We find ourselves in the middle of another Industrial Revolution as technology is developing faster than any other decade. When it comes to organisations, they risk getting left behind if they don’t keep up. However, understanding pivotal trends will allow them to prepare and grasp opportunities. In this article we look at five technology trends for 2020.
1.5G Data Networks
While 5G mobile data networks became available in 2019 for the first time, they were still expensive and only available in confined areas of big cities. But it is highly likely that 2020 will see 5G really start to spread if affordable data plans and improved coverage are offered.
These super-fast data networks won’t just mean the ability to stream music and movies at a much higher quality on the move, but it will also mean that mobile networks will become more usable than wired networks in businesses and homes. This new trend is highly important for organisations as it means that with super-fast and stable internet access anywhere, there will be an increase in bandwith. This will allow robots, autonomous vehicles and machines to transfer and collect more data than ever before which would lead to even further advances in smart machinery and IoT.
AI is perhaps one of the most impactful technological advances of our time. With more and more companies starting to explore how they can leverage AI to streamline business operations and improve customer experience, next year will likely see an increase in its adoption. People will become increasingly accustomed to working alongside AIs, however designing and launching custom AI-based systems will still be an expensive feat for a majority of companies.
Therefore it is highly likely that applications will keep being created through providers of as-a-service platforms. These providers allow companies to input their own data and pay for the algorithms as we use them.
There are several platforms for these services, provided by Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Amazon, etc. However, these platforms tend to be broad in scope with often expensive custom-engineering required to apply them to specific tasks. It may well be that 2020 will see wider adoption and a growing pool of providers that will likely start offering more tailed services and applications for specific tasks.
Extended Reality or XR is an all-encompassing term that refers to several emerging technologies that are being leveraged to create more immersive digital experiences. But more specifically it refers to mixed, augmented, and virtual reality.
VR provides a fully immersive experience where you enter a computer-generated world using headsets that block out the real world. AR overlaps digital objects and image onto the real world usually done via smartphone displays or screens (i.e. Snapchat filters). MR is in effect an extension of AR, which means users can also interact with those digital objects that have been placed onto a real-world image.
While these technologies have actually been around for several years, they have largely been used in the world of entertainment. Companies such as Oculus Rift have been providing state of the art videogames and smartphone features like camera filters (i.e. Pokemon Go). These are perhaps the most mainstream examples of AR.
It’s expected that as of2020 more businesses will understand the wide range of exciting possibilities that XR offers and we will get to see more of AR and VR in training and simulation, as well as in new ways of customer interaction.
Even though we aren’t at the stage where we can expect to often see or travel in autonomous cars, next year will likely see a significant evolution in this area.
According to Tesla chief, Elon Musk, said that his company is expected to create a completely autonomous vehicle by the end of this year and that the number of vehicles that are capable of operating with a lesser degree of autonomy (lane changing, automated braking) will become an increasingly common standard.
It is also thought that in addition to all of this, other in-car systems that aren’t directly linked to driving will become increasingly automate and reliant of data capture and analytics (i.e. entertainment and security functions).
Waymo, Google’s sister company has also only just recently completed a trial of self-driving taxis in California in which they transported over 6200 customers in their first month.
However, autonomous driving won’t just stop at cars. It’ll start having an impact on shipping and trucking we well, with breakthroughs in this space likely to increase and make headlines next year.
Another aspect of autonomous driving tech will also mean that more and more measures will be put into place by legislators and authorities. We will likely start seeing more and more changes to laws, social attitudes and infrastructure as autonomous driving becomes mainstream reality.
In technical terms, “vision” refers to systems that are able to identify places, objects, or people from visual images whether they are collected by sensors or cameras. This is the technology that allows your smartphone camera to recognize which part of an image its capturing is a face. This is what powers technologies such as Google Image Search.
As we enter 2020, it’s likely we will be seeing computer vision equipped tools released for a growing number of uses. For example, it is essential for the way autonomous cars “see” and navigate their way around danger. Furthermore, we are increasingly likely to see this technology used in areas such as production lines where they will be able to watch out for equipment failur5es or defective products.
Face recognition will also be enabled by computer vision, something which we will be hearing about a lot more in 2020. It’s already being employed by technologies such as Apple’s FaceID which controls access to our smartphones. However, as this technology evolves we will also be seeing far more debates in regards to limiting its application due to its potential to infringe on privacy or enable a ‘Big Brother’-like state control (already being employed for those reasons in countries such as China).
What other trends do you think will be big in 2020? Let us know in the comments!