The slowdown in global economic activity is multi-faceted, ranging from the war in Ukraine, an energy crisis, rising inflation, and high-interest rates. Changing consumer preferences, economic disruptions, and a turbulent stock market have led to plummeting tech company valuations, slow revenue growth, and cost-cutting measures that have resulted in mass tech sector layoffs. Despite the economic crisis and political uncertainty, the tech industry's prospects rating for 2023 is broadly positive, underlining the fact that the tech sector remains a powerful choice for business growth. As such, organizations should continue to take the opportunity to initiate change by increasing investment in technology. Key themes to be considered around technology trends in 2023 include sustainability, tech skills, artificial intelligence (AI), connectivity, and security.
PC vendors must weather the economic storm
Following strong growth through the pandemic as consumers and enterprises purchased new devices, global PC shipments fell by 16 percent in 2022 and by as much as 29 percent in the fourth quarter of the year – one of the sharpest declines on record. This can be attributed to the slowdown in the global economy, with device spending expected to fall by five percent in 2023 as buyers lengthen PC refresh cycles – a trend that is expected to last until late 2023 or early 2024. Instead, PC vendors are likely to focus on software and service provision upgrades while the market recovers, including PC as a service (PCaaS) offerings to mitigate costs and refurbished products with additional support coverage.
Cloud is turning green for sustainable computing
The green cloud computing market is expected to proliferate in the coming years, driven by the increasing consumer and enterprise awareness of tech sustainability. This demand for sustainable solutions in the cloud computing industry is driving the growth of the green cloud computing market aided by government initiatives to promote sustainability and new energy-efficient data centers. Despite the growth potential of the green cloud computing market, some challenges need to be addressed, predominantly the high cost of implementing green cloud computing architecture and the need for more standardization in the industry with a growing number of data centers worldwide. Some major players in the green cloud computing market include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM, and Oracle.
Chief Data Officers in the spotlight
Amid economic headwinds, many organizations are seeking to drive greater business value from their data. This task is increasingly spearheaded by a Chief Data Officer (CDO), with the share of large global firms with a CDO surging in 2022. As a relatively new addition to the c-suite, the scope of the CDO role varies widely between organizations, often encompassing data governance and compliance responsibilities as well as data analytics and data science. CDOs reported strong results in 2022, with almost 92 percent of firms reporting meaningful value from data investments, up from around 70 percent in 2019. Despite this, a lack of data literacy is cited as a key barrier for CDOs seeking to improve analytics at their organization. Many CDOs will therefore rely on digital upskilling via expanded learning and development programs in 2023.
A new age of creative AI
Artificial intelligence-driven creative algorithms became quite the trend during the latter half of 2022. Most notable of those were Dall-E, Midjourney, and ChatGPT. Generative AI can take a vast number of datasets, whether images or text, and construct something original from it. This trend has continued into 2023 and it is exceedingly likely that more development in the field of generative AI will take place over the coming months. Adoption rates within industries are significant, particularly in marketing. The more sensitive fields such as healthcare are less likely to have a high amount of adoption of AI, due to ethical concerns. Already Microsoft has signaled its intent to increase the options and capacities of OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT.
New standards of speed and transparency in mobile telecoms
Innovation in the telecommunications sector is set to deliver greater speed, transparency, and ease of use in 2023. A major trend at the infrastructure level will be the wider deployment of standalone (SA) 5G network cores offering improved speed and flexibility over non-standalone (NSA) networks. SA deployments outnumbered NSA deployments for the first time in 2022 and are set to become the standard in 2023. Meanwhile, survey data illustrates shifting attitudes toward greater openness in mobile networks, with almost three-quarters of surveyed network operators citing open networks as either an essential process or a critical step. Finally, firms such as Giesecke+Devrient and Thales are spearheading the adoption of embedded SIMs in internet of things (IoT) devices, offering greater flexibility and quality of life for end users.
Satellite connectivity on the way to becoming mainstream
Nowadays, whether at home or outside, most mobile devices are connected to the internet. Despite terrestrial network coverage improvements, mobile connectivity is not always available, especially in rural and remote areas, leaving part of the population without mobile internet access. To reduce this coverage gap, satellite and telecom firms, and smartphone manufacturers are working to make satellite connectivity available to many more users, with the number of satellite-to-device subscribers forecast to increase rapidly. For instance, Apple added a satellite feature to their latest iPhone 14 lineup, and the satellite phone firm Iridium partnered with the chip company Qualcomm to provide satellite connectivity on Android smartphones.
Building trust in IoT devices through IoT security
The fast development and adoption of IoT technologies over the past few years have transformed IoT security from a rather new market segment into a critical enabler of digital transformation. In 2022, the IoT security market was valued at over five billion U.S. dollars and was forecast to be four times higher by the end of 2027. The rising number of IoT devices has led to a dramatic expansion in the number and variety of cyber-attacks since a company’s entire security network can be significantly weakened by the lack of measures or wrongly implemented policies. However, in 2023, 47 percent of respondents expected their companies to implement IoT security solutions for their employees, while another 54 percent stated that their organization already had compliance policies in place for IoT security.
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Research expert covering the global hardware industry