Skip to content
Research Agenda

Each year, the neXt Curve research team sets the agenda that will guide our research for the year. We arrive at eight themes that we develop through our continuous interactions with technology and business leaders and our analysis of emerging technologies and ICT market trends that are shaping the transformative edge of industry digitization and business reinvention.

Companies that we cover

If you’re a vendor interested in speaking to us,…

neXt Curve Research Agenda


Our Telecommunications research broadly examines the industry transformation occurring as 5G and edge cloud computing create novel opportunities on and about the operator’s network. In particular, our focus is on the evolving role of the operator as technology transforms the nature of communications. 

The telecommunications industry has entered an era of profound reinvention as the industry embraces the next generation mobile network technology that is 5G. Disruptive undercurrents are at play that are bringing into question the role of the operator and their future as Under the Bottom (UTB) entrants such as the hyperscalers and IT vendors pursue the edge cloud opportunity that is forming as the IT and CT worlds and technologies converge.

We will engage with operators around the globe as well as leading ICT vendors to sense the pace and direction of what we believe is a “whole stack” reinvention of the communications industry from silicon to the new services that are the aspirations of operators in the 5G era and beyond. 

Our research in this domain will help telecom operators understand the UTB dynamic that threatens their position in the ICT industry while providing them clarity on the vertical end market opportunities that can help them monetize their 5G investments.

ICT vendors can expect to gain insights into the competitive dynamics and trends that will impact their position as the UTB trend continues to progress and disrupt the industry.

Enterprise end users will find clarity on the evolution of 5G through our research as we distill the state of emerging RAN and network technologies through a holistic analysis of technical maturity and server provider readiness to deliver on the promises of 5G for enterprise and industrial customers.

Research Topics

  • Under the Bottom (UTB) Industry Disruption
  • IT/CT Technology Convergence
  • Open RAN Architectures & Technologies
  • Cloud-native Modernization
  • Telco and 5G Edge Cloud
  • 5G Use Cases & Service Monetization
  • Adjacent Market Opportunities (Industrial, Media)
  • Spectrum Strategy & Policy
  • Network as a Service Business Models
  • Private Networks
  • Multi-Access Networks
  • Satellite Communications
  • 5G Advanced
Trust & Security

Our Trust & Security research focuses on emerging technologies, frameworks, and architectures that are shaping the leading edge of cybersecurity, privacy protection, and trust models that will be critical in fortifying and sustaining the integrity of our data, digital systems, industries, and our lives.

With a seemingly intensifying onslaught of cyber attacks and breaches occurring at larger scale and with notable financial consequence, has cybersecurity turned the corner? At the same time, trust in our systems, our institutions, and our devices have come into question as privacy and our personal data is becoming compromise by a digital proxy that we neither own or control.

Our Trust & Security research objective is to identify technologies, architectures and emerging practices that lend to the holistic securing of increasingly hybrid, multi-vendor (cloud) computing environments of enterprises, telecom operators, and consumers that span the central cloud to the growing multitude of endpoints populating the edge. We are will engage with end users and vendors to identify gaps in technologies, practices and governance that expose our enterprises and lives to growing cybersecurity and privacy risks.

Our research will help enterprise end users understand the interdependencies between different security ecospheres such as IoT security, 5G and edge cloud as they eye frontiers of secure innovation for their business.

Technology vendors can expect to gain insight into security challenges that end users are facing as they delve into the Internet of Things, 5G mobile applications and edge cloud-based distributed applications. Vendors will also gain perspective on the importance of positioning security products and services to address growing trust and privacy concerns. 

Research Topics

  • Trust Frameworks
  • Confidential Computing
  • Zero Trust Practices
  • Privileged Access Management (PAM)
  • Endpoint Device Management (eSIM, iSIM)
  • Edge Cloud Security
  • Edge Network Micro-segmentation
  • DLT Security Frameworks
  • PrivacyFirst Design & Compliance (GDPR)
  • Managed Security Services
Digital Media

Our Digital Media research delves into the industry trends and technologies that are driving the rapid digital reinvention of the media & entertainment industry. We also examine how rapidly evolving telecommunications continues to transform how content is produced, distributed, consumed, and interacted with. 

No industry has undergoing as profound a digital transformation that the media and entertainment industry. In fact, that transformation persists creating new opportunities for bold new players and incumbents, and dogged threats that have forced so many mainstay brands to dramatically reinvent themselves. Digital and social continues to reshape the landscape of communications, entertainment, and advertising while raising concerns for privacy and trust.

Our Digital Media research objective is to monitor the ongoing transformation of the media industry as it continues to be redefined as telecommunications and new media business models continue to force change in the structure of the media and entertainment industries. In particular, we will be engaging with media companies globally to determine how they are leveraging emerging technologies to incubate the next generation media experiences and formats. We are also examining the interplay between media companies and telecom operators to determine why synergies continue to be challenging to realize through partnerships and acquisitions. 

Our research in this domain will provide enterprise end users with insights into the maturity of media technologies and formats, in particular immersive media such as extended reality (XR), and their readiness to enable new business applications. The research will also be useful for technology leaders of M&E companies who want to get a holistic view of the technology and cross-industry trends that are driving change in their industry.

Vendors will find our research useful in qualifying the market opportunities for next-gen media technology and media experiences. We will continue to pressure test prevailing consumer market forecasts and assumptions for next-gen media such as virtual reality gaming and augmented reality which have proven to be sizably incorrect over the past few years.

Research Topics

  • Game Development Technology
  • The Metaverse Hype
  • Immersive (Volumetric) Content Production & Distribution
  • Emerging Media Production Technology
  • Live Performance Technology & Experiences
  • Emerging Content Management & Distribution
  • Emerging Content/Media Business Models & Monetization
Consumer Electronics

Our Consumer Electronics research tracks the innovations and consumer trends that continue to fuel vibrant growth and frequent disappointments that make this expansive industry a rewarding but volatile one. Our focus is on how consumer electronics markets drive demand across the technology industry.

Consumer electronics continue to revolutionize our lives. In digitally mature markets, we don’t live like we used to a decade ago. We are much more connect and we have access to increasingly capable applications on the go. Consumer electronics includes a broad range of categories. Our focus is on smartphones, smart living (home and cities), wearables, mixed or extended reality devices, and automotive. There are ancillary categories such as medical devices for remote healthcare that we will treat from time to time.

Our Consumer Electronics research objectives are to continue our monitoring of our target device categories as well as some emerging categories such as extended reality (XR) devices. We will be engaging with some of the leading electronics OEMs and component suppliers to gain insight into supply chain and technology road maps. We will also integrate our Digital Media research to qualify the influence of emerging content formats and distribution models on the incubation and growth of digital service and creator ecosystems forming around device brands such as Apple, Samsung and others. 

We will also expand our research coverage to include a deep dive into the future of the car and transportation. Specifically, we will examine the interplay between the evolution of smart vehicles, 5G, and intelligent transportation infrastructure.

Enterprise end users will gain insight into the market realities and the technical readiness of emerging technologies and device categories to support new use cases such as consumer (XR), metaverse, and autonomous vehicles. Our research can inform any digital transformation strategies that depend on these emerging device categories for enterprise and industrial use.

Electronics vendors will gain nuanced perspective on the competitive dynamics of the market segments that they play as well as ecosystem strategies to enhance their position in their target market.

Research Topics

  • Mobile Device Market & Technology Trends – Smartphones
  • Wearables Market & Technology Trends
  • Portable Device Market & Technology Trends – PCs and Tablets
  • Smart Home & Smart Cities
  • Future of Transportation & the Car
  • Mixed Reality Market & Technology Trends
Silicon Futures

Our Silicon Futures research monitors the advancements in semiconductor technologies that are enabling the progression of Moore’s Law and beyond as we reach the physical limitations of scaling. We also examine the ongoing transformation of the industry and its implications on the competitive landscape.

The semiconductor industry has come under the spotlight in recent years as supply chain issues, geopolitics, and globalization concerns have underscored the criticality of the expansive range of semiconductor devices on our digital economy and the tech industry overall.

Our Silicon Futures research will be focused on the broad industry transformation that is being driven by shifts toward heterogeneous computing and specialized compute. Research activities will include engaging with leading semiconductor companies to gain insights into their portfolio strategies and the evolution of their businesses as the industry moves toward systems design.

Our research will provide companies in the semiconductor industry an outside-in perspective on where demand is shifting and forming across key end markets such as automotive, smartphones, personal computing, data center/cloud, edge computing, as well as vertical industry perspectives on digital investments.

Vendors and enterprise end users will gain insights into the key trends in the semiconductor industry that are creating new innovation opportunities for device OEMs that will yield new form factors in existing device categories and bring about entirely new device categories that could be the next big thing. 

Target Topics

  • Semiconductor Manufacturing Innovation
  • Advanced Packaging & Integration Technologies
  • Semiconductor Demand & Pricing
  • Confidential Computing
  • Emerging Memory
  • Heterogenous Compute Architectures
  • AI Compute
  • Semiconductor Supply Chain
  • Geopolitics & Trade Relations
Digital Transformation

Our Digital Transformation research investigates the trends and practices that businesses are implementing to advance their “digital” maturity and associated business capabilities. We look at how IT practices and digital technologies are applied to realize adaptable organizations able to compete and survive in the future.

Today, organizations need to respond and adapt to an increasing velocity of change and volatility in their industry. Digital transformation of industries are compelling enterprises to figure out their mode of adaptability and agility that will enable them to remain competitive. These notions are well known but why do organizations continue to trip up their digital transformation initiatives and efforts? Is it a lack of technology savvy?

Our Digital Transformation research objective is to evaluate the technical maturity and readiness of several technologies that are becoming mainstream in tech discourse, namely, artificial intelligence. We will test the notion of the AI organization and other digital transformation cliches against ground truths that we observe in our broader technology research. We will also feedback our observations based on transformation strategy and program assessments that we conduct for our end user and vendor clients during the year.

Enterprises will find our research in this domain infused with grounded perspectives on IT principles and practices that are often improperly or too ambitiously applied in transformation programs. We provide experience-based perspective and guidance on successfully clearing critical decision points that you will encounter on your digital transformation journey.

Our research in this domain will provide guidance to vendors undergoing or considering business model change (from hardware business to services business). We will continue to refine our corpus of leading practices and frameworks for target software and service business models which we have develop over decades of transformation work and experience in the electronics industry.

Research Topics

  • Ideation & Innovation
  • Business Model Reinvention
  • Communications & Collaboration
  • AI Organization
  • Digital Commerce & Omnichannel Retail
  • Organization of the Future
  • Workplace Modernization
  • Enterprise Applications – ERP, CRM
  • IT Strategy & Operations
Cloud & Edge

Our Cloud & Edge research analyzes the technology trends and market dynamics that are expanding the cloud from the hyperscale data centers to the very edge of the network and beyond. In particular, we examine the convergence of leading edge ICT technologies that are changing computing as we know it.

The cloud and cloud computing are evolving. The technologies that have made the cloud what it is today are proliferating and changing the way that we develop software, architect applications, and deliver compute infrastructure and platform services outside of the hyper scale data center. Welcome to the era of edge cloud computing. This is the next frontier of cloud and computing.

We have a long legacy in cloud and edge computing. The foundation of our research is our experience working with enterprises on their cloud migration, cloud app development, and IT ops transformation via adoption of DevOps and continuous integration and delivery operating models. We continue building on this foundation through our interactions with leading hyperscale cloud vendors around the globe and discovery of new players positioning themselves for the emerging multi-cloud edge opportunity.

Enterprise end users will find our research on cloud and edge computing provides a distilled point of view on the state of edge cloud computing and the changing economics and value of conventional notions of cloud computing as multi-cloud and hybrid cloud trends make their way out to the edge.

Our research will help vendors visualize the competitive landscape and understand the rapidly changing dynamics that are shaping the edge cloud opportunity. It will also help telco operators gain a more holistic perspective on what the edge cloud opportunity is and the risk of losing out on this frontier market. 

Research Topics

  • Serverless Computing
  • Cloud & Edge Cloud Operations
  • Cloud Management & Brokerage
  • Edge Cloud Computing Architectures
  • Multi-Cloud Orchestration
  • Cloud Cost Management
  • AIOps (AI Operations)
Internet of Things

Our Internet of Things research investigates the factors that have challenged the adoption of IoT technologies and resulted in broadly disappointing market growth and value. We examine the wide range of industrial & consumer use cases to determine why we continue to wallow in the trough of disillusionment.

Numerous forecasts have inflated the expectations of the Internet of Things especially from a market opportunity perspective. A multitude of startups and developers continue to await the pot of IoT gold as the rush subsides. The so-called industry is in need of level setting.

Our research in the IoT will continue to be founded on our deep involvement with IoT technical and industrial communities that are struggling to identify the elusive economic sweet spot that will unleash the promised value of IoT. We will continue to mature our research through our engagement with various industry and technology consortia such as the IoT Community, The Things Industries, TM Forum, 5GAA and others.

Enterprise end users will benefit from our use case explorations where we apply our cross-domain experience and approach in helping business develop compelling value cases for their IoT ambitions and investments.

Our research will provide IoT vendors will holistic insights and market intelligence that will support their go-to-market efforts, positioning, and avoidance of “POC purgatory”.

Research Topics

  • IoT Business Models
  • LoRa & LoRaWAN
  • Cellular IoT
  • Digital Twin & Modeling
  • TinyML & Quantization
  • Intelligent Control System Architectures
  • IoT Data Management
  • Sensor Technologies
  • URLLC for Industrial Critical Systems

Request a Briefing

Subscribe to neXt Curve!

By subscribing to the neXt Curve site you will registered with our reThink research blog and have an opportunity to engage with one of the most vibrant and independent discussions on our digital future. As a subscriber, you will receive newly published research articles and content as well as invitations to exclusive events by mail.

By subscribing you acknowledge and accept the terms of neXt Curves privacy policy.

Request an Inquiry

Send us an email