Deloitte's technology report shows decline in tablet sales but surge in fingerprint authentication

Paul Lee, TMT partner at Deloitte pictured with Danny McConnell, Deloitte’s technology partner in Belfast, and Brittany the robot, an example of the next generation of connected artificial intelligence devices

VINYL albums, which had UK sales of three million last year, will continue their remarkable resurgence in 2017, approaching $1 billion sales globally for the first time this millennium.

But the peak for tablet devices may be over, with sales this year likely be fewer than 165 million units, down by approximately 10 per cent from the 182 million units snapped up in 2016.

Meanwhile biometric security such as fingerprint authentication will increasingly be used to drive engagement and sales, with the active base of fingerprint reader-equipped devices likely top one billion for the first time.

And with 40 per cent of all smartphones in developed countries expected to incorporate a fingerprint reader by the end of 2017, and with each active sensor used an average of 30 times a day, that equates to a mind-boggling 10 trillion presses globally.

These were among a range of findings and predictions in Deloitte's closely-watched 'Technology, Media and Telecommunications' report, which has been unveiled to a business audience in Belfast.

Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, covered a range of topics at the breakfast launch in Deanes, including the evolution of 5G networks, the changing use of augmented reality, how insecure Internet of Things devices are driving the rise in cyber-attacks, and uncertainty over the viable uses of artificial intelligence

The report, now in its 16th year, said the next 12 months will see major advances in mobile networking and device technology, with mobile network operators beginning to incorporate elements of 5G architecture into their existing 4G networks.

“The technology building blocks for 5G readiness are being deployed in 2017, and in some markets are already in place,” he said, adding that the fifth generation of cellular networks is likely to have a big bang impact.

Alongside the advances in network infrastructure, enhancements to the capabilities of mobile devices will continue to emerge, and the TMT report highlighted a number of areas where this will happen.

Biometric device security was identified as one key trend to watch out for, with the active base of fingerprint reader-equipped devices in the field set to grow.

Mr Lee said: “Billions of smartphones and tablets are expected to be capable of processing and collecting multiple types of biometric inputs, including face recognition, voice pattern and iris scan in 2017, but usage of fingerprints will lead the way.”

But the Deloitte research also corroborated the findings of others in forecasting that global sales of tablet devices would fall by about 10 per cent this year, suggesting that demand was reaching a plateau, and that household adoption would end up being substantially lower than for other devices.

Deloitte found that 63 per cent of UK adults had access to a tablet, but 81 per cent had access to a smartphone and 95 per cent to a desktop or laptop PC.

When it came to whether or not people were willing to invest in tablet form factors, it reported that while 27 per cent of consumers were likely to buy a new smartphone in 2017, just 15 per cent of tablet owners were thinking of upgrading.

But while nostalgia has led to a temporary resurgence in vinyl record sales, with revenues and units likely to enjoy a seventh consecutive year of double-digit growth, comprising six per cent of forecast global music revenues of approximately $15 billion in 2017, vinyl is unlikely to ever be music's major growth or profit engine, with the future of music squarely focused on digital.

:: The full TMT report can be found at

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