Here at Redcat Digital, we live and breathe technology. Our consultants are deeply embedded in the digital industries they serve and – except for helping clients and candidates find their best resourcing solution – there’s nothing we like more than finding out what’s now, new and next in the world of technology.
With that in mind, a previous post in this blog looked through some of the major developments of the last decade in terms of how we as consumers interact with technology, as well as the ways in which the market has changed. Companies that once led the field – typically companies that specialised in commercial hardware and software – have now fallen behind somewhat as the social media, e-commerce and consumer gadget giants have taken over.
Not only that, the pace of change means that national governments and the various international institutions the world over have struggled to keep up. Challenges around privacy, use of data and misinformation mean that many people now question whether the rise of technology superpowers is a good thing.
That being said, it’s unlikely that the constant march of technology business, driven both by enormous companies in Silicon Valley, to tiny startups from London to Bangalore, to everything in between, will slow any time soon. So it’s worth considering what the major changes will be in 2020, and what both consumers and businesses can expect to witness.
There is a caveat, though. For as long as people have been predicting what will happen next – in technology, science, politics, finance, sport or any other topic – there have also been people taking great joy in pointing out where those predictions have gone wrong. The errors seem particularly obvious in the world of science and technology – perhaps because of the unpredictable and technical nature of the discipline.
CNN points out, for instance, that experts had suggested a few years back that we should have landed on Pluto and robots would be doing our laundry by now – alongside predicting that we’d all be living to 150. CNN marks a few notable areas where experts have missed the mark – citing robotics, food and space travel as areas where technologists made particular gaffes in their predictions. But it is, of course, still worth taking an educated guess.
The big stuff
According to Inc, there are 25 big technology predictions we ought to look out for. Some of these predictions illustrate the way in which big changes in technology are causing big changes in the way our societies function. It’s especially notable that big tech companies have now abandoned their “move fast and break things” mantra as regulators and governments push back and demand greater protections.
There are various AI-related predictions that make Inc’s list that are worth mentioning. The publication suggests that the “voice assistant revolution” will make its way from the home into the car, for example. One prediction also suggests that neural interfaces will change the way we think and another – in a less positive prediction – argues that deep fakes will have an effect on elections in 2020.
On top of Inc’s technology predictions list, and certainly notable for the year, is the continuing evolution of privacy laws. Europe saw the GDPR come in in May 2018, and 2019 saw regulators start to enforce those laws, though many expect more against the big tech companies. Across the pond, the same revolution is happening: the California Consumer Privacy Act has come into force, and it is expected to have the same game-changing effects as the GDPR.
For consumers, the devices we use are still our primary and most important interaction with the world of technology, and technology companies. The smartphone is still dominant, of course, alongside tablets and even the relatively old-hat laptop. People are now fairly accustomed to smartwatches and many accept that internet-enabled intelligent cars are a major new frontier for consumer technology.
For technology publication ZDNet, some of the smaller, more granular-level gadgets are the ones that will be making waves in 2020 – particularly those that can make our busy lives easier. It points to a “tank” power bank that can charge several devices at once – including laptops – as well as high-quality, long-lasting over-ear headphones and even the Tile range, that helps keep track of your wallet and keys.
This is for those developments that will affect IT professionals. ITProPortal argues that there are five big changes coming your way, and it starts with a bubble-burster: ending the SD-WAN “hyperbole”. Taking a software-defined (SD) approach to the wide-area network (WAN), the publication says, does have some good applications – but most of the hype is just marketing. “With people misinformed and wasting thousands of pounds, it’s about time that the hype behind SD-WAN gets exposed so everyone can start making the right decisions,” ITProPortal says.
There will also be a shake-up in the cloud industry, it says, as companies come to realise that the way they have jumped into digital transformation projects may not have given them the best results. In particular, companies should take a step back and assess whether they should be with just one cloud provider, or if a mixture could provide the best results.
Plenty to think about, then. As ever, all we can rely on is that nothing will stay the same. 2020 will be an interesting year and hopefully a good one for the technology industry.