What executives can learn from future technology
Future technology is rapidly changing the way we live and work, and IT professionals who keep abreast of these innovations will be rewarded. Here’s a look at 15 technologies that are going to have major impacts on how people work and live by 2020.
- AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in technology at the moment, with billions of dollars going into researching the area. By 2020, experts predict software infused with AI will be pervasive, but companies will need to differentiate their offerings to avoid customer confusion.
- AR: Augmented reality (AR) sees the digital and physical worlds collide. As it emerges from the shadow of its older sibling virtual reality (VR), spending on AR will accelerate in the coming years driven by healthcare delivery, product design and management-related use cases. Researchers predict that by 2020, spending on AR and VR combined will hit $143 billion.
- Smart glasses: Despite some high-profile failures in the smart glasses world, workplaces around the globe are already seeing these devices deployed to help improve safety and efficiency. As the technology advances to make smart glasses more reliable and increase both field-of-view and resolution, the market is set to be worth tens of billions of dollars by 2020. (Tractica)
- VR: Although AR is set to overtake VR, that doesn’t mean VR will disappear. As enterprises begin to work out how they can leverage VR technology, the market is set to grow to 15 times what it was in 2016. (SuperData)
- Smartphones: Over the course of the last decade, smartphones have become vital business tools, and in the coming years that’s only going to become more apparent. By 2020 smartphones will be nearly everywhere, with researchers predicting there will by then be 6.1 billion smartphone users on the planet. (Ericsson)
- Wearables: Although the wearable revolution — and smartwatches in particular — hasn’t exploded in the same way as smartphones, as technology evolves to make the devices smaller, more reliable and less reliant on a smartphone connection, this will become a major industry. As companies see new ways of using these devices for everything from corporate wellness programs to keeping in touch with remote employees, experts predict the market will grow to over 213 million devices by 2020, more than double the 100 million sold in 2015.
- Computers: Though smartphones have become the main computing devices for many, desktop PCs and laptops remain the main business tool for many workers. While PC manufacturers have struggled to adapt to the so-called post-PC era, they’re now showing signs of life with innovative and flexible designs, including convertibles offering customers the best of both worlds. By 2020, these new form factors will ensure the PC remains a vital business tool for years to come. (The Telegraph)
- Autonomous cars: By 2020, there will be 10 million cars on the road with self-driving features. As traditional car companies, as well as technology companies such as Tesla, rapidly increase their research and testing of this new technology, the rapid embrace of autonomous vehicles will lead to huge opportunities — but also greater risks — for a host of enterprises. (Business Insider)
- The IoT: Researchers predict that by 2020, IoT technology will be in 95 percent of electronics for new product designs. Having pretty much everything people use connected to the internet will offer huge benefits, but also poses huge security risks. (Forbes)
- Bots: Powered by AI, software assistants, or bots, are set to revolutionize not only consumer behavior, but also how companies work. Researchers estimate that by 2020, people will be having more conversations with bots than with their own spouses. Thanks to these virtual assistants, 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. (Computerworld)
- Blockchain: The rapid increase in the price of digital currency bitcoin in 2017 has led to an increased interest in the blockchain, the distributed ledger technology underpinning all cryptocurrencies. Mobile banking companies, traditional banks and other financial institutions are trying to figure out how to integrate this technology into their industry. By the end of 2020, experts say the banking industry will derive $1 billion in business value from blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. (Forbes)
- 5G: The next-generation of mobile connectivity hasn’t even been defined properly yet, but the voracious demand for data is such that by the time 2020 rolls around, users will already be seeing the first 5G networks up and running. The new standard will be faster and less energy-intensive than 4G, having the knock-on effect of improving the performance of everything from smartphones to smartwatches and smart home devices. (The Cheat Sheet)
- Algorithms: Unseen by almost everyone, algorithms already have an outsized impact on everyone’s working lives. They will increasingly use behavioral and psychological knowledge to help employees make appropriate decisions. By 2020, researchers predict at least 30 percent of Industry 4.0 projects will source their algorithms from leading algorithm marketplaces — a significant rise from less than five percent in 2016.
- Robots: Robots will proliferate by 2020, and one in 10 US households will own a consumer robot by 2020. In business, robots will also play a more important role, with a World Economic Forum report claiming robots will eliminate more than five million jobs by 2020. (CNBC and Bloomberg)
- Cognitive computing: The hype around cognitive computing has been around for many years, but with advances in areas such as speech recognition, sentiment analysis, face detection, risk assessment and fraud detection, people are beginning to see how important this technology will be. The global cognitive computing market is expected to reach $13.7 billion by 2020. (Allied Market Research)
As you can see, the world is changing fast. These future technology advances will change how people live and how enterprises operate.