Deloitte's Predictions Event

Yesterday I attended Deloitte's annual Predictions 2009 event here in Toronto. This is their 8th year doing this, and it keeps getting bigger and better, so there's definitely an appetite for their views. The presentation is built around Deloitte's ongoing global research covering TMT - Technology, Media, Telecom. There's a whole lot there, and for each area of TMT, they have 10 major global predictions. Yesterday's focus was on the Canadian market, and as a teaser, they narrowed it down to 13 with the most local impact.

The presentation was primarily led by Duncan Stewart, who is Deloitte Canada's Director of Research. He did a great job and is a very engaging presenter - not too geeky, but with enough edge to explain why these trends matter for the audience.

Key takeaway trends that resonated for me...

- Newspapers are in trouble - which we all know, but maybe not fully enough. The demand for news is actually growing, but their business model is broken and they're not moving fast enough. Lots to talk about here.

- The power grid needs to - and will - get a lot smarter in 2009. There is no other aspect of public infrastructure more critical for everyone, yet in such serious need of modernizing. We take power for granted, but SmartGrid technologies can't come along fast enough, and he talked about some Canadian companies doing great things here.

- Netbooks are very hot, and for good reason. Pretty impressive trend data showing just how popular they're becoming and why. I want one!

- Social networking in business is on the rise - not just because it's familiar to many of us, but because as IT investments go, it's very affordable, and can deliver a great ROI, especially in terms of knowledge management.

- Mobile advertising is set to take off. No surprise there, and this touched on a few trends actually. Was nice to see Duncan cite some Canadian winners in this space, namely Impact Mobile, MyThum and OZ Communications - companies I've posted about in the past.

- Mobile broadband is huge, but networks aren't expanding fast enough to manage the traffic. He cited companies like Sandvine, Bridgewater, DragonWave and Redline as having success helping carriers do this, not just for Canadian carriers, but globally as well.

- The browser is becoming the new OS. I really liked that line - he's basically saying that SaaS and cloud computing will be a major trend in 2009, and based on some of my current client work, I couldn't agree more. He cited a great stat showing how Microsoft has lost 10% of the browser market in the last 12 months, and he noted that he can't think of any other example where they've lost that much share in so little time. It's coming of course at the expense of Linux, but Chrome is gaining adoption too. This will be a very interesting and important space and I'll be following it for sure.

Overall, nothing really groundbreaking here, and for many of you, this will be familiar ground. Fair enough, but it's not just telecom here, and I like the broader view that Deloitte brings to all this. Plus, they focus as much on the business implications and homegrown solutions as the actual nuts and bolts behind each trend.

Finally, what I really liked about Predictions is how Deloitte is using the tools themselves to make this event interesting. Have a look at their website, which will give you all kinds of Predictions 2009 content - both traditional and new media. Aside from the press release and pdf downloads of the highlights, you can also view video clips of Duncan's presentations, a Flickr photo album, and links to all the other social networking tools they're using to build community around Deloitte's thought leadership. Definitely not your father's accounting firm.

John Ruffolo - opening remarks

Duncan Stewart moderating the group panel - Simon Avery (Globe & Mail), Barry Reiter (Bennett Jones), Harry Gruner (JMI Equity)

Room was packed - over 500 people, plus others watching the live web feed