A lot of the trends heading our way this year aren’t new as such, but are becoming useful in mainstream application. Here are my picks of what’ll be hitting the fan in 2020.
1. Rise of 5G
Get ready for 5G ubiquity in 2020, with speeds set to sky rocket. What does this mean for consumer and industry?
Thinking of 5G as a faster 4G is like thinking of a car as a faster bicycle. — Robert Driver, Head of 5GUK
5G is set to be more than an incremental speed change, but a revolution in data throughput, allowing for near gigabit speeds. For comparison, a datacenter runs communicates at about 20 gigabits/second.
There’s even more about the 5G revolution here.
2. LPWAN — Low Power Wide Area Network
What 5G is to speed, LPWAN is to distance. Offering a theoretical 1,000 km (1 Gigameter?) range, and real world examples hitting around 1km. Compromising on speed, LPWAN has the power to connect million of IoT devices across vast ‘infrastructure deserts’.
3. Hyper Autonomy
To replace humans, first you need to repeat what they do, but humans perform multiple tasks concurrently. Hyper Autonomy is autonomy on steroids, where many little tasks are autonomised to create an ecosystem of autonomy. Digital Twins rear their head (More on them later), as well as Robotic Process Automation(RPA), all powered by real time AI.
4. Multimodal Experiences — Seamless Handovers
With more and more types of devices connected to the average consumer home; Smart TVs, Speakers, Phones etc, we are set for a revolution of multimodal experience. Get ready to interact with all your smart devices as if they were one coherent sentient being. Think seamless, interface-less, and slick.
5. XaaS — Everything as a Service
2020 will be the year of XaaS, as the cloud expands over the tech-sphere, the silver linings come in the form of massive convenience. As a Service products are set to revolutionise Farming(FaaS), Infrastructure(IaaS), Gaming(GaaS) and everything in between.
6. The Last Mile
The logistics of the final steps of a journey have always been tricky, the last mile is a tech concept that covers the final part of the journey for people and products.
7. Quantum Computing
Google’s 53 Qubit machine made news in 2019 taking 200 seconds to do a task that would take traditional computers 10,000 years. A powerful proof of concept, but also a sign of the commercial viability of Quantum computing. Expect these computers to hit the stock market and industry in 2020, calculating stock portfolios and formula’s for serious bucks 🤑
8. Human Augmentation
With CRISPR babies hitting the headlines through-out the year, you can expect scientists around the world to watch them grow up with bated breath as the human genome is played with. The first generation of super humans could be born in 2020, or a Cronenberg nightmare.
9. Blockchain becomes useful
Blockchain has caused a lot of controversy and noise over the last few years, but with all the hype, there has been little use derived from this much discussed technology. 2020 is set to change that, with genuine use cases popping up with the digital ledger technology.
10. Green AI
AI accounts for a whopping 2 percent of the world’s energy use (approximately). With workloads on pace to double every quarter in 2020.
Enter “approximate computing”, a technique designed to retains accuracy but allow for a massive reduction in energy consumed. IBM Researchers have found performance increases by applying new algorithmic approaches to approximate computing without accuracy loss, regardless of model complexity.
This concept was originally researched back in 2016, but is starting to make its way to commercial AI, and will aid the green revolution with an energy reduction of up to 80%.
11. Digital Twins
Ok, I admit it, I love a digital twin, it is the IoT dream to have a digital clone of your project running concurrently, allowing you to delve into a working replica of a real space. But as IoT devices become more and more popular, and pop up in smarter and smarter cities, the existence of digital twins becomes a lot easier.
12. Streaming Everything
Mix 5G, Gigabit Internet, and XaaS and you have the Streaming future. Game streaming hit the mainstream this year, with Google Stadia, Microsoft XCloud and Steam RemotePlay. Video streaming is a given, and in business Cloud Desktop Streaming is becoming commonplace. 2020 may well be the tipping point where consumer devices no longer require powerful components, instead relying on cloud infrastructure to do the heavy lifting.
13. Birth of the true Smart City
One to watch is Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront, poised to be the first true smart community. Google has its finger in this pie (The parent of Sidewalk Labs), giving the project some moonshot credentials.
14. Battery Free Bluetooth
This is one product to watch out for. Williot is gearing up to send the first battery free bluetooth tag into production. Utilising existing residual radio energy, these bluetooth tags work in a similar way to NFC technology, but with bigger range.
15. Nanotech Resurgence
Nanotechnology has been out of the spotlight for a while, with the signature namesake iPod Nano seeming incredibly dated. But nano tech is about to have a renaissance, so expect to see some pretty big nano stories, and dare I say, some nano-scale 3D printing.
16. Climate Change
Sorry! But expect climate change to dominate tech in 2020, as emissions have to halve by 2030, tech has a huge roll to play in reducing energy use, creating renewables and innovating new solutions. Get your thinking caps on, we are going to need them.
17. Dexterous Robots
We have all had nightmares about Boston Dynamics creations, but robot dexterity is set to leave the research lab and our nightmares next year and land squarely in real world applications. Look out for parkour expert bots and near human dexterous hands in a factory near you.
18. Decentralised web
As the Decade draws to a close there seems to be no hold up from the stranglehold of the Big Nine. Almost all cloud solutions are run from one of them, far from the democracy that Tim Burners-Lee imagined when he created the world wide web.
Decentralised Web is a concept that democratises the web again by creating something akin to a global P2P network for the web. While in its infancy, there is a huge potential for this new technology, relying on (you guessed it) blockchain ledgers for file storage trade.
19. Knowledge Graphs
Say bye bye to boring Tabular Data (Sorry SQL, love you really 😘), and hello to Knowledge Graphs. The key behind this tech is that it is exceptionally good at representing and finding associations and relationships. Expect to see Knowledge Graphs and GraphQL uptick in 2020.
20. 3D Haptics
AR VR & MR have come a long way in recent years, but they still lack the tangibility of touch. 3D haptic technology is poised to bridge this gap by providing mid-air feedback on your experience. While this new experience will probably only enter enterprise applications next year, it has huge opportunity to push AR/VR/MR to new heights.
So what do you think will be big in 2020? What have I missed?