IDC Predicts the 3rd Platform Will Bring Innovation, Growth, and Disruption Across All Industries in 2015

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — December 2, 2014 — International Data Corporation ( IDC) today announced its top ten predictions for the worldwide information and telecommunications technology (ICT) industry in 2015. The driving force behind all of IDC's predictions is the industry's accelerating transition to the 3rd Platform for innovation and growth, built on the technology pillars of mobile computing, cloud services, big data and analytics, and social networking.

"IDC first identified the 3rd Platform in 2007 and predicted that it would eventually become the new core of ICT market growth. In 2015, the 3rd Platform will account for one third of global ICT spending and 100% of spending growth," said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC. "The industry is now entering the most critical period yet in the 3rd Platform era: the 'Innovation Stage.' Over the next several years, we expect to see an explosion of innovation and value creation on top of the 3rd Platform's foundation. This stage will be driven by a new wave of core technologies – Innovation Accelerators – that radically extend the 3rd Platform's capabilities and applications across all industries."

IDC's predictions for 2015, presented by Gens in a Web conference today and detailed in an accompanying report, include the following:

1. Worldwide ICT spending will grow 3.8% in 2015 to more than $3.8 trillion. Nearly all of this spending growth will be focused on 3rd Platform technologies, with spending on the 2nd Platform expected to slip into recession by the end of the year. On a geographic basis, ICT spending in emerging markets is forecast to grow 7.1% year over year while mature markets poke along at 1.4% growth.

2. Telecommunications services will see wireless data emerge as the largest ($536 billion) and fastest growing (13%) segment of telecom spending. To avoid being marginalized as little more than infrastructure providers, carriers will scramble to develop platform- and API-based services that add value and attract developers to their networks. They will also seek rapprochement with over-the-top (OTT) cloud services providers through innovative performance and revenue-sharing arrangements.

3. Mobile devices and apps will continue to charge ahead in 2015, but not at the frenzied pace seen in recent years. Sales of smartphones and tablets will reach $484 billion, accounting for 40% of all IT spending growth (excluding telecom services), while Chinese vendors capture a significant share of the worldwide market. Wearables will see an explosion of innovation, although unit sales will underwhelm. And mobile app downloads will start to slow in 2015, but enterprise mobile app development will double.

4. Cloud services will remain a hotbed of activity in 2015 with $118 billion in spending on the greater cloud ecosystem. Adoption of cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will grow briskly (36%) as market leader Amazon comes under attack from all directions as challengers attempt the "Amazoning of Amazon". Similarly, look for heightened competition among Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers as competitors engage in death match battles to attract developers and their apps and Software as a Service (SaaS) players accelerate their adoption of PaaS and cloud marketplaces. "Cloud is also where we expect to see new partnerships forming among 'strange bedfellows', such as Facebook with Microsoft and/or IBM or Amazon partnering with HP, to expand market opportunities," added Gens.

5. Big data and analytics will see important developments in 2015 as worldwide spending on big data-related software, hardware, and services grows to $125 billion. Rich media analytics (video, audio, and image) will emerge as an important driver of big data projects. And big data supply chains (i.e. Data as a Service) will grow in importance as cloud platform and analytics vendors offer clients value-added information from commercial and open data sets. Elsewhere, IDC expects to see important new developments in cognitive/machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) analytics.

6. The Internet of Things is one of the most important Innovation Accelerators for growth and expansion of IT-based value in the 3rd Platform era. The invention of more and more intelligent and connected "things" will drive the development of thousands of new 3rd Platform solutions. One third of IoT spending in 2015 will be focused on intelligent embedded devices outside the IT and telecom industries helped by partnerships among leading IT companies seeking to kickstart the market for industry solutions. Predictive maintenance will emerge as an important IoT solutions category.

7. Datacenters are undergoing a fundamental transformation in the 3rd Platform era as the majority of raw compute capacity and raw storage capacity moves to cloud-, mobile-, and big data-optimized hyperscale datacenters operated by cloud service providers. This shift will spark a burst of "cloud first" hardware innovations and drive greater consolidation among server, storage, software, and networking vendors. IDC expects to see two or three major mergers, acquisitions, or restructurings among the top-tier IT vendors in 2015.

8. The 3rd Platform is transforming not just the technology industry; but every industry on the planet. IDC believes a number of industry disruptions, driven by 3rd Platform developments, will emerge in 2015. Examples include alternative payment networks in financial services, expansion of IoT technologies into city safety, public works and transportation systems, and the expansion of location-based services in the retail industry. The number of industry platforms – industry-specialized cloud-based data and services platforms, usually created by leaders within the industry – will expand rapidly, easily doubling in 2015.

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