Spending on technology across the world is expected to exceed US$5.6 trillion by 2021, as new and emerging solutions capture the imagination of customers.
According to IDC findings, new technology categories now account for a growing proportion of overall investments, with investment set to increase within the next three years.
By 2021, new 3rd Platform technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, robots and drones, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets, and 3D printers, will account for almost a quarter (23 per cent) of total ICT spending.
Overall, 3rd Platform investments, including cloud, mobile, big data, analytics and social, will make up more than 70 per cent of worldwide ICT spending.
“Mature economies are leading the way in some 3rd Platform markets, thanks to more advanced cloud infrastructure and software innovation driving rapid adoption of solutions around big data and analytics, cognitive AI, and cloud-based software,” IDC vice president, Stephen Minton, said.
“It's a different story with technologies that are focused on industrial use cases in the manufacturing industry, such as IoT and robotics.”
Of note to forward-thinking partners, the fastest-growing technology markets last year were AR/VR, cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI), alongside 3D printing and robotics.
Meanwhile, IoT has already grown to account for 15 per cent of spending, including new operational technology (OT) software and services, which represent expanding opportunity and potential disruption for traditional software and services vendors.
But while the adoption of 3rd Platform technologies is broadly positive across all countries, there are key geographic differences in terms of early adoption and short-term opportunities.
Specifically, China accounted for 28 per cent of worldwide IoT spending in 2017, and 29 per cent of total robotics investments, compared to just 12 per cent of traditional ICT spending categories (hardware, software, services and telecom).
According to findings, Japan and some other Asia Pacific countries are also early adopters of robotics and IoT, with 3D printing experiencing strong early adoption in China and Germany.
Delving deeper, cognitive AI investments are dominated by U.S. businesses, who are also leading the way in AR/VR prototypes.
Emerging markets, such as India and Brazil, are major contributors to overall mobility spending, but are still playing catch up when it comes to cloud.
“While the traditional ICT market has become more homogenous in the last few years, as emerging markets caught up to mature economies and often leapfrogged legacy technologies in their adoption of mobile solutions, the 3rd Platform brings with it a new period of fragmentation,” Minton added.
“The U.S. is once again at the forefront of much new software innovation, while countries like China and Germany are driving industry-focused categories.
“Understanding these regional and country-level differences, including the drivers and inhibitors behind likely adoption curves for new technologies, will be key to ICT vendor strategy in the next 5-10 years.”