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Cloud spend to rocket in 2021, says Deloitte

The coronavirus pandemic means the forecast for 2021 involves clouds.

In fact, cloud spending worldwide will grow seven times faster next year than overall information technology (IT) spending, says a report today by Deloitte, the British multinational professional services firm.

Cloud revenue growth will remain over 30% for each year between 2021 and 2025, predicts Deloitte's Technology, Media, and Telecommunications report.

Video medicine: remote consultations are being increasingly accepted.  (Source: Tunstall on Creative Commons.)
Video medicine: remote consultations are being increasingly accepted.
(Source: Tunstall on Creative Commons.)

There have been five years of change in five months, say the report authors.

Next year, companies will continue to shift to the cloud to save money and adapt to a new work-from-anywhere mentality.

At the same time, telecom companies will deploy intelligent-edge offerings in their 5G rollouts. And hyperscale cloud providers will expand and optimize their infrastructure.

Meanwhile, by 2023, 70% of businesses will do some of their data processing at the edge.

The end result of all this will be an "internet thousands of times bigger than the internet we enjoy today," the report quotes a leading graphics processing unit (GPU) maker as saying.

Be patient

Meanwhile, there will be more than 400 million video visits to doctors worldwide in 2021, the firm predicts.

The coronavirus saw regulatory barriers to telemedicine rolled back across countries, and especially helped older people become more familiar with seeing doctors and nurses online.

Virtual video visits, as a percentage of total visits to doctors worldwide, will increase to 5% globally, from just 1% in 2019.

That rate of growth produces some big numbers: 8.5 billion doctors' visits took place in 2019 in just the 36 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The value of those visits, purely in monetary terms, is approximately $500 billion.

5G crystal ball

Closer to home, the world's living rooms will increasingly sport 8K televisions, which are likely to reach $5 billion in sales in 2021.

8K televisions have 7,600 horizontal pixels (the source of the 8K) and 4,320 vertical pixels.

This means the screen's 33 million pixels are so small they can't be distinguished even from very close up.

The previous generation of ultra-high-definition (UHD) televisions, 4K televisions, have a quarter as many pixels.

And lockdown will accelerate 8K television's adoption, and "the rise in time watching video", the authors say.


Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading.


Health myths around 5G will subside, since it is "very unlikely" that in 2021 radiation from 5G mobile networks and devices will "affect the health of any single individual," Deloitte says.

And open radio access networks (RAN) will spread, giving mobile network operators more chance to reduce costs and increase vendor choice as they roll out their 5G offerings.

Not all change is positive change, but many of the trends accelerated by the pandemic will make the world a better place, says Deloitte.

Video technology that has taken off in rich countries during lockdowns will lead to better medical access in the developing world.

Greater use of cloud and open RAN technologies can make software and mobile phone service more affordable for the economically disadvantaged.

The big question, say the authors, is whether the post-pandemic world will see the pace of change and innovation decelerate from its current, breakneck level.

Perhaps the acceleration induced by 2020 will persist for the long term, or even permanently?

Welcome to 2021.

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— Padraig Belton, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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