54 R&DMagazine December 2013 www.rdmag.com
The information and communications technologies (ICT) industry,
and the significant level of R&D that supports it, is driven by constant change in consumer preferences, market demand and technological evolution.
The ICT industry is the largest private-sector R&D investor in the
U.S., performing nearly one-third of the total. Two firms, Intel and
Microsoft, each invested more than $10 billion in R&D in 2012, and
both expect to exceed $10 billion in 2013. The U.S. ICT industry is
forecast to grow by 5.4% to $146 billion in 2014. U.S. ICT firms are
also dominant globally and will account for more than half (57%)
of the industry’s worldwide R&D expenditures of $257 billion in
Though ICT involves numerous areas of focus, cloud computing
and technologies built on it will remain a major R&D thrust for the
Trends and Forecast
The ICT industry provides hardware, software and services that
make up the modern information age, spanning semiconductors,
telecommunications, productivity or security software, computers,
tablets and gaming. Across all these applications the integration
of smaller, faster, mobile, and more powerful electronics with the
increasingly pervasive Internet continues to drive innovation in networking and information technologies across all industries.
To keep pace with the demand for increased device performance,
chip makers continue to invest in technology and manufacturing
capabilities that improve functionality, size and power consumption. Other device and software manufacturers are addressing the
functional size of their applications as devices get smaller, lighter,
thinner, and memory to hold operating systems becomes faster and
cheaper. The concept of “wireless” is no longer a feature, but a requirement in the “Internet of Things” for both distinct ICT devices
and their embedded counterparts in diverse areas such as automobiles, logistics, smart grids/utilities and homes.
2014 GLOBAL R&D FUNDING FORECAST
The U.S. continues to be the dominant R&D force in the ICT industry and will account for 57% of the global industry’s R&D in 2014.
It should be noted, however, that this share reflects firms that are
squarely in the ICT domain. Some firms with a strong ICT context,
including many global technology giants such as Samsung (which
operates a semiconductor R&D operation in the U.S.), are currently
classified in other areas such as consumer electronics or appliances.
As Internet functionality continues to evolve these domains, a
redefinition of ICT may be needed. Such a change could alter the
perception of U.S. strength.
We forecast the U.S. ICT industry to grow again this year by 5.4%,
reaching $146.5 billion in 2014. The global growth of the ICT
industry will reach 5.1%, tempered only slightly by projected slower
growth in some of the leading European communications technology companies.
Factors Driving R&D Investment
While it might be said that Moore’s Law is driving the relentless
investment in semiconductor R&D, it is consumer demand for
ICT Industry R&D Spending
235.8 244.8 257.3
131.7 139.0 146.5
2011 2012 2013 2014