The post-pandemic world has accelerated change in the technology, media and telecommunications landscape, with telehealth, women’s sport and immersive tech leading the charge in 2021 and beyond.
Deloitte Australia’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions report, highlights how worldwide trends in TMT may affect businesses and consumers worldwide.
The report also highlights how many of these trends are being driven by the global pandemic’s economic and societal impacts, resulting in intensifying growth in video, virtual, and Cloud technologies.
Deloitte Australia telco, media and entertainment leader, Will Castles, said while some technologies followed expected growth patterns, the reality of a global pandemic has resulted in unprecedented technology acceleration that has fundamentally changed how we live and work.
“A range of enterprise and consumer technologies—from 5G to the Cloud to virtual reality —will continue to offer opportunities to the worldwide business ecosystem,” he said.
“All of the trends this year were shaped to some extent by the global pandemic, accelerating change by years in some areas and throwing up some interesting curveballs in others, and creating significant new challenges and opportunities in 2021 and beyond.”
Video visits go viral
COVID-19 has jumpstarted a worldwide trend of telemedicine, including video-based doctor visits. The pandemic not only necessitated the elimination of regulatory barriers to such visits but also helped consumers better understand and leverage video calling apps, especially consumers over the age of 65.
Many observers and service providers said telehealth would take years to achieve widespread adoption across Australia but COVID-19 rocked the telehealth landscape and was the catalyst for change. Globally, Deloitte predicts the percentage of virtual video visits to doctors will rise to five per cent globally in 2021, up from an estimated one per cent in 2019. Even single-digit growth is significant; 8.5 billion doctor’s visits, worth about US$500 billion, took place in the 36 OECD countries in 2019 alone.
Deloitte says Australia will exceed the global average for telehealth adoption with more than 10 per cent of Australians regularly using telehealth services in 2021.
The next five years will see a shift to virtual health as a consumer norm, as use of digitally enabled health services – such as apps for preventative health, care and recovery – grow exponentially. Virtual health will enable consumers to move up the health continuum, changing not just the way healthcare is provided and accessed but also supporting the strong demand for wellbeing enabled by wearables and connected homes.
Castles said solutions in this space will require collaboration on delivery models and ecosystems to deliver quality virtual health care.
“For this shift to happen, business, government and other stakeholders will need to be proactive and creative in building the right policy settings, delivery models and ecosystems to deliver quality healthcare in a virtual context,” he said.
“To maintain the momentum created by COVID-19 they will need to capitalise on this now. We see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dramatically improve equality of access to both basic and more advanced healthcare solutions – particularly in an Australian context – so let’s not waste it.”
Women’s sports gets down to business
The popularity of women’s sport has grown in recent years as both governments and private organisations have invested heavily in increasing the participation rates and the profile of women’s sporting content to a mass audience.
These foundations are beginning to pay dividends and women’s sporting teams, leagues and events are becoming attractive commercial properties as they professionalise further and generate substantial revenue through media rights, sponsorship and gameday ticketing.
Australia is leading the way in this transition, outperforming global markets in its share of broadcast hours and sponsorship spend, alongside a number of successful professional league developments including the AFL Women’s (AFLW), Women’s Big Bash League and Netball’s Super League, among others.
As broadcast deals commit to greater coverage of women’s games Deloitte predicts a re-balancing of broadcast hours with women’s sport to account for up to 25 per cent of total broadcast sporting hours by 2025, accounting for the vast majority of growth in total sports consumption and in new consumers of sport. Women’s sport is estimated to currently generate eight per cent of the total sponsorship value in Australia, broadly in line with its share of broadcasting hours. Compared to the UK, where it is estimated that only one per cent of corporate investment in sport through sponsorship is directed towards women’s sport, highlighting the progress Australia has made in developing attractive commercial offerings to brands.
Deloitte TMT industry leader for consulting, Peter Corbett, said the increase in audiences and broadcast reach coupled with the unique brand proposition, improved packaging and negotiation of sponsorship agreements will likely attract new and larger sponsors to women’s sport, and it is expected it will account for up to 20 per cent of total sponsorship value by 2025.
“The rapid increase in accessibility, broadcast hours and audience reach for women’s sport has not only grown the total sports content landscape but is bringing new consumers into the sporting fold – particularly women,” he said.
“This provides a valuable opportunity for brands to use sport as a meaningful way to engage with these segments through sport, particularly through the growing profile of female athletes as they increasingly become instantly recognisable, inspirational idols to Australians.”
5G set for rapid rollout
In 2021, the proportion of Australians who believe there are health risks associated with 5G, or admit they don’t know about its effects, will fall below 20 per cent –down from 34 per cent in 2020.
This coincides with the rapid rollout of 5G in Australia, with Telstra expecting coverage for 75 per cent of the Australian population by the end of FY21 and other telcos following suit.
“While false health concerns remain a worry for many Australians we predict the level of concern will drop significantly, prompted primarily by a boost to public education campaigns from network operators and the Australian government,” Corbett said. “Conspiracy theories still abound linking 5G to the spread of COVID-19. To combat this misinformation we expect to see a further boost in public information campaigns by the major telcos throughout the year.
“We expect 5G adoption rates to be driven by consumer device upgrade timeframes, 5G plan pricing by telcos and broader enterprise adoption of 5G.”
The millimetre wave spectrum auctions are also scheduled for April.
Deloitte Australia’s other 2021 TMT Predictions
- Gaining an intelligent edge: The Australian market for intelligent edge will be around AUD$590m and will be mainly driven by telcos and hyperscalers.
- The next-generation radio access network: In the next three years we will see the first live deployments of Open RAN in Australia with 30% of these being from new MNO entrants.
- The hyperquantified athlete: In the next 18 months, Deloitte Australia predicts that there will be an increased level of consolidation of athlete data platforms and associated services for Tier 1 sporting organisations as larger players look to broaden their capabilities and breadth of offerings in this market.
- TV’s New Year resolution: There is a dedicated group of loyal sports fans (about 20 per cent of Australians) who would be comfortable paying more than $30 per month for sport content placing it as a premium compared to the competitive streaming market and existing sport content propositions.
- From virtual to reality: Deloitte predicts Australia will be in line with global trends, with VR, AR and MR sales growing by 100 per cent in 2021 over 2019 levels, as well as an increase in sales of software and services related to this technology.