www.rdmag.com December 2013 R&DMagazine 55
functionality driving R&D investments in other sectors of the ICT
industry. Both of these drivers are inherent and recognized as
integral to the modern ICT industry, with 65% of the ICT survey
respondents citing conventional technology evolution as the biggest
change in their technologies over the past year. Increased competition, at 39%, was the second most cited factor in industry technology change.
The constant evolution of ICT technologies is recognized as both a
market driver and as a driver for R&D, as the ICT industry’s R&D
operations are built to support these demand requirements. Nearly
three in four industry respondents felt technology change was a
decisive factor, with 31% reporting significant technological changes
just in the past year. To keep up with the constant change in the
industry, 62% of the respondents cited faster time to market as a
key organizational factor of their R&D operations, more than 20%
higher than the other industries’ respondents.
ICT industry respondents, reflecting steady growth even in weaker
economies, are optimistic regarding their 2014 R&D budget. While
47% of respondents were more optimistic about their 2014 budgets,
when asked for specifics about their budget forecasts, fully 93%
stated their R&D budgets will be staying the same or increasing for
2014. Part of this discrepancy in optimism versus actual budgets
may reflect that 43% of the respondents also stated that their R&D
budgets are not large enough to accomplish their goals. So, while
budgets are not declining, they may not be growing at the rate the
firms’ researchers desire.
The global nature of the ICT industry is apparent as half of the
U.S. respondents currently have some level of foreign R&D operation, with 23% planning new R&D facilities outside of the U.S.
These global operations are dynamic and not without some challenges, as 33% of those with foreign operations are planning expansions while another 27% are planning reductions.
Changing Technology Landscape
Technology development within the ICT industry is primarily oriented
toward a combination of in-house development and industrial collaboration. The industry’s use of academic collaborations, at 14%, is
the lowest among the five industries examined in detail, while its use
of virtual design, at 26%, is significantly higher than the others.
Two-thirds of ICT respondents cite cloud computing as the key
technology development area for 2014-2016, reflecting the ever-changing ICT technology landscape. Contrast this with results from
our 2012 forecast where cloud computing was just emerging and not
seen as a key development area by 2014.
Core technologies, however, are part of the constant development
process of the ICT industry. Continued development of wireless
technologies was cited by nearly half (49%) of the respondents,
cybersecurity capabilities (46%), and embedded technologies (37%)
all at levels nearly identical to the 2012 forecast.
The U.S. leadership in ICT R&D
remains strong, with both Intel and
Microsoft exceeding US$10 billion in
2012 R&D investment, and Google’s
and Intel’s R&D investments growing
by 40% and 27%, respectively, in each
of the last two years. China’s Huawei
has averaged 24% growth in the last
two years, thrusting them into a global
leadership position. The innovation-and R&D-intensive nature of the global
ICT industry is evident with all of the
U.S. and global leaders firms exceeding 5% and Intel reaching 19%.
Corporate leaders in
ICT R&D investment
5% 10% 15% 20% 25%
2012 Corporate R&D Intensity
Top 5 Non-U.S. Firms
Top 5 U.S. Firms
Size of Ball Re;ects Amount in US$ of R&D Expenditure
Source: Battelle/R&D Magazine, Schonfeld & Associates, European Commission-JRC/EIRI
Sources of Innovation
0% 60% 80% 100%
ICT sector All Industry Respondents