What will be the biggest Tech, Media and Telecom trends in 2020? Morgan Stanley's analysts and TMT Barcelona conference attendees share key debates and topics for the year ahead.

Katy Huberty, Head of North American IT Hardware Equity Research, discusses how 5G will go from promise to rollout in 2020, driving a decade of growth, productivity and IT spending.

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Amid much discussion over the rise of over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms, an equally exciting development will be the acceleration of investment in OTT advertising. Advertisers are expecting greater reach from OTT since advanced ad tech capabilities allow for more personalized ads targeting viewer demographics, interests and location. Certain platforms keep viewers from skipping ads, ensuring a higher completion rate and ad-blockers don’t exist on connected TVs as they do in mobile and desktop. Programmatic TV can also feature interactive elements and direct calls-to-action that can help maximize return-on-investment. Although there are still challenges ahead before full implementation (namely, privacy issues, creative logistics and measurement), based on the immense growth of programmatic advertising in display, mobile and social media, programmatic TV on OTT platforms could be headed for a similar outsized surge in growth.

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Jess Alsford, Head of Sustainability Research, talks about the increasing intersection between tech and sustainability.

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In addition to opportunities in the Telco towers subsector, 5G network sharing among mobile operators emerged as another key conference discussion. As operators gear up for a 5G rollout, the costs of new infrastructure across numerous use cases will present challenges to bottom lines. In addition to upgrades for existing 4G networks, operators will need to invest in a 5G Internet of Things (IoT) layer and small cell towers in urban areas since 5G’s high band spectrum will require a larger number of access points. By sharing networks, operators can significantly reduce costs, while also mitigating some of the physical hurdles of 5G deployment in urban areas, such as opposition to excessive numbers of cell towers throughout cities. Although mobile operators will save on the massive cost of going it alone, network sharing will require operators to find new ways of differentiating service to customers to compete and gain market share.

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Equity Division Media and Telecom specialist Sean Diffley shares some key themes from discussions with conference attendees.

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Competition in the payments market is set to intensify as legacy credit card terminals operators fend off competition from newer players in Asia and navigate new opportunities from smart cards. The legacy operators have made numerous acquisitions over the past two decades to expand offerings across the payments value chain, moving beyond point-of-sale credit card terminals in restaurants, hotels and retail into the online and mobile payment space. The focus is now on integrated offerings for multi-channel sales and smart POS terminals that integrate with third-party software such as loyalty programs. But as the retail industry booms in China and India, rival payments players from Asia will look to capture untapped markets worldwide and grab market share. What to watch: Fintech competition, the "payments everywhere" trend and delivering a unified payments experience for consumers.

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Geoff Ruddell, Head of the Pan-European General Retail team, discusses the tension between growth and cash flow among e-commerce players.

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Interest in green bond issuance continues to rise in the Telco space, driven by heavy demand as the number of funds with Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) mandates increase. Instead of normal corporate bonds, Telcos are pursuing green bonds to fund projects with positive environmental benefits such as Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks and 5G infrastructure.  Fiber networks have been shown to be 85% more energy-efficient than copper networks and should lead to the recycling of copper equipment. 5G will fuel the increase of “smart cities” which could enable more efficient waste management, smart parking and smart lighting.

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Nawar Cristini, Equity Analyst covering the European Telecoms sector, explains why network sharing is a clear area of focus in the industry.

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It's still early days for some of the more advanced applications of The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), but e-health players, semiconductor manufacturers and tech companies see high growth ahead. IoMT devices allow healthcare providers to administer medication, remotely measure heart performance, monitor glucose levels and track other body systems. The technology has the potential to transform healthcare amid increasing demand for more intuitive treatment options and the potential to lower healthcare costs.  For healthcare providers, IoMT could mean better inventory management, workflow optimization and medical device integration. For patients and their loved ones, it could mean better care for chronically ill patients particularly in cases where frequent visits to a doctor’s office prove difficult for mobility-challenged patients.

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Benjamin Swinburne, Head of U.S. Media Research, discusses the rise of streaming and the role of content in this new media landscape.

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The take-out food delivery market across Europe has grown exponentially faster than the traditional restaurant market, creating more buzz around dark kitchens—food preparation warehouses without a restaurant.  Dark kitchens—sometimes called ghost kitchens—have become a hot topic in the food delivery industry, allowing smaller culinary start-ups the ability to quickly ramp up operations without the high overhead of a traditional restaurant. For consumers, these warehouses with multiple kitchens offer a potentially wider array of cuisine choices—and some cases the ability to order convenience store items as well—all from one point of delivery. The opportunities for delivery apps—and dark kitchens—are significant, though not without challenges. In particular, standardization of quality, attracting talent and building customer bases without a physical storefront.

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Emmet Kelly, Head of European Telecoms Research shares key discussions on 5G and infrastructure.

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In a world defined by dispersed workforces and global industry, businesses are demanding best-in-class video collaboration products that do more than present static, low-quality video and hollow sound. The winners in the space will be players who help users spend less time with meeting setup or resolving tech issues and instead focus on the quality and intimacy of the interaction.  Other differentiators will be an emphasis on feed security, advanced audio technologies and platforms that solve for different types of office spaces from boardrooms to conference rooms to impromptu group huddles.

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Patrick Wellington, Morgan Stanley's Head of European Media Research shares a key debate in the digital advertising arena:

For Morgan Stanley Research on key Tech, Media and Telecommunications themes ask your Morgan Stanley representative or Financial Advisor. You can also visit the TMT Barcelona 2019 page.