10 years may seem like a long time, but it can feel like an entire lifetime in the world of technology.
When CNN ran an article predicting the biggest technology trends of 2010, the news service foresaw a year built on Blackberry’s emergence into the touch-screen mobile phone markets, users streaming their favourite series on their TVs, and the Microsoft Kinect sparking a gaming revolution.
While there’s a good chance that many younger readers will have no idea whatsoever about the market-leading Blackberrys of yesteryear, or the hotly anticipated arrival Kinect, it’s fair to say that these topics did spark excitement in consumers a decade ago.
However, technology moves fast, and many of CNN’s mentions have since fallen into obscurity. Despite this, 2020 feels like a true watershed year for the world of technology, and plenty of the releases we can expect to see in the coming months will stay with us throughout the decade in a way that 2010 couldn’t quite match up to.
For investors, the following perspective may present a great opportunity to invest in emerging businesses that are still at an early development stage, including remote AR and 5G.
So what is there to get excited for in the coming months? Here’s a shortlist of some of the biggest upcoming trends ahead for 2020:
5G accelerated change
It seems mind-boggling to think that in 2010 we were managing to get by on just 3G connectivity. Today, even 4G data can feel unbearably slow at times. Luckily, 2020 is expected to be the year that the fifth generation of mobile data arrives for consumers.
You may feel excited knowing that you’ll be able to browse your favourite news sites or social networks faster on your smartphones – multiple times faster in fact – but the wider implications of 5G should be the most noteworthy facet of the new technology.
Using 5G, the connection speeds of internet-enabled gadgets and tech can improve exponentially. This aids the rise of the Internet of Things as well as cutting edge tech like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.
5G can leverage truly immersive experiences within the realms of augmented reality and virtual reality, too – as shown in this still from an EE mobile phone network advert earlier in the year:
The above image demonstrates how augmented reality in the era of 5G can pave the way for users to superimpose entire renderings of football matches onto a real-life backdrop.
The rise of AI & AR
One of the key beneficiaries of the arrival of 5G will be artificial intelligence. Driven by the power of faster data, we can expect to see AI leverage the power of convenience via enhanced automation.
Hardware like AlterEgo is already being designed to act as a mind-reading wearable headset, while fast-food companies like Dominos are attempting to harness the potential of drones and robot delivery services for the not-too-distant future.
We can expect to see heavier AI-driven projects like self-driving cars and taxis to make some bold steps in 2020, too.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality is pretty much everywhere when it comes to entertainment and gaming – it doesn’t take too long before you pass a Pokemon Go gamer on the street.
In the meantime, AR is not only about entertainment and gaming. Companies like Mesmerise focus on crafting AR, VR & MR experiences for businesses (e.g. interactive content for publishers).
While we’ve been used to seeing steady improvements within cybersecurity for some time now, 2020 will be a pivotal year for technology to begin to effectively combat rising security threats online.
The continuing evolution of cybersecurity will carry on over the coming months in a bid to combat the increasingly aggressive measures at the disposal of hackers as they attempt to access their victims’ personal data.
Simplilearn points to some significant statistics that indicate 2020 will be a significant year for security online. In fact, the number of cybersecurity jobs is currently growing three times faster than any other field of tech profession.
2020 will bring an added emphasis on filling the rising number of cybersecurity vacancies as the industry continues to grow, and provided there’s enough of a market of professionals to fulfil the demand of this industry, there will be plenty of more ambitious developments geared towards keeping us safe over the next twelve months.
Trust in blockchain
Blockchain entered our collective consciousness alongside the rise of Bitcoin in 2017 and its practical applications have been hard to ignore ever since.
Acting as a form of distributed ledger, Blockchain is essentially a list of untamperable records that are chronologically ordered and cryptographically signed.
We’ve already discussed the importance of cybersecurity in 2020, and Blockchain’s ability to keep sensitive records secure means that the technology can provide users with an unparalleled level of privacy online.
Assets can seamlessly be traced back to their origin using Blockchain, which is a great tool for traditional assets, but Gartner foresees the technology having the ability to trace food-based illnesses back to the original supplier too. It can also act as an automatic middleman when multiple parties wish to strike a trade deal with each other without the need for a centralised authority.
The key and cutting-edge appeals of blockchain comes from its shared and distributed ledger, encryption capabilities, tokenisation and its distributed public consensus mechanism – which makes its records extremely difficult to hack into.
Today, there are fears that the powerful new technology is still too far into its infancy for practical usage on a broad scale, but 2020 looks set to be the year where we see Blockchain beginning to find practical applications away from the chaotic world of crypto-assets.
Practicality in cryptocurrencies
Speaking of crypto-assets, Facebook has had a torrid time in attempting to launch Libra, their revolutionary new foray into the cryptocurrency markets. With approximately one-quarter of the currency’s 29 founding members having already jumped ship – there’s diminishing hope of the cryptocurrency delivering on the promise it mustered up earlier in 2019.
However, the significance of Facebook’s sights being set on releasing a cryptocurrency has caused the market to wake up to new innovations as we move into the next decade of finance.
Libra is designed to act as a stablecoin. When you hear the name ‘Bitcoin’ the chances are that you’ll envision rollercoaster share prices punctuated by astronomical values and basement price drops. This, however, isn’t the case for a stablecoin. This is because stablecoins like Libra will be tied to real-world assets, like the US Dollar and gold, as a means of ensuring that its price stays – well – stable.
The problem with the cryptocurrencies of yesteryear is that their volatile prices means that there is very little practical use for the Bitcoin and Ethereum holders of this world. That’s where Facebook planned to step in with Libra.
The implications of Libra were exciting – and this can still be the case. Stablecoins can bring banking to the unbanked areas of Central Africa and Asia and can potentially pave the way to a universal currency to be used worldwide.
Libra will be one of many stablecoin cryptocurrencies to enter the market in 2020, and this newfound wave of technological stability could ultimately herald a newfound era of alternative finance. Only time will tell.
About the Author
Daglar Cizmeci is a serial Investor, Founder and CEO with over 20 years’ industry experience in aviation, logistics and finance. Graduated from Wharton School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Chairman at ACT Airlines, myTechnic and Mesmerise VR. CEO at Red Carpet Capital and Eastern Harmony. Co-Founder of Marsfields, ARQ and Repeat App.
Featured image: ©Ipopba