Three weeks into Q4 and we are already thinking about tech in 2020. The buzzword phrase “digital transformation” doesn’t seem to be slowing down in use anytime soon, as more companies are investing in IT and data to transform their enterprise models.
But what exactly are CIOs and CTOs investing in right now? What do the experts have to say about the future of tech? In this article, we’ll dive deep into the disruption channels and the eight digital transformation trends shaping 2020.
No single tool exists today to replace humans. Hyperautomation is the next best thing to that, involving a combination of tech like robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent business management software (iBPM), and artificial intelligence to drive faster and more informed decision-making.
Gartner reveals that “hyper-automation often results in the creation of a digital twin of the organization,” enabling businesses to visualize how workflows, operations, and hard metrics interact to drive value. The “twin” then provides real-time, around-the-clock intelligence about the enterprise, influencing decisions and business opportunities from the C-suite. Expect to see more automation of enterprises as companies race to reduce costs to offset new tech adoptions and deliver better internal and customer-facing experiences.
2. Distributed and multi-cloud computing
Forrester revealed in a July 2018 survey that 86% of enterprises today run on multi-cloud environments. Not one cloud platform meets all enterprise workload requirements end-to-end, resulting in the need for different cloud platforms and settings. But managing multiple clouds is complicated, especially when it comes to moving application workloads between cloud environments. Hybrid cloud strategy, along with edge computing, will disrupt cloud strategy in the C-suite in 2020.
Enterprises more than ever need instant access to computing power to serve their customers, looking to edge computing to meet these new demands. Distributed cloud — or edge computing — refers to distributing public cloud services to locations outside of a cloud provider’s physical data centers. In a distributed cloud, the provider is still in control and oversees every part of cloud service architecture, not limited to shipping, operations, and governance.
With the distributed cloud, a data center can be located anywhere. This solves issues like latency and data sovereignty. It also offers the benefits of a public cloud service alongside the benefits of a private, local cloud.
3. Voice UI
Voice interface products are already making headlines in 2019. You are probably most familiar with voice assistant smart devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. These tech devices don’t require a traditional screen or keyboard to power its systems, something that is expected to explode in the next decade.
Voice controls are also expanding across other platforms, including PCs, tablets, connected TVs, cars, and wearables. Combined with smartphones and smart speakers, TechCrunch reports that the total number of voice assistant devices will reach 870 million in the U.S. by 2022 — that is a 95% increase from $450 million predictions for 2017. Juniper Research further reports that “voice-based ad revenue is projected to reach $19 billion by 2022.”
4. Decentralization of data and tech ethics
The last few years saw security breaches and privacy scandals rock the private and public sectors. Skewed elections, data leaks, and unauthorized surveillance are just a few examples of tech gone rogue. As consumers demand more privacy, lawmakers tighten their grip on tech regulation. In 2020, compliance and tech ethics will become more mainstream as decentralization grows and consumers push for more control over their data.
Regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is holding enterprises accountable around the world, forcing corporations to change their business models and adapt to new policy changes. We will see transparency and trust becoming woven in with a unique value proposition as the market grows more competitive. FinTech especially is set to evolve further thanks to the advent of crypto-friendly banks, blockchain, and open banking.
5. XR (Extended Reality)
According to Visual Capitalist, XR is projected to grow to a market size of over “$209 billion in the next four years.” The original forecast in 2018 was valued at $27 billion. That’s an 800% increase.
The amount of content for virtual reality has increased in every vertical, highlighting higher demand and more selling opportunity for businesses ready to take hold of this technological experience. More applications using XR will lead to lower costs in the market as competition grows. Based on a recent report from Accenture, we should anticipate to see an explosion of XR-influenced products and services beginning in 2020.
6. 5G data
Finally, real 5G is here. But not everyone can take advantage… yet.
While 5G mobile data networks became available for the first time in 2019, they were mostly still expensive and limited to functioning in confined areas or major cities. 2020 will bring the T-Mobile and Sprint merger into households everywhere, along with more affordable data plans for consumers and businesses.
Not just limited to cheaper plans, faster speeds, and wider coverage, potential health implications raise cause for concern on the legal level as 5G expands. Expect more talk about possible regulation for adjusting to heightened levels of cell phone radiation exposure, which has experts worrying about the exposure potentially “damaging DNA, causing oxidative damage that can cause premature aging; disrupting cell metabolism; and potentially lead to other diseases through the generation of stress proteins,” according to the Scientific American.
Aside from possible adverse health effects, a 5G mobile connection is going to provide faster downloads, uploads, and more stable connections. As a result of the higher speeds, customer expectations will continue to rise and businesses will have to adapt to meet new demands. TechRadar also reports that the newly increased bandwidth will power robots and autonomous vehicles to “collect and transfer data at faster speeds than before,” leading to advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI-powered machinery.
7. Practical blockchain
2019 was seen as a bust for blockchain, with many experts starting to give up on the idea that blockchain was going to expand as quickly or widely as originally thought. But according to IDC, blockchain will continue to advance toward 2020. Companies have spent over $1.5 billion on blockchain technology, with the number projected to grow to $11.7 billion by 2022.
Nearly every decentralized transactional process can become more efficient and transparent using blockchain ledgers. The ledger creates a safe and secure way for data transactions to exist without a centrally located guarantor or “middle man.” Currently making the most traction in the finance industry, Gartner predicts many uses cases for blockchain in 2020 and beyond, including gaming, retail, and healthcare.
Blockchain will continue to expand from of cryptocurrency and become part of the core business platform, enabling transactional transparency across a wide variety of business functions. More businesses will continue to operate and sell blockchain solutions in both the private and public sector, like Consensys. Blockchain-as-a-Service, hybrid blockchain, and tokenization are just some of the many areas that Hacker Noon predicts will explode in the next upcoming year.
8. Precision medicine
As personalization moves into the medical industry, medicine and how patients are treated will continue to change. “Precision medicine” refers to enabling doctors to prescribe medicines and provide treatments more precisely by using data to make more informed decisions. The result is a more tailored, accurate, and efficient way of treating patients.
Although not a new idea recent breakthroughs in genomics and AI will enable precision medicine to give greater insight into how different people’s bodies are better or worse equipped to fight disease. Medical professionals continue to push toward more cures for diseases like sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, and other genetic mutations. The global predictive genetic testing market size is anticipated to reach $8.5 billion by 2025, based on predictions by a recent report from Grand View Research.
In addition, the rise of AI, extended reality (XR), and advances in product design is expected to boom the medical device industry in the next decade. In fact, a new Market Research report says profit for medical device firms “will reach $543.9 billion by 2020.” That’s big money for the healthcare industry and will certainly influence the private sector, along with non-profits, military advancements, and B2B business. As a result, we will see more advancements in medical research, biotechnology, and patient treatment as the new year approaches.
Humanizing the technological experience
While 2020 is still a couple of months away, it’s not hard to see how technology will influence the next decade of innovation. Between conversational AI, voice tech, edge computing, and biological breakthroughs, 2020 is shaping up to be a big year for the tech industry.
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