Emerging Technology

5 Emerging Technology Trends for 2020

Emerging technology trends are always a popular topic.

Innovation and emerging technology serves as the landscape for the development of society. While we might not yet have access to the flying cars promised in the sci-fi flicks of the 60s and 70s, the technology we have available is nothing to frown at. Our playground of tech advances has a lot to do with the pace at which technological innovation happens. Kurzweil AI explains that, because technological progress is exponential, we are likely to see a century’s worth of technological advancement in just a matter of days at today’s levels of technology, something the author terms “The Law of Accelerating Returns.”

In 2020, the emerging technology from 2019 will seek to establish dominance in the tech market. Many of these tech innovations people have already heard of, either in passing or because something drew their interest. These top technology trends are termed ‘disruptive’ for that reason – they get into people’s line of sight because they threaten to change how society does things. Here are five of the trendy tech innovations that 2020 is likely to put in front of us.

1. Artificial Intelligence

What It Is: Artificial Intelligence (AI), ZD Net tells us, is the use of a machine to perform a task that would need human intelligence to be done correctly. While the definition is broad, it does encapsulate the basic idea of what AI is – the use of technology to create machines that think like human beings and able to make rational decisions.

How Is it Disrupting the Industry: AI has made its way into many different industries, from insurance to materials technology, enabling companies to leverage automation in devices. Because of how efficient AI is at what it does, companies that have not yet adopted this top technology trend risk falling behind their competitors that do.

Future Projections: The growth of this technology is expected to be massive as more industries realize how useful it can be when used in business applications. Emerj suggests that the projected market value for the AI industry by 2020 will be in the vicinity of $1.2 trillion.

2. Blockchain

What It Is: Blockchain is, as defined by Wired, a method of decentralized ledgering, with each copy of the completed transactions (known as blocks) stored in each of the nodes operating on the chain. Because of its nature, it is a complicated system to defraud and has a lot of potential in any trust-based application.

How Is it Disrupting the Industry: The earliest uses of blockchain were for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, the world’s most well-known cryptocurrency, was built as a proof of concept for the blockchain as a store of value. Since then, multiple companies and NGOs have invested in developing their own blockchains, causing concern for central banking across the world. Additionally, the use of blockchain comes into play in corporation supply chain and asset management, allowing for an unfalsifiable record of assets and goods across the entire breadth of the enterprise.

Future Projections: Spending on blockchain development will increase as more companies realize how useful the technology is. With faster and more efficient blockchain technologies, The IDC estimates that the industry may hit spending of $11.7 billion by 2022.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

What It Is: The Internet of Things as explained by IBM, is a concept whereby an electronic device can be connected to the Internet and other connected devices, just so long as it has a power button. The IoT is the entire networked connection of these devices that can be as large as consumer vehicles or as small as tiny transmitters embedded in packaging. IoT devices are, in essence, sensors that tie into a network device for connection. As more and more widgets connect, the IoT could form a web that is even more widespread than today’s Internet.

How Is it Disrupting the Industry: IoT devices are like bees – on their own they’re not very smart, but when connected to the network of IoT devices the data they supply can be sued for a plethora of things, ranging from industry analytics and insight to collection of real-time data that can be used to alert a business or individual of potential impending disaster. Logistics and supply chains can benefit significantly from this technology, but the impact of IoT may extend to other industries like healthcare and agriculture.

Future Projections: The technology for the IoT is developing rapidly, and advancements in smaller devices and stronger security for their connections make for an essential factor in the technology’s long-term outlook. Ericsson states that, by 2022, there are likely to be 18 billion IoT devices connected and communicating with each other.

4. 5G

What It Is: The BBC explains that 5G (short for Fifth Generation Mobile Technology) is a super-fast method of connection that will allow better speeds on phones and other devices using a mobile network. 5G rollouts have started around the US already, and some cities already have nascent 5G technology for their populations. One of the hindrances that will bottleneck 5G is the necessity for specific hardware to take advantage of the higher connection speeds. However, to date, handset manufacturers have already started issuing upgraded hardware in keeping with the network upgrades.

How Is it Disrupting the Industry: 4G technology, the technology we probably currently have on our mobile phones, was responsible for offering decent data speeds, much faster than the generation before it. However, the significant problems with 4G data speeds came with the speed limit based on coverage and the amount of data throughput it could maintain. This top technology trend addresses both of these problems and does 4G one better by offering low-latency speeds that are even better than some wired connections. Disruption isn’t only likely to hit the mobile phone market, but also related markets like online gaming and broadband.

Future Projections: 5G technology is new, but with the speed of adoption of mobile tech, it’s likely to be a mainstream fixture once the infrastructure to support it goes live. ID Tech Ex estimates that by 2030, the 5G industry could be worth as much as $700 billion.

5. Machine Learning (ML)

What It Is: Machine learning attempts to teach computers how humans solve problems and then leave them to develop their own methodologies for solving new problems. SAS informs us that machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence that prioritizes the development and usage of analytical models, built on the idea that computer systems have the propensity to learn from data, recognize patterns, and make human-like decisions with minimal interference.

How Is it Disrupting the Industry: Machine learning is a particular case of using AI to teach itself. Fields such as education, healthcare, and marketing have already adopted this top technology trend to help develop analytic patterns. Tech giants Google and Facebook even have their own test lab for experimenting with machine learning, sometimes leading to unexpected results like Facebook’s chatbots developing their own undecipherable language.

Future Projection: The growth in this industry is likely to continue unabated and even explode over the next few years as more and more companies realize the inherent power in this innovation. CIO reports that by 2022, the machine learning market may be worth more than $8 billion.

The Future is Today

We may have to wait a while for flying cars, of course, but self-driving cars might be right on the horizon thanks to new technology like IoT and AI. The potential that these technologies offer is staggering, not to mention the improvement in the quality of life for users. For someone alive at this point to witness technology changing the world around us before our very eyes, it’s a unique feeling of both expectation and trepidation for what this new technology could offer to humanity.