Brett O’Riley is head of NZICT, an industry association made up of more than 100 local technology companies. Here are his top ten predictions for the local ICT industry in 2011. 1. Fibre-based broadband arrives
UFB (Ultra Fast Broadband) + RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative) + KAREN + LTE + Telco networks + Satellite = Networked NZ (well the beginning of the deployment process – as fast as possible please). Don’t forget BSS/OSS (Business Support Systems and Operational Support Systems). Next issue – international submarine cable connectivity: price, diversity, content delivery, reliability and vision.
2. Domestic productivity improvement
In 2011 the ICT industry will grow its contribution to the economy by improving domestic productivity, particularly services delivered from the cloud. The broadband-enabled cloud will also help local companies to innovate and commercialise their IP.
3. Education and health
These important areas are a key focus for UFB and RBI. We’ll see signs of improvement in operations and productivity in the education and health sectors –all with the smart use of networked technology. Teacher professional development, remote teaching of specialist subjects, and the managed education network will all be enabled by broadband. 4. State Sector
ransformation is underway with how the Government procures ICT and shares services, which is about a $2 billion industry. This will drive productivity and also change the way citizens interact with the public sector. The strategic areas of geo-spatial, open data and cyber security will be other priority areas. There will be new procurement initiatives to stimulate local innovation, including a government applications store, and a strong focus on making the procurement process less onerous for suppliers and agencies alike. 5. China-led ICT export growth We will see progress made with ICT trade enabled by the Free Trade Agreement. China has 318 million internet users, 726 million mobile phone users and a total of $86.3 billion spent on software, hardware and ICT services in 2009, presenting unprecedented opportunities for our companies. Because this country is the first to sign an Free Trade Agreement with China, there is a strong mutual desire to demonstrate the benefits of the agreement to both countries. Other export markets like Australia, the US (for digital content, software and web enabling technology), ASEAN (software) and the Gulf States (software and services) will also have strong export potential. We think ICT and the hi-tech industry can be the number-one export sector in 10 years, but it will require a strong focus from government on growth constraints – see below.
6. Rugby World Cup
This is also the year of the Rugby World Cup. Go Richie and the boys! The Rutherford Hi-Tech Forum will be an inbound investment and trade mission for the ICT industry during RWC2011, bringing new business opportunities with offshore companies. We will be holding events throughout the country and expect visiting delegations interested in software, digital content, wireless technologies, science, radio astronomy and geo-spatial.
7. Skills Crisis and Internationalisation Capability
In 2011 you will also see two major initiatives to address the skills crisis our industry is facing. It is a simple equation – no people, no growth. A ‘Jobs Partnership’ initiative will facilitate young New Zealanders into training and internships, while the Skills Working Group will undertake more long-term capability planning. Look out for KEA’s new plans for driving the internationalisation capability of our firms.
8. Bring on the science and innovation investment Capital is a key input to growing our sector and there are some exciting opportunities with new listed funds that could invest in our best and brightest. We will also have the Government’s next steps in Science and Innovation funding, and it will be big year for determining the next steps with the Square Kilometre Array. 9. Tablets, tablets and more tablets This form factor will be huge in 2011, as will smartphone sales. 10. Video In the spirit of US commentator James Carville’s infamous incantation “it’s about video stupid”, watch the net continue its hyper-growth. *This week Computerworld is running a series of Predictions for 2011 by IT industry figures. Tomorrow Jade CEO Craig Richardson looks ahead at the business opportunities in the coming year.