Technological advents are happening fast fueled by digital economy and our continued desire of better experience. In 2020, technology trends will come with both unfathomable innovation and intricate connectivity, from DARQ to intelligent edge we will witness a surge of immersive technologies for consumer and enterprise use. People and businesses that don’t stay cognizant of these technological advents take the risk of being abandoned. Understanding these key technological trends will enable people and organizations to plan and embrace new opportunities. In this article we will explore ten technological advents that will shape the industry.
One of the pivotal technologies that business must onboard in 2020 is “DARQ”, a short form for Distributed ledger technology, (for example, blockchain), Artificial intelligence (AI), Extended reality (counting virtual and augmented reality), and Quantum computing. Over the last few years, the technology nexus of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) has dominated many aspects of enterprise computing. Now, analyst at Accenture predicts that it is DARQ that will shape the industries particularly healthcare. According to Accenture Vision report, 89% of businesses are using at least one of the DARQ technologies:
- Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – In simple term, distributed ledger is a database that exists across several locations or among multiple participants. By contrast, many enterprises use centralized databases in a fixed location making to prone to single point of failure. With distributed ledger, databases are decentralized to eliminate the need for a central authority or intermediary to process, validate or authenticate transactions. The DLT is used by enterprises to process, validate or authenticate transactions or other types of data exchanges. Records are only stored in the ledger when consensus is reached by parties involved. All files in DLT database is timestamped and has unique cryptographic signature. Blockchain is just one type of distributed ledger for which entries in a shared database must be confirmed and encrypted. Essentially the backbone of blockchain and cryptocurrency, DLT allows consumers and businesses to control their data and conduct transactions in a manner that previously not possible.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) - From alexa to self-driving cars, AI is progressing rapidly. It makes it possible for machines to learn from observations and actions, adjust to new inputs and perform complex tasks. It has evolved from neural networks of 1970s to machine learning in 2010 to deep learning today. AI adds intelligence, helps in repetitive learning and discovery from data with incredible accuracy. In 2020, Businesses will increasingly use AI to improve customer experience and streamline business operations.
- Extended Reality (XR) – The XR is an umbrella term describing a set of technologies that includes Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) and everything in between. In 2020, we will observe a significant surge in immersive technologies for which XR is central. It will revolutionized the way we use mobile computing platform e.g. smart phone. 5G and edge cloud processing will fuel the use of wearable mobile XR devices.
- Quantum Computing (QC) - A traditional computer uses long strings of “bits,” which encode either a zero or a one. On the other hand, a quantum computer uses quantum bits, or Qubits that exists in superposition or in multiple states. For example, traditional computer process bits that exists in two states 1 and 0. In Qubit, it can be exists in multiple states as a 1, 0 or 1 and 0 at the same time which is known as “Superposition”. In simple terms Qubit is just a bit that has some amplitude for being 0 and some amplitude for being 1. Now, if you have thousand qubits and they interact (to form so called “entangled” state), the rules of quantum mechanics are unequivocal that you need an amplitude for every possible configuration of all thousand bits. That’s 2 to the power 1000 amplitudes. Quantum Computing takes advantage of this entanglement to encodes problem that exploit interdependence between qubits. Collectively, this phenomena of “Superposition” and “Entanglement” allows the possibility for very fast computing and the ability to do multitudes of calculations at once. It is expected that quantum computers potentially can be millions of times more powerful than today's supercomputers. The emergence of Quantum computing could help researchers to solve computational problems that were previously impossible. It is still fragile and expensive for most companies but new affordable systems are being developed allowing business the ability to access quantum systems over the cloud, making the technology more accessible. For example, Microsoft has announced a new service, christened Azure Quantum, integrates quantum programming tools the company released previously with its cloud service ( Wired, 2019). Google announced in last month that it has reached quantum supremacy milestone and will soon offer remote access to quantum hardware to select companies (Wired, 2019; NY-Times, 2019).
What it means for business? With more accessibility, business can take advantage of Quantum computers to transform industry value chains in many areas including chemistry, biology, healthcare, materials science, finance and artificial intelligence (AI).
5G for Businesses and Individuals
With many smart phone makers and telecommunications company lining up for faster mobile access services, 2020 will be 5G year. With increase penetration of ethernet technologies at the mobile backhaul, 5G should offer connections that are many times faster than LTE, with average download speeds of around 1GBps expected to be the norm. In addition to faster broadband speeds and more reliable mobile networks, the deployments of 5G will also accelerate the advancements in smart vehicle, smart manufacturing, smart city and scores of IoT enabled technologies that are hungry for 5G. Benefits of 5G will not be limited to phones, the technology will transform just about every industry that touches our daily lives. Many telecommunications company already started deployments of 5G in Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network providing high speed broadband connections and by 2020 5G FWA would be widespread and so do 5G mobile phone services.
Empowered by 5G and increase penetration of highspeed bandwidth capable ethernet technologies at the edge of network, Edge will soon become new frontier for plethora of services. Edge brings to fore to two distinct set of technologies one that is related to physical connectivity, so to speak, Edge of Network and the second is “Edge Computing” that enables faster processing of data and contents. Since latency and connectivity problems often interrupt rolling out applications and services that enhances user experience and faster communication, Edge will play a crucial role in 2020 and revolutionize many industries that touches our daily lives.
Figure 1. Layered concept of Edge depicting how it enables enhanced services for many industry applications.
While Edge of networks provides seamless connectivity to render end node for plethora of services, edge computing brings processing power, insights and contents to enable scores of applications such as Smart Health, Smart Retail, Smart Transportation, Smart GRID, Smart City and Smart industry just to name few among many others. It is expected that 1 Trillion sensors and 75 billion devices will be connected to provider network by 2025: some through radio frequency and others through intermediate gateways. Today 127 devices are connected to internet at every second and each autonomous vehicle rolling out of factory bringing with it over 200 sensors that will be connected through an onboard gateway to a cell tower.
Through this enormous interconnect we are bringing technology to solve world’s pressing problems from traffic engineering for congested cities to managing home appliance and securing our Homes. Possibilities are endless!
From cleaning to farming, innovation has enabled the creation smart machines to ease up the work of human counterparts. Use of these smart machines or Robots are no longer confined to traditional industry section like manufacturing. With an aim of achieving efficiency, it is becoming part of everyday business growth story with diverse range of applications across many industries such as banking, retail, logistics, agriculture, healthcare and so on. The smart robots are ready to revolutionize the world. According to “MarketsandMarkets” research, smart robotics market size will be USD 14.29 Billion by 2023 (MarketsandMarkets, 2019).
Additive Manufacturing is a process where a 3D printer creates three-dimensional objects by depositing materials layer by layer in accordance to the object’s 3D digital model. The term 3D printing often used as synonymous for additive manufacturing but later is more accurate than additive manufacturing and describes a professional technique of material removal.
3D Printing has potential to democratize the production of goods, from food to medical supplies, to great coral reefs. In near future, 3D Printers may become common at homes and businesses. As the technology becomes mainstream, it could help connect marginalized and difficult-to-reach populations with essential products. In addition, 3d Printing may transform may industries, e.g. medical, aerospace & defense, automotive, consumer goods and son on.
In medical field, 3d Printing has enabled customization, prototyping, manufacturing, and research in many areas: Surgical preparation, Prostheses, Dental, tissues and organs, pharmacology and manufacturing of medical tools and devices.
For aerospace and defense where highly complex parts are produced in low volumes, 3D printing is ideal. It can create light weight parts, enable material efficiency, parts reduction and aid in the maintenance and repair. In short, this emerging technology has the potential to revolutionize our industry, societies and transform the development sector.
- MarketsandMarkets, 2019. Smart Robots Market by Component (Hardware and Software), Industrial Application (Automotive, Electronics, and Food & Beverages), Personal Service Application, Professional Service Application, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2023. MarketsandMarkets Research Pvt Ltd.
- Wired, 2019. Microsoft Is Taking Quantum Computers to the Cloud. WIRED. Available online at https://www.wired.com/story/microsoft-taking-quantum-computers-cloud/##targetText=Microsoft's%20new%20service%2C%20christened%20Azure,previously%20with%20its%20cloud%20service.&targetText=The%20company's%20partners%20will%20run,Microsoft's%20cloud%20over%20the%20internet.
- NY-Times, 2019. Why Google’s Quantum Supremacy Milestone Matters: The company says its quantum computer can complete a calculation much faster than a supercomputer. What does that mean? The New York Times. Published in October 30, 2019. Available on line at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/30/opinion/google-quantum-computer-sycamore.html