Mostly in the second half every year, research and publication giants in the technology world unveil a list of technology trends that will have a positive impact on businesses if incorporated. Enterprises must refer such listings to understand what does the future has in store for their business, investing in which technology or changing which strategy would be profitable.
Over the past few years, this list has become tedious, with the same ‘guests’ appearing in different orders. AI, IoT, Edge Computing, Cloud Computing, and many other such technologies have since long been buzzwords refusing to buzz off anytime soon. As we are nearing towards the end of another year, the list has been prepared. It will be interesting to see if we have some or many of the same ‘guests’ again, in perhaps good health and spirits? Or some new faces will be seen? Without further ado, let us introduce them:
1. Technology: AI (Artificial Intelligence)
This guest of ours is a veteran. It has captivated the human mind ever since its birth in the 1950s. Many other technologies in this list, and otherwise, are either its descendants or close kin. AI imparts human-like intelligence to machines.
Trend: There has been rapid adoption of AI into businesses in the recent years to not only improve customer experience but also enhance the business processes. The year 2020 will be no different and will, indeed, witness the proliferation of AI in the business landscape. There will be two parties:
On one side, there will be a large number of enterprises for whom developing their own AI system would be a costly endeavor. And so, AI would continue to be used as-a-service platform provided mainly by technology giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.
On the other side, there will be a growing pool of enterprises that will provide more customized AI services for specialized tasks.
Key Takeaway: For enterprises of all kinds, AI will start becoming indispensable, and saying no to it will be improbable.
2. Technology: Blockchain
Another veteran! Blockchain came with the assurance that it will protect our digital lives. And it has kept its promise thus far, although only for a few industries as of now.
Trend: Blockchain has a troubled past. It was written off by industry experts as over-rated and over-hyped. However, it has been under the patronage of names like IBM, FedEx, Mastercard, and Walmart. And in 2020, another prestigious name, known all over the world as Facebook, has declared to adopt it with its blockchain-based cryptocurrency called Libra.
Key Takeaway: The year 2020 will witness increased adoption of Blockchain by smaller companies.
3. Technology: Extended Reality (XR)
This clique of three technologies, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) are quite popular in the entertainment industry.
Trend: XR has remained confined to the entertainment industry over the years. 2020 will witness XR making its way in the business world as well. Leveraging VR and AR, enterprises will interact with their customers in exciting, engaging ways. VR, in particular, will be used extensively in workforce training through simulated environments.
Key Takeaway: XR will spread its expanse over the business world, where companies will gain competitive advantage incorporating XR into their affairs.
4. Technology: Quantum Computing
A technology shrouded in obscurity and uncertainty boasts of quantum supremacy that can outperform the best conventional computer.
Trend: Google and NASA have claimed to leverage Quantum Computing successfully into commercial applications, while Volkswagen has developed an application on a quantum computer that accurately predicts traffic volume, availability of mode of transport, and journey duration.
Key Takeaway: In 2020, we might witness some more technology giants adopting quantum computing, paving the way for further reception among smaller companies in the future.
The Advent of DARQ Age
The four technologies we have discussed so far combine to form the abbreviation DARQ—Distributed Ledger technology (Blockchain), AI, Extended Reality, and Quantum Computing. In combination, it will be a super-hot trend of 2020. Businesses in their process of hiring and training employees, and for customer acquisition and retention, will have DARQ going on in their minds and their board meetings.
Volkswagen, apart from utilizing Quantum Computing, is also fiddling with the other three technologies. It is utilizing distributed ledgers and AI to enable automatic payments and protect cars from unauthorized access, while it is using AR instructions for its service employees to enable the repairing of vehicles.
5. Technology: 5G
What logistics is for the military is the internet for modern-day businesses. Mobile internet connectivity, in its fifth generation, promises to give us unbelievable speed and stability.
Trend: Available first in 2019, 5G was not only quite expensive but also limited to certain major cities. The year 2020 will be the year of 5G as it is estimated to become more affordable and cover a more extensive space, which means 5G will be available to the populace. When everyone uses the mobile network, we will bid farewell to the wired networks.
Key Takeaway: Business processes will enhance not only due to the super speeds but also due to the stability in internet access from literally anywhere. Another major takeaway of this trend will be the rapid innovation in IoT (Internet of Things) devices due to increased bandwidths allowing machines and smart devices to transfer data more than ever.
6. Technology: Analytics
From the days of yore, people have held a prophesier in high regard. But a Nostradamus is born once in a thousand years. For our modern times, we have analytics tools that, based on processing raw data, predict the future to give actionable insights.
Trend: From the acquisition of Tableau by Salesforce to Microsoft’s prioritizing its Power Platform, implications are obvious—businesses all across the globe are investing in sophisticated analytics tools to identify imminent problems, grab rewarding opportunities, and devise viable solutions. The future lies in the real-time processing of data to obtain valuable and actionable insights for businesses to remain competitive.
Key Takeaway: Enterprises that will not invest in analytics in 2020 will not remain an enterprise by 2021.
7. Technology: Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Man is a lazy animal. And technologies like RPA do no good for him to resolve, instead, make him more sluggish. A scion of AI, RPA is all about making your business processes automated with robots to minimize human intervention to as little as possible.
Trend: RPA was just the beginning, today we are obsessed with hyper-automation, i.e., combining several tools and software packages along with applying several machine learning algorithms to replicate a human being and their activities for a particular task.
The cashier-less Amazon Go stores in the US were successful, and about 3000 more will be opened by 2021, as per a CNBC report.
Key Takeaway: In 2020, companies will heavily procure RPA solutions from the likes of Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and UiPath to automate mundane business processes and utilize the cognitive faculties of its workforce for higher tasks.
A Bonus Trend – Workforce Training
The world of technology will never be dormant, and new, improved technologies and tools will be developed at a rapid pace. Companies procuring cutting-edge software would also require expertise to use that software tool. Apart from hiring resources from outside, a great way to ensure knowledge at your company’s disposal would be to train your employees in emerging technologies. This trend will gain significant momentum in 2020.
If technologies like AR, VR, IoT, AI, and Blockchain are to be an integral part of your business, then your workforce must have at least a basic understanding of how these technologies work.
Industry 4.0, which is the 4th edition of the Industrial Revolution, is quite steadily transforming our socio-economic terrain. Technologies are evolving at a rapid pace to disrupt industries all over the world. Today’s buzzword may become a cliché tomorrow, and yesterday’s cutting-edge software may become obsolete today. Drifting on such an ephemeral tide, businesses must understand the trends that will influence future events continually. The 7+1 trends that we have discussed will help you to be prepared and make informed decisions for the future. Always remember, in a competitive market, informed decision-making will only keep you afloat and help you to overcome the fear of failure that lurks continuously, like the sword of Damocles!