Much of what’s surrounding us is witnessing a major churn driven by technologies that have been in the process of development for years if not decades. As the following technology trends show, while artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, blockchain, big data, and other such seemingly futuristic technologies have been around for some time, the second decade of the century promises to make their impact on our lives much more distinct.
The anticipated benefits of these significant changes will be accompanied by issues like privacy and employability, compelling all of us to re-examine set ways of doing things in many domains. We believe these trends will help you, too, in preparing yourself and your organization for the inevitable.
While it is difficult to clearly divide these inter-related trends into discrete categories, we have followed a structure where we begin with AI-related trends, followed by mobile usage and data-centric ones, and wrapping up with people-centric trends.
The industrial robotics market is expected to grow by 175% between 2015 and 2025.
Robotics has been an area of fascination for years, but its practical use in industry has begun to become a reality only in recent years. The increasing use of robots for highly repetitive and not-so-simple tasks is going to be one of the major future technology trends for 2020 and the coming years. One of the most promising areas within robotics is that of collaborative robots, which work alongside humans to help them with various tasks. While the use of robots in everything from window cleaning to inventory management may require humans to look for other jobs, it will also let humans take time off from manual labor and focus on other important things like planning and strategizing.
Hyperautomation reduces human effort and human-error risk, improves job quality, and leads to increased productivity.
Notably, the trend towards automation goes beyond robotic process automation to combine several process automation tools and technologies across the organization for significantly improved productivity. Hyperautomation, one of the top technology industry trends, involves the combination of machine learning, packaged software, and automation tools, as well as an understanding of how different automation mechanisms can be coordinated. In 2020, many more businesses will be moving towards hyperautomation to achieve everything from cost reductions and faster business processes to identifying new opportunities and delivering better customer experiences.
There will be 20.4B IoT devices worldwide in 2020.
An important aspect of true automation is the ability of machines to interact with each other, and the recent development of IoT heralds another one of the top technology trends for the coming years. In fact, with nearly $15 trillion in investments expected in IoT by 2025, it is one of those trends that goes beyond the core tech industry and IoT development companies. It also affects every sector from retail and healthcare to civic planning and domestic appliances. As we move into the new decade, data transfer between machines, without the interference of humans, is going to become increasingly commonplace.
Tesla, Toyota, Hyundai, Renault-Nissan, and Honda plan to introduce self-driving cars by 2020.
When talking about automation, we can’t fail to mention autonomous driving, which remains one of the most talked-about technology trends in the automotive industry. While we might have to wait to see a fleet of driverless cars moving around in our cities, 2020 promises to be an exciting year for the industry, with several major players planning to introduce vehicles with Level 4 and 5 automation on the market.
The global nanotechnology market is expected to exceed $125B by 2025.
Nanotechnology, the manipulation of atoms and molecules for the fabrication of macroscale products, has been a buzzword for years now and will continue to remain in technology news in the years to come. With its potential to impact areas like electronics, energy, healthcare, and many more, developments in nanotechnology will be keenly followed by tech enthusiasts and decision-makers. The top trends within nanotechnology include its growing adoption in medical imaging, the emergence of self-powered nanotech devices, and increasing government support. Another critical aspect growing in importance is proper risk assessment of this potentially revolutionary technology and the creation of related regulations to prevent misuse and minimize risks.
In late 2019, Google claimed to have achieved quantum supremacy through its experimental quantum computer run on a processor called Sycamore.
Google’s claim and IBM’s rebuttal of it has turned quantum computing into one of the top trends in computing technology all over again. Still, we may be years away from mass-producing quantum computers that can carry out calculations several times faster than the most advanced supercomputers of today. However, Quantum computing’s tremendous potential is obvious, making announcements by companies like Microsoft and Google about achieving major milestones in the near future particularly exciting for the tech world.
Support of complex product concepts, speed, scale, and cost savings are the top benefits of 3D printing.
The increasing reliance of manufacturers on 3D printing, with production use up from 38.7% in 2018 to 51% in 2019, makes it one of the important latest trends in technology. We expect the widescale adoption of 3D printing to continue at a fast pace, with its benefits reaching a range of sectors like high tech manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, and consumer products. With critical benefits like mass customization and production flexibility, 3D printing remains useful for satisfying quick-changing consumer preferences and expectations for personalized products as well, giving businesses an important edge over competitors.
The recommendation engine market is expected to be worth $4.4B by 2022.
There are several reasons that make recommendation engines one of the key emerging technology trends for the coming year. One, companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify have proven the massive benefits well-developed recommendation systems can help reap. Two, growth in consumer expectations and impatience requires consumer-facing businesses to invest in recommendation technologies to compete. Three, with years of research and execution driven by some pioneering companies, businesses have enough resources available to deploy these technologies a lot more easily.
The facial recognition market is expected to grow from $3.2B in 2019 to $7B in 2024.
Another technology that’s going to benefit from development in AI and machine learning is that of facial recognition, placing it among the current trends in technology that are seeing the fastest adoption. Apart from its growing use in security and surveillance around the world, facial recognition is finding surprisingly wide utility in healthcare and retail. As facial recognition becomes ubiquitous, various issues related to it are also going to be hot topics in 2020.
The global human augmentation market is projected to grow from $71B to $207B between 2019 and 2024.
It has been apparent for a while now that human augmentation has moved from the realm of science fiction to reality. Thanks to developments in AI, chipsets, and sensors, human augmentation is going to be among the most revolutionary healthcare technology trends. Among the various segments of this market, wearable human augmentation is seeing the fastest growth, driven by devices like smart glasses, head-mounted displays, and sensors embedded into clothes. Other developments like chips inside the brain to help paraplegics communicate or human clinical trials for gene-editing techniques are going to keep 2020 interesting.
Spending on blockchain solutions globally is expected to reach $12.4B by 2022 from $2.9B in 2019.
Most people associate blockchain with cryptocurrencies only, but this will change in the next few years, making practical blockchain technology one of the most important technology trends in business. Blockchain provides a number of advantages, including decentralization, immutability, security, and transparency, all factors critical to many industries today. While experimental and small-scope projects are already seeing blockchain’s deployment, improvements in scalability and interoperability will surely keep blockchain development companies busy as of 2020.
Multiexperience app development enables digital transformation, aligns business and IT goals, establishes internal operational efficiencies, and eliminates the gap between UX and technology implementation.
Multiexperience app development—the use of new technologies like voice, chat, wearables, AR, and VR to offer a more seamless experience to consumers beyond web and mobile apps—is one of the top technology strategy trends for 2020. While mobile apps are still extremely popular, the natural evolution of applications will make multiexperience the go-to standard very soon. If you want your business to take the early lead in catering to varied user experience demands, investing in a strong multiexperience development platform in 2020 will be a smart way to go.
The benefits of distributed cloud include low latency, greater autonomy and security, stronger resilience, improved network scalability, and better regulatory compliance.
The evolution of cloud infrastructure from being centralized to a more distributed system, one where cloud services are located outside the cloud provider’s physical data centers, is one of the newest technology trends affecting how data will be handled in 2020 and beyond. The centralized cloud systems businesses have been using were designed for siloed applications, but they are turning into bottlenecks in the era of increasing machine-to-machine communication, which means that distributed cloud systems are going to become increasingly common.
By 2025, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be processed outside a traditional data center.
While distributed cloud and edge computing are often used interchangeably, the two are distinct, though closely related. For pretty much the same reasons listed in the previous point, edge computing is also among the major technology trends of 2020. Edge computing refers to computing happening at the edge of a network, using access points that include cell phone towers, routers, WiFi, and local data centers. It contributes towards the latency, security, and downtime issues associated with centralized systems when collecting and processing data gathered on the edge of networks. With the continued proliferation of IoT devices, edge computing will see widespread adoption.
5G networks are expected to cover 40% of the world by 2024, handling 25% of all mobile data.
The 5G cellular network technology is going to be the driving force behind the tremendous growth of IoT. Its widespread deployment, expected to begin in 2020, is one of the top trends in technology for the coming year. A typical 5G network is expected to support millions of devices per square mile, pointing to unimaginable opportunities for IoT applications and smart city sensors. Plus, its promised download speeds (about 100 times faster than those of 4G) makes it a trend that even the general consumer will actively look forward to.
The sum of the world’s data will grow from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes by 2025.
A big chunk of this data will be generated on IoT devices, while the average person’s daily digital interactions will grow to 5,000 from the 800 or so today. This “Big Data tsunami” is one of the inevitable future trends in technology and will require businesses to let go of rigid and centralized architectures in favor of agile and data-centric ones. This includes a wide range of new factors for big data companies like using machine learning and AI for augmented data analytics, augmented data management, and continued intelligence.
96% of consumers want businesses to be more transparent about collection and use of personal data.
The upsurge in data is accompanied with changing norms in transparency and traceability in the way it is collected and used by businesses, making it another of the critical technology trends. While consumers are becoming more conscious of their rights and less trusting of businesses, organizations are beginning to realize the increasing liability of gathering and storing data. The use of new technologies like AI and IoT is rendering data more susceptible to misuse. Finally, increasing legislation, like the EU’s GDPR, is laying ground rules for businesses. We expect 2020 to see a stronger move toward openness and accountability in data handling.
Annual mobile app downloads are expected to reach 258B by 2022, a 45% increase from 178B in 2017.
This corresponds to a 92% increase to $157 billion in annual app store consumer spends in the same period, making the continued growth of apps among the key mobile technology trends of 2020. Mobile apps will continue to remain important in the face of new tech developments, and app development companies will have to incorporate IoT, AI, blockchain, and AR for improved user experience. The introduction of 5G and falling prices of advanced smartphones will see heavy apps, such as complex games, being downloaded more widely.
1.06B people worldwide are expected to make a proximity mobile payment in 2020.
While in no way a new trend, mobile payments will reach a new milestone in 2020, marking their prominent role among banking technology trends. Over 36% of smartphone users across the world already use in-store mobile payment systems, and the numbers are expected to continue to rise, possibly getting a boost from technologies like blockchain. As interesting as the growth of mobile payments is the fight between banks, credit card companies, telcos, and software companies to see who gets to pocket the largest slice of this huge pie.
51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphones.
Micro-moments, also known as intent-rich moments when a person turns to their phone for ideas on doing or buying something, are part of the most important marketing technology trends in 2020. Users are turning to their smartphones for research more often than ever, and brands that are able to be available in these moments with relevant information will see major gains in CTR and conversion rates. While many brands have known of micro-moments for a few years now, the race to capture customers early on in their decision-making process will get more intense in the near future.
Embracing accessibility leads to reduction in legal risks, strengthening of brand presence, and improvement in customer experience and colleague productivity.
As part of one of the most heartening current technology trends, businesses are waking up to the importance of inclusive design. Along with the mix of factors stated above that are motivating this change, there is also the growing realization that many innovations that are meant to improve accessibility get adopted by the general population in some time. For example, driverless cars and artificial retinas, which can help the visually-impaired, can also help solve traffic fatalities and help future robots, respectively.
About 2.82B people worldwide use social media, a number expected to rise to 3.09B by 2021.
Recent trends in technology show that the prominent role of social media in digital marketing will continue in 2020, considering that increasingly more people across the world will keep joining these platforms. However, businesses will have to be conscious of the changes taking place within this ecosystem and adapt their strategies accordingly. For instance, features like ephemeral content, video content, influencer marketing, user-generated content, local targeting, and personalization are going to be more important than ever before, and brands that make use of these better are going to win the social media stakes.
Nearly 72% of social media app users read or watch news stories on these apps.
While consumers have been moving away from print and toward digital for years now, upcoming technology trends are likely to hasten this exodus from print media even further in 2020. Not just that, where consumers get their news from is also changing fast, with Facebook and Twitter already the main sources of news in some countries. The role AI plays in content creation and distribution, the opportunities it presents for news outlets, the steps social media platforms take to curb the spreading of fake news are just some of the factors that will keep the news business on its toes in 2020.
90% Americans consider cost the primary factor when subscribing to a TV or streaming service; around 50% find cable and satellite unaffordable.
Cord-cutting has been one of the new trends in technology in several parts of the world. In 2020, we expect more consumers to switch to new forms of consuming entertainment. With two major players, Apple and Disney, launching their own streaming services in late 2019, 2020 will also show us if the intensifying competition among streaming networks will result in lowering prices or if the upward trend in streaming fees will continue.
Sharing economy platforms are expected to hit a combined market worth of $335B by 2025.
The sharing economy has been gradually changing the traditional buy-use-discard model of consumption, but in the new decade, Shared Economy 2.0 is going to be one of the most important trends in technology. Developments in digital supply chain, IoT, blockchain, Big Data analytics, and cloud computing will allow individuals and businesses to make use of connected hyper-sensitive networks to share assets and skills. A merger of sharing economy and gig economy, this trend is going to give birth to many innovative ventures on the lines of AirBnB and Uber.
The global massive open online course market is projected to grow from $3.9B in 2018 to $20.8B in 2023, at a CAGR of 40.1%.
The need for cost-effective education platforms and rising costs of conventional education will ensure MOOCs remain one of the key trends in educational technology in 2020. While there have been concerns about the low completion rates and slowing enrollment, the number of paying users of these platforms has been rising steadily. MOOC platforms are also offering a much wider range of courses and tweaking the overall model to maintain their utility. This education revolution will continue in the medium term, helped by other developments in technology.
70% of professionals worldwide work remotely at least once a week.
The phenomenon of telecommuting, thanks to a number of technological facilitators, is changing the attitudes of people toward traditional nine-to-five working hours. Of the many HR technology trends changing the workplace in 2020, this is perhaps the most impactful. The flexibility of working from a location of choice results in increased productivity and job satisfaction. This throws up obvious administrative challenges, which companies will have to learn to manage quickly.
Employers estimate that a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will change by 2020.
The changes in technology like automation and connectivity are leading to an evolution in the roles of workers at all levels and in all industries. The resulting need for upskilling or reskilling is among the trends in the technology industry that managers and business owners will have to give hard thought to very soon. One of the key changes in this area is the move from clearly defined roles to hybrid ones where a mix of business and science skills, soft skills, and technology skills would have to be a part of the training at every level.
Between 1994 and 2024, workers aged 55 and older will go from bringing the smallest segment of the US working population to the largest.
The impact of technology on the older workforce and resulting social and economic consequences form another of the most important technology trends. Increased life expectancies and slowing of the population growth rate mean that workforces will start becoming dominated by the elderly. While this has several associated benefits, it will also force changes in retirement plan structures, working conditions, and the nature of work, including the fact that this workforce will also have to get used to fast tech developments expected in the workplace.
China is home to one in three of the world’s start-up unicorns.
China also accounts for more than 40% of global e-commerce transactions, while its mobile payments are 11 times the value of those in the US. China is part of the latest technology trends for multiple reasons. One, the digital boom in the country is giving rise to mammoth tech companies that are starting to compete with their Western counterparts. Two, and this is even more important, the move up the manufacturing value chain in the country means that it’s no longer a low-cost center that many global businesses have relied upon for years. Irrespective of how the current trade war between the US and China plays out, this latter trend is going to impact the hardware business in 2020.
The fact that different spheres of modern life have come to be increasingly connected is reflected strongly in these technology trends for the coming year. AI, blockchain, big data, and several other developments are going to impact everything from healthcare and education to retail and manufacturing. How different our lives will be a year from now isn’t easy to predict, but these trends do promise an exciting time for every tech enthusiast in the months to come.