WHAT’S going to take the market by storm this year? In lieu of a crystal ball, Reseller News contacted six commentators for their predictions for how the year ahead is shaping up.
IDC New Zealand country manager Graeme Muller expects 2005 to be another strong year for the IT market in terms of end-user spen-ding and IT services growth.
“However, increasing competition from new multinational entrants, continued convergence and market consolidation will make it a hard year for some firms,” he says.
Muller says further competition in the PC market will continue to drive prices down and he expects to see basic desktop systems sel-ling for less than $500 and notebooks under $1,000 this year.
“Further consolidation is expected in 2005, especially around niche companies participa-ting in high-growth areas. With unemployment expected to stay low, holding onto talent will be key for services companies. Likewise, in order to grow IT, services companies will be forced to source new talent.”
Noel Leeming GM merchandise Jason Bell believes television screens will be extremely successful this year with LCD and plasma driving the market.
“Notebook sales will be huge, although there’s still a bit of life left in desktops, especially with new technologies like media centres. Finally the products we’ve been promised are coming through,” he says.
Bell predicts another big year for mobile phones, although doubts 3G will be a driving factor.
“I think 3G still has a way to go and it won’t necessarily be this year.”
Tech Pacific consumer division manager Rick Jansen agrees that LCD televisions will be big and adds that projector sales for the home are beginning to take off.
“I think we’ll see MP3 players really go this year; prices have come down and quality is improving so they’ll be a must-have accessory,” he says.
Jansen says the focus this year is on ADSL and bringing wireless into the home.
Canon national marketing manager Gary Walker says the company’s release of a data projector using liquid crystal on silicon technology is suitable for both the home theatre and office.
“This is the next version of LCD and it’s really affordable. It’s around $7,000 for technology that people used to pay $30,000 for, on top of that I think home theatre products will sell exceptionally well,” he says.
Walker says one of Canon’s hottest categories is the personal printer.
“We’re releasing a printer in April that connects to your TV, computer, digital camera or even mobile phone so you can print anything off. It’s designed to compliment the home and will be very hot.”
He adds that a range of multi-functional embedded application platform copiers allo-wing direct integration of photocopiers into a company’s IT system will be popular with the business market.
Telecom marketing analyst Pat Pilcher says 3G, broadband and convergence are the buzzwords for 2005.
“We’re going to see a whole raft of services like games, video streaming and rich messaging possibilities with 3G that will make phones more exciting. Finally WAP is delivering what it promised, now that data speeds have transformed it,” he says.
Pilcher describes Jetstream as having gone berserk.
“www no longer stands for ‘world wide wait’. ADSL modems have suddenly become affordable and broadband is hitting critical mass bringing the internet to the centre of home entertainment.”
He says convergence, particularly wi-fi, is cool and brings technologies together in ways never thought possible.
“It allows people to work when and where they want to and notebooks now come with wi-fi by default. It’s starting to become part of our landscape and, as a user, I’m suddenly untethered.”
Sun New Zealand country manager Peter Idoine says a lot of the business focus is on data centres and organisations are trying to get the balance of service, availability, cost and automaton right.
“We’re seeing a lot of consolidation to the data centre. Companies are asking how they can reduce the cost of this and so now we’re starting to see the emergence of technology to help achieve this,” he says.
Idoine says he continues to see high levels of frustration with the desktop management of viruses and spam.
“It’s becoming a real challenge for businesses and the cost of spyware is just huge.”
He believes this year telcos will take traditional IT services away from IBM, pointing to Telecom’s acquisition of Gen-i and Computerland.