LTE, 4K, Security Concerns Could Dominate 2013 Media Trends

Source: SNL, Fraud Consulting Ltd, 12th February 2013
Deloitte TMT Predictions 2013
The following article is reproduced with the kind permission of SNL Kagan

Security concerns and password issues will increasingly become a problem in 2013, while 4K TVs and LTE adoption will gain momentum, industry experts have told SNL Kagan.

“The need for Internet security and anti-virus software on smartphones is becoming greater than ever in 2013,” Darren Hodder, director at Fraud Consulting Ltd. in London, told SNL Kagan. Hodder warns that handsets should get the same anti-virus protection that is pre-installed, “as you would expect,” when purchasing a laptop or desktop PC.

A Jan. 15 report from Deloitte states that global shipments of smartphones are expected to exceed 1 billion units for the first time. “Data loss and risks due to the power and sophistication of mobile devices and tablets are becoming ever more substantial,” said Hodder. “Couple this with the popular trend for bringing your own device in the workplace and you have a recipe for disaster.”

The report predicted that 2013 might signal the end of password-only security as more than 90% of user-generated passwords will be vulnerable to hacking in seconds. Deloitte suggests that additional forms of authentication, including token devices, additional passwords sent through SMS to consumers’ phones, fingerprints and other biometrics, may be required.

“I fear that in reality this is wishful thinking,” said Hodder. “As a user of multiple financial services across different institutions, I am already in the position where I have multiple token devices, which is really not convenient.” He added that he would like to see a move to a universal token for multiple accounts which could be a smartphone and potentially combined with one-time SMS passwords.

Still, Hodder pointed out that safe tools, including free software, are available across all the major smartphone and tablet platforms, including Apple Inc.‘s iPhone, Google Inc. Android operating systems and Microsoft Corp. products such as Windows Mobile and Windows 8.

Deloitte also expects a strong year for the adoption of LTE. According to the report, more than 200 operators in 75 countries will have launched an LTE network by the end of 2013. “By year-end LTE subscriptions should exceed 200 million, a 17-fold increase in just two years,” the report noted.

But Ian Nock, managing director of Altim Media, providing consultancy services in the field of digital TV and consumer device delivery, is skeptical. He told SNL Kagan that although LTE will grow, it could be held back by battery performance more than anything else. Plus, a large number of people on multiyear mobile-phone contracts will mean that many potential LTE customers will not be buying a new phone this coming year, Nock added.

In terms of communications infrastructure, Deloitte warns that, as the demand for wireless bandwidth continues to grow, increased spectrum exhaustion will lead to slower speeds and might even cause an inability to access networks or dropped calls and data sessions.

“The industry generally sees this as a ‘U.S. issue’ that is not shared, at the level that it exists in the U.S., with European, African, South American and Asian operators,” Nock noted.

Duncan Stewart, director of research at Deloitte in Canada, agreed that the first place the industry will see spectrum exhaustion is in the U.S., specifically in large cities. But this U.S. issue will serve as a bellwether for other markets.

“As 3G, 3.5G and 4G networks fill up worldwide, we expect to see congestion occur in other jurisdictions,” Stewart told SNL Kagan. “Slowing speeds are already a fact of life in many cities I visit worldwide, especially during peak periods.”

The report also noted that in 2013, the next generation of HD TV sets, also known as 4K, will truly kick off. While 4K TVs might offer a 4x higher resolution than the current highest-standard HD TV, there will be no 4K broadcasts in 2013, according to the Deloitte study.

Nock dismissed this concern, pointing out that 4K will not be about 4K broadcast content for another 4 or 5 years. “Initially, it will be all about up-conversion from existing HD … content with a focus on giving a good extrapolation of the lesser resolution with improved software solutions, making larger screens more real as we move toward a greater home-cinema-style experience,” he said.