amount of damages being pursued by the plaintiff, regardless of the individual share of damages actually caused by each defendant. Under joint and several liability, if one defendant is not able to pay, the other defendants can be liable for the entire sum of damages. Critics of joint and several liability refer to it as the 'deep pocket' rule because of the potential to turn a lawsuit into a search for the wealthiest defendant.

75 Text messaging while driving: a growing national concern, Associated Content, 8 May 2007.

76 Enterprise 2.0, the market of vendors that sell technologies such as blogs, wikis and social networking applications to companies, is likely to become more competitive as IT budgets get trimmed. See:

77 Social networking explodes worldwide as sites increase their focus on cultural relevance, comScore, 12 August 2008. See:

78 See:

79 Advertisers' preferred social media spend: None, Silicon Alley Insider, 10 November 2008. See: media-spend-none

80 IBM gets serious about social networking with new research center, TechNewsWorld, 17 September 2008. See:

81 See:

82 See:

83 Open Text Releases Next Generation Web Solutions, Market Watch, 29 October 2008. See: Generation/story.aspx?guid=%7B5A9D92E4-F5D7-43FC-B875-BDDD29FD20FC%7D

84 Bosses 'should embrace Facebook', BBC, 29 October 2008. See:

85 AT&T claim social network improves efficiency in the workplace, Social Media Portal, 11 November 2008. See:

86 RIM: BlackBerry's future lies in social networking, ZDNet, 14 February 2008. See:

87 How Obama tapped into social networks' power, The New York Times, 9 November 2008. See:

88 Government creates own version of Wikipedia, The Ottawa Citizen, 29 October 2008. See: 22c9-4e91-8656-2a252c1e8cd4

89 Google uses searches to track flu's spread, The New York Times, 11 November 2008. See:

90 Intel CEO touts collaboration, mobile translation device at Web 2.0 Show,, 6 November 2008. See: Collaboration/Intel-CEO-Touts-Collaboration-Mobile-Translation-Device-at-Web-20-Show/

91 Opportunities and challenges for world nuclear industry in 21st Century, International Atomic Energy Agency, 9 June 2008.

92 For some of the discussion on nuclear energy, see: The Power to Deliver, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu 2006.

93 Agency predicts nuclear power capacity growth, Associated Press, 16 October 2008.

94 EU faces deadline on GM food ban, BBC News, 11 January 2008.

95 Summary document of the FAO email conference: "Coping with water scarcity in developing countries: What role for agricultural biotechnologies?", Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 19 December 2007. See:

96 Drought resistant GM crops ready in four years, The Guardian, 8 October 2008.

97 Is water the new oil?, The Guardian, 1 November 2008.

98 GM Crops needed in Britain, says Minister, The Independent, 19 June 2008.

99 For more information, see:

100 For example, see: Marks & Spencer continues its assault on additives, Marks & Spencer, 15 May 2007. See:

101 Plastic: the elephant in the room, Financial Times, 25 April 2008.

102 Nuclear power rebirth revives waste debate, Reuters, 22 January 2008.

103 Could new GM crops please the greens, New Scientist, 5 January 2008.

104 The balance of power: How can UK manufacturers control energy costs and remain competitive?, Deloitte LLP, November 2008.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.