• Like so many companies and publications, Deloitte rubs its crystal ball early every year and reveals some of its predictions — in tech, media and telecommunications — for the next 12 months and beyond.
  • Unlike other would-be Carnacs, though, Deloitte bases its predictions on surveys and data, and, while not every forecasted pick is a hit, the company has correctly tabbed the future for IoT, drones, 3-D printing and smartphone batteries, among other areas.
  • “Every time you push intelligence deeper and further and more in people’s hands,” said Duncan Stewart, director of technology, media & telecommunications research for Deloitte Canada, “amazing and transformative things happen.”
  • Here are 10 picks to clip, save and keep in mind.

Deloitte rubs its crystal ball early every year and reveals some of its predictions — in tech, media and telecommunications — for the next 12 months and beyond.

Like so many companies and publications, Deloitte rubs its crystal ball early every year and reveals some of its predictions — in tech, media and telecommunications — for the next 12 months and beyond. Unlike other would-be Carnacs, though, Deloitte bases its predictions on surveys and data, and, while not every forecasted pick is a hit, the company has correctly tabbed the future for IoT, drones, 3-D printing and smartphone batteries, among other areas.

Neural network machine-learning capability will enhance any number of smartphone apps, including navigation, image classification, augmented reality, speech recognition and language translation — even with little or no cell or Wi-Fi connectivity. The biggest difference between performing all those tasks on board your device compared to doing so while connected to the network? “Latency,” Stewart said. “Latency is the time it takes your phone to send a signal to a cell tower, cell tower to California, and back. That can be one or two seconds, which is not a big deal when you’re trying to translate a menu, but if you’re flying a drone? Driving a car? Operating a robot in a factory? You’re working in milliseconds.”

Turns out, tablets might have plenty in common with Google Glass: lots of attention early from the general public, an unclear purpose for most folks, and being absolutely perfect for manufacturers. Tablets will continue to be used in plants, factories, shipyards and other industrial settings, especially with the rise of augmented reality, but they may already be past their prime for general use: Deloitte predicts that 2017 sales will be below 160 million units, down from almost 250 million units a few years ago. “The devices are still out there, they’re popular, they’re being used, but (they have gotten) squeezed,” Stewart said. “Phones have gotten bigger, computers have gotten thinner and lighter, and that’s put pressure on the sweet spot the tablet used to inhabit.”