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Winning audience predictions from CCS Insight’s Predictions Week

A tradition at CCS Insight’s annual Predictions event is to ask attendees to submit their own predictions for the connected world. This year was no exception, and despite it being a virtual event, delegates once again shared their visions for how various technologies will evolve over the coming years.

In this blog post, I’ll share the three winning predictions from our audience and a couple of additional ones that deserve a shout-out.

A big thank you to our sponsor Intel for giving away Intel NUC mini PCs to the three winners!

There are so many hot areas that are poised for significant growth over the next decade, and the first winning prediction mashes up two of them: connected cars and digital payments.

Colum Duffy from Mastercard is undoubtedly well placed to identify future trends in payments. He predicts that:

“By 2030, 20% of connected cars conduct autonomous payments for fuel, tolls and drive-through restaurants.”

This one struck a chord with us as we firmly believe that vehicles, particularly cars, are an important beachhead for connectivity. There’s already been a lot of activity in connecting cars, with most new vehicles above certain price tiers including embedded communication systems. Add the payment feature, and it looks like an astute prediction.

Security concerns about critical national infrastructure, and the geopolitical tensions between the US and China have grabbed the headlines in 2020. The topic has been a major theme at our Predictions event for the past two years, so it was interesting to see this prediction from Richard Ormson at Three UK:

“Third-party scrutiny of infrastructure software reaches all suppliers beyond Huawei by 2023.”

To date, Huawei has been in the eye of the storm in this area, but Richard’s expectation that other infrastructure providers will come under scrutiny is a good one. It seems like a logical progression given the diverse supply chains that support all infrastructure suppliers.

The third winning prediction expects that:

“In 2021, a cloud provider acquires SUSE to gain credibility in Kubernetes, own an operating system and expand its open-source credentials.”

Several of our predictions this year reflect the rise in activity by cloud providers. Whether it’s offering more industry-specific services or supporting hybrid cloud environments, providers are set to be busy over the next couple of years. SUSE has stayed out of the limelight recently, but this prediction nicely highlights the value that established open-source outfits can bring to the cloud market.

As always, there were lots of other predictions from the audience that caught our eye, but there are two that I’d like to highlight. The first is by Pete Cunningham from the Bullitt Group, who predicts that:

The rise of remote working sees extended reality tools for collaboration become commonplace in many businesses by 2025. Adoption of these solutions, which provide more immersive working environments, gathers pace thanks to ‘Zoom fatigue’ and a continued push by businesses to be carbon-neutral.”

This prediction has strong similarities to one that we shared in 2019, that environmental pressure sees virtual reality displace 20% of business travel by 2029. The use of the technology for enterprise collaboration is prompted by the spiralling cost of business travel and the advent of more environmentally aware young people in the workforce.

This prediction, which we revealed several months before the pandemic, was greeted with some scepticism at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight it looks like a shrewd vision, and we certainly agree with Pete that the timeline has narrowed. Furthermore, the notion of “Zoom fatigue” resonated well with some of the themes in this year’s Predictions Week.

Finally, we also enjoyed a prediction by Philip Franzen, from Three UK:

Customer adoption of e-SIM technology allows users to pick and choose their provider for voice services. Consumers will be able to buy a data service from Three, for example, voice calls from EE, international calls from Lebara, and so on. The move spells the end of traditional bundles and allows customers to snack from different providers.”

This is similar to a prediction we made in 2017 that, by 2020, a dynamic mobile service lets customers change operator each month to gain the best deal. Our expectation was that the growing adoption of e-SIMs would prompt a virtual provider to offer a service that seamlessly switches operator according to which offers the best deal. It looks like we were ahead of our time here, and it will be interesting to see whether Philip’s new take on this prediction comes true.

Thank you to all the participants who shared their predictions with us! If you missed our Predictions Week event and want to catch up on the sessions, drop us a line.