Where is the "Next Big Thing" for Telecom Service Providers?
Sometimes the “next big thing” does not prove to be as big as expected. It might not be too early to say that consumer wearables--though someday that might change--are a product category to rival smartphones or TVs. So far, expectations are lagging forecasts. That is not unusual.
Tablets once were thought to be the next big thing in personal computing. Significant, yes, but not a new category big enough to replicate the market opportunity of PCs, phones or TVs. In fact, consumer interest in wearables has been in decline since 2015. Demand for smart watches, perhaps the biggest category within the wearables market, has plummeted.
That does not mean wearables will not, in the future, make a comeback. But it can take decades for that to happen. What we now call “cloud computing” was a hopeful “next big thing” in the mid-1990s, when application service providers made a big splash. It was not to be. The point is that even big innovations often take a while--a decade or more--to reach commercial success.
Some will not that the search for the next big thing in consumer electronics continues, with huge implications for that industry. So far, nothing has reached the magnitude of the smartphone.
For suppliers, including consumer electronics firms and internet access providers, that search is vital. Big new markets are needed to replace a smartphone market that is fast maturing, as well as declining voice, messaging and other “access network” products.
Internet of Things is widely expected to provide some serious chance of creating one or more "next big thing" markets. But history suggests we might be further from that happening than many hope.