We round up the latest news from analysts and firms to see which tech categories are doing well and which aren’t, as well as future predictions and the latest trends.
Worldwide PC shipments forecast to decline by 7.3% in 2016
According to IDC, worldwide PC shipments are forecast to decline by 7.3% year over year in 2016.
The outlook continues to call for progressively smaller declines through 2017 followed by stable volume in 2018. However, growth in 2016 is now expected to be roughly 2% below earlier projections, as conditions have been weaker than expected.
Growth in the first quarter of 2016 (1Q16) came in at -12.5%, just below IDC's forecast of -11.3%, and inhibitors such as weak currencies, depressed commodity prices, political uncertainty, and delayed projects continue to constrain shipments.
Although growth rates for devices such as phones and tablets continue to fall, potentially reducing the competitive pressure on PCs, we have not seen this translate into stronger PC shipments. The financial pressure on consumers across regions, and the availability of alternatives such as delaying a PC replacement by using a free Windows 10 upgrade or relying more on other devices continues to pressure consumer PC shipments. Similarly, while a large share of enterprises are evaluating Windows 10, the pace of new PC purchases has not yet stabilised commercial PC shipments.
Detachable Tablets also present a growing challenge as specs and price increasingly compare favourably against notebook PCs. Combining detachable tablets with PCs, the market is projected to decline by just over 2 per cent in 2016 with small positive growth in later years, though still falling well short of peak shipments.
"The latest update reflects continuing pressure on PC shipments, but does not significantly change the factors driving the market," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC research.
"In addition, we have now had four consecutive quarters of double-digit volume declines. This type of prolonged slump is unprecedented, and lowers the bar for some improvement going forward. Unfortunately, the PC market still faces some persistent challenges, and for now, improvement continues to mean slower declines."
Over half of manufacturers think the UK should leave the EU
A survey of 900 UK manufacturing companies has revealed the industry is largely divided in its opinion about whether the UK should withdraw from the European Union.
The research was carried out by Manufacturing Futures, part of the recruitment company Futures.co.uk. Business leaders from a wide range of UK manufacturing companies were asked whether they think manufacturers are better served by the UK remaining in the EU.
Of the 900 manufacturers quizzed, 55 per cent said they think the UK should go it alone compared to 45 per cent who think the UK is better off staying in the EU. However 14 per cent of respondents admitted that they could still be persuaded to change their mind about how to vote in the upcoming referendum on 23rd June.
Chris Griffin of Manufacturing Futures said: “Manufacturing is a key sector in the referendum debate because so many UK companies trade in the EU and rely on being able to export freely. The UK still ranks as the 11th largest manufacturing nation in the world and, although many businesses have concerns, we are surprised the results of this poll are so close with the referendum fast approaching.
“The number of people who could still change their minds could determine the outcome of the referendum. The remaining campaigning, from both sides, will be crucial in deciding the UK’s future.”
Half of consumers want brands to use AI
Consumers want a more interesting relationship with the brands they use, and think highly of virtual techniques promised by evolving technology, according to new research by DMA.
The firm conducted a recent survey that found half (48%) of the respondents expressed an interest in artificial intelligence approaches to engagement, such as chatbots or virtual assistants.
This increased dramatically for younger age groups, rising to 79% for the 16-24 age-group, 76% for those aged 25-34 and 62% of those aged 35-44.
More than half (54%) of Gen Y/Millennial age groups (28% of the total sample) are interested in a service that detected how they were feeling and sent them surprise offers/deals based on their mood.
“Current engagement methods often seem clumsy, like ‘brand stalking’, where items follow a consumer around on web banners. Instead, consumer data could be used in virtual or artificial intelligence systems. One example could be chatbots, giving brands a better way to use their data and consumers a more meaningful interaction,” said Rachel Aldighieri, DMA’s MD.
Nearly three quarters of local authorities are not monitoring computer energy consumption
Only seven local authorities in London are able to accurately calculate the power consumption of their desktop computers, according to results from a new freedom of information (FOI) request conducted by Streamwire.
With personal computers taking up such a large proportion of office energy consumption, the findings cast doubt on whether many local authorities are doing enough to reduce energy use – and importantly, expenditure.
Commenting on the findings, Kevin Timms, COO and co-founder of Streamwire said: “Energy efficiency should be a major plank in any IT strategy as it is a significant contributor to the cost of operations. It is also important that the government has its own house in order as it encourages all of us to use less energy and become more environmentally conscious.”