Radar, June 2020 54165515
This edition of the Radar is our first since the Covid-19 pandemic has enveloped countries around the world with unprecedented strain on national health systems and economies. While our topics are not specifically focused on the implications of Covid-19 on the technology, media and telecoms sectors, we bring attention to it where relevant.
In the first chapter, we take a renewed look at the video streaming market, with Disney, Apple and HBO (again) among the most prominent to join the fray in an increasingly crowded field. One question concerns sustainability. Given that Netflix is the clear dominant player, and Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ are offered at zero or minimal cost to users of their platform and devices respectively, how many other streaming services can survive? Another issue concerns the shift to immersive formats, particularly VR, where interactive live sports and music could conceivably be brought to the living room.
We then switch gears to talk about socially responsible investing (SRI) – the practice of seeking investments that deliver benefits to society in addition to generating a financial return. As more investors demand reform to operations and governance, prominent companies have shifted their mindset from a position of shareholder primacy to the pursuit of a broader purpose. However, SRI can be prone to ‘confirmation bias’ and ‘greenwashing’ stemming from the inherently subjective nature of sustainability and limited reporting. Operators have an opportunity to channel this activism to assist in climate efforts, such as raising capital through green finance projects.
Our third piece seeks to assess the viability of and revenue models for private networks in enterprise settings, with manufacturing, financial services and cities among the early target segments. The lines of competition between telcos, vendors and cloud companies have blurred. For operators to succeed, a nuanced approach is needed – one that will depend as much on operators taking on the role of an IT consultancy as that of a connectivity supplier.
Finally, our in-graphics chapter analyses developments in quantum computing, which has reached new heights in light of recent achievements from Google and IBM. While expectations have been running high and the race for more powerful computing continues, significant challenges remain ahead of any move to the mainstream.