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Consumer tech spending to Reach $1.3-trillion in 2019

Purchases of traditional and emerging technologies will remain strong for next 3 years.

Consumer spending on technology is forecast to reach $1.32 trillion in 2019, an increase of 3.5% over 2018. According to the inaugural Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), consumer purchases of traditional and emerging technologies will remain strong over the 2018-2022 forecast period, reaching $1.43 trillion in 2022 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.0%.

Tom Mainelli, group VP for devices and consumer research at IDC, said: “The new Connected Consumer Spending Guide leverages IDC’s long history of capturing consumer device shipments, combined with valuable insights from regular consumer surveys and channel discussions, to tell a comprehensive story about consumer spending. The Connected Consumer Spending Guide team has built out an initial set of consumer-focused use cases designed to deliver insights about spending across a wide range of device types, from smartphones to tablets, PCs to drones, and smart speakers to wearables. Over time, the team will continue to develop an ever-widening array of use cases, adding additional data about software and services, and eventually demographic-focused insights.”

Traditional technologies – personal computing devices, mobile phones, and mobile telecom services – will account for more than 96% of all consumer spending in 2019. Mobile telecom services will represent more than half of this amount throughout the forecast, followed by mobile phones. Spending growth for traditional technologies will be relatively slow with a CAGR of 2.4% over the forecast period.

In contrast, emerging technologies, including AR/VR headsets, drones, robotic systems, smart home devices, and wearables, will deliver strong growth with a five-year CAGR of 20.6%. By 2022, IDC expects more than 5% of all consumer spending will be for these emerging technologies. Smart home devices and smart wearables will account for more than 80% of the overall spending on emerging technologies in 2019. Smart home devices will also be the fastest growing technology category with a five-year CAGR of 38.0%.

“Connected technologies are transforming consumers’ activities and habits, becoming more and more integrated into their daily lives,” said Jessica Goepfert, program VP for customer insights and analysis at IDC. “This is fueling the consumer’s unquenchable thirst for content and immersive experiences delivered anytime, anywhere, via multiple formats and across a myriad of channels. As a result, we see the balance of power shifting in consumer-facing industries. Whereas once upon a time, the enterprise called the shots, more and more consumer demands and expectations are propelling innovation. What’s the next wave of consumer transformation? Even more widely adopted and mature activities such as listening to music and shopping are being disrupted by new technologies such as smart speakers. And disruption presents an opportunity.”

Communication will be the largest category of use cases for consumer technology, representing nearly half of all spending in 2019 and throughout the forecast. Most of this will go toward the traditional voice and messaging services, joined by social networking and video chat as notable use cases within this category. Entertainment will be the second largest category, accounting for nearly a quarter of all spending as consumers listen to music, edit and share photos and videos, download and play online games, and watch TV, videos, and movies. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth over the forecast period are augmented reality games (82.9% CAGR) and home automation (59.8% CAGR).

“There’s an expectation among today’s consumers for a seamless consumer experience,” said Stacey Soohoo, research manager of customer insights and analysis at IDC. “The connected consumer is no longer a passive one; the connected business buyer is in control and it’s essential for technology providers to understand this if they want to continue to grow and gain market share in this digital age. As technology becomes more affordable and accessible, the connected consumer is expected to spend more as they leverage these platforms for entertainment, education, social networking, commerce, and other purposes. IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide presents a comprehensive view of the consumer ecosystem and serves as a framework for how IDC organizes its consumer research and forecasts.”

The Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide quantifies consumer spending for eighteen technologies in nine categories across nine geographic regions. The guide also provides spending details for 24 consumer use cases. Unlike any other research in the industry, the Connected Consumer Spending Guide was designed to help business and IT decision makers to better understand the scope and direction of consumer investments in technology over the next five years.

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Cisco gives pre-owned tech a Refresh

In a market of constant upgrades, Cisco Refresh aims to keep quality product away from landfills, writes BRYAN TURNER.

When one gets a new smartphone upgrade, the old device may be used as a backup or can be used by someone else. In business environments, equipment upgrades may not be conducive to keeping old equipment around, which may send older, working equipment to landfills.

This is where Cisco’s Refresh initiative comes in. At Cisco Connect in Sun City this week, Ehrika Gladden, VP and general manager of Cisco Refresh, lifted the lid on a little-known aspect of the company’s strategy. 

“Refresh is Cisco’s global pre-owned equipment business unit,” said Gladden. “It is certified to meet the quality and engineering standards of Cisco. It is licensed for software and it’s also inclusive of a services warranty.

“Our responsibility in 80 countries around the world is tied to both the recovery of assets and the ability to leverage those assets at a lower price point. This ensures our sustainability and proper usage of the Earth’s resources while providing access to small and medium businesses. The products are typically in the range of 20-40% cheaper. The products represent the entire portfolio for Cisco in some part, the majority of that product set is 2+ years in terms of generation.”

Cisco’s Circular Economy initiative ensures a sustainable loop through businesses willing to pay a premium for the latest, cutting-edge solutions, while Cisco markets older, working equipment for resale to those who don’t require the latest solutions. This ensures far less new components need to be used in a product range.

“We are leveraging the model of remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and reusing,” said Gladden. “Depending on the product set, there is a certain set of product yield that we expect. They vary from product to product, but we do have a percentage that doesn’t make it through.

“Those are always reused, meaning we will look at those products and decide to use them completely differently, leveraging the components, remanufacturing back into the overall build process. If that can’t be done, we will go into a recycle process where we melt those products down to reuse them.”

Repairing and refurbishing older products isn’t just that. Cisco is creating repair centres that are owned by third-parties to uplift local ownership.

“The repair centres, as a global manufacturer, is Cisco’s entree into local ownership,” said Gladden. “I want to be precise about what I mean by local ownership. It’s critical for us to have a localised presence, but doing that through ownership. When you look at inclusive economies, those that are participative, to be sustainable – not in the product set, but generationally.

“The ability as a global manufacturer through a local ownership model  isto create a repair centre where a product can be returned, screened, tested, and repaired, leveraging the talent that the Networking Academy is creating.”

Cisco is working closely with local governments to understand where it operates and how to leverage the skills in the market.

Gladden said: “We are also super excited about the National Development Plan and African Union statements which with we align: eradication of poverty, job creation, ownership, healthcare, education, it all fits in the model. So we were very excited to have the opportunity to come to Africa first to announce this. Over the next twelve months, we want to establish our first repair centres, and in the next 3 to 5 years, build that vision into a reality.”

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Why Data Privacy has become a Pipe Dream

If you’re active on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other social platform, you’re not as safe as you thought, writes
AARON THORNTON, MD of Dial a Nerd

As you begin to read this, let’s perform a quick experiment! How many active conversations are you engaged in – right now – on WhatsApp? When was the last time you shared a picture or video on Instagram? Is Facebook currently open and active on one of your devices? And how many internet- connected devices are you using at this moment? Chances are, you have multiple devices running multiple applications most of the time. So what’s the problem, you ask? Since when did checking in with a high school buddy in Australia via Facebook become a dangerous act?  

In reply, we say, read on if you can stomach it!  

Nation-State Hacking & You  

It might seem like a laughably long shot to say that you are a key player in the increasingly sinister and sophisticated world of nation-state hacking. Well, you are. Given that individuals, businesses and governments are now constantly connected, round the clock, consumers and businesses have become fair game in cyber espionage. And as we create and share more and more data, both the value and accessibility of that data increases. According to a report by McAfee, IP theft now accounts for more than 25% of the estimated $600 billion cost of cybercrime to the world economy.    

With data having become the ‘new gold’, nation states are naturally pouring investment and key resources into building advanced cyber warfare tools. Indeed, entire divisions of armed forces as well as the upper echelons of corporate leadership are devising ways to harness data to gain economic, political and social power. At the highest level, tools and platforms are being developed with the specific aim of perpetrating cyber espionage and data theft. No surprise then, that the consumer and business environments are rife with increasingly advanced malware, ransomware and many other malicious hacking tools and methods.  

Still not convinced? Yes, we can smell the scepticism from here! So let’s take a moment to see how this has already played out, beneath our noses.  

Remember the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal of early 2018? For many, this was a watershed moment in the emerging war for consumer data – and the ensuing tensions between privacy, power and profit. Need a refresh? Well, in 2018, Facebook exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign. In essence, the data was harvested without user consent and used for political purposes.  

Another chilling but less direct example can be found in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. According to Politico, Russia launched a massive social media campaign to ‘sow discord’ leading up to the elections. The website reported that as early as 2014, an infamous Russian “troll farm” known as the Internet Research Agency – a company linked to Russian president Putin – developed a strategy using fraudulent bank accounts and other fake identity documents to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” 

When referring to the Russian hacks and their impact on election results, one U.S. Representative sagely noted: “They didn’t just steal data; they weaponized it.” 

Ignorance is not bliss 

Okay, so data is being ‘weaponized’, and ordinary people and businesses are being caught in the crosshairs of cyber warfare. A little bit frightening, but the good news is that savvy individuals like you can take steps to protect personal data and actively combat the creeping influence of juggernauts such as Facebook and Google.  

To begin with, awareness is key. As you engage with various platforms and applications at work and at home, take time to understand how your data is being used and what the terms of use are. Is your data being accessed and sold to advertisers? Have you consented to this? In addition to scrutinizing your consent, also pay close attention to how much data you share online – and the nature of the details you are divulging. Always keep in mind that hackers are employing smart social engineering tactics and using the details of your private life (birthdays, holidays, pet’s names, etc) to trick you into opening infected emails and clicking on malware. Whenever you are online, you are a target – and vigilance at all times is critical. Beyond that, it goes without saying that you must commit to following basic security protocols with your devices. So always keep software up to date and keep your data backed up so that you can reboot or wipe a device if needed.   

Now that we’ve left you sufficiently spooked, you can get back to those demanding WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram notifications (same company, by the way)…albeit, we hope, with a slightly altered [cyber] worldview!  

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