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Middle East technology predictions for 2014

Deloitte releases second annual Middle East technology predictions report

Market research, IT Business, Deloitte, Middle East

Smart glasses, online visits to the doctor and an increase in online education are the major trends predicted for the Middle East in 2014, by professional services firm Deloitte.

According to Deloitte's second annual technology report, "Middle East Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT)", smart glasses, fitness bands and watches should sell about 10m units in 2014, generating $3bn in revenue worldwide.

The Middle East has seen a significant shift towards the adoption of new technologies, Deloitte said, and this trend is expected to continue, as smart glasses become commercially available in the region. However, due to the high price of the new technology, the uptake by the wider Middle East consumer base will be gradual over the longer term.

A number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are expected to be launched and more Arab users will attend in the coming year, the report predicted.

Online medical advice is also set to surge. There are expected to be 100m eVisits globally, representing a potential saving of over $5bn when compared to the cost of in-person visits and representing growth of 400% from 2012 levels.  Although eVisits will likely be greatest in North America, where there could be up to 75m eVisits in 2014; in the Middle East, usage will be more gradual as implementation of national eHealth programmes in countries such as Saudi Arabia are planned over a ten-year period. In the meantime, fast-developing mobile health (mHealth) will emerge as a more disruptive force in the region's healthcare systems.

Santino Saguto, partner and TMT leader at Deloitte Middle East said: "Whilst the Global Deloitte TMT Predictions report is currently in its 13th edition, for the second year in a row Deloitte published a version of the predictions with specific relevance to the Middle East region. This time we have taken a more in-depth view on the region's most important themes, such as education, healthcare, small- to mid-size business, sports and how the most cutting-edge innovations such as wearables could help business leaders and government authorities drive the Middle East's evolution and growth,"

"In light of the latest trends seen in the Middle East TMT space, we have also sought to highlight and reflect on key challenges [that] could impact the pace of the region's wider adoption of new technologies and their development across TMT sectors," added Saguto.

The report also predicted SMEs' expenditure on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services will increase by over $2bn in the Middle East.

In the consumer segment, global sales of smartphones, tablets, PCs, TV sets and videogame consoles will exceed $750bn in 2014, up $50bn from 2013 and almost double the 2007 total. Shipments of phablets (smartphones with 5- to 6.9-inch screens) will represent a quarter of smartphones sold, or 300m units, which is double the 2013 volume and 10 times 2012 sales. The highest year-on-year increase in smartphone penetration in developed countries will be among the over-55s.