Updated: Sep 9, 2020
It’s hard to imagine that 2020 is here… It seems like a few short years ago we were talking about 2010 and hype around cloud computing. Fast forward to today and it’s clear that we’re embarking on what might be the most technologically disruptive decades of our lifetime. It’s not only technology that’s changing, but it’s also the interaction between technology and humans. In this article, we will be looking at the top ten technology trends for 2020 and making some pretty bold predictions along the way.
#1 – 5G Networks and IoT Gear Up to Take Off
Get ready for the next evolution of the Internet. Fifth-generation wireless technologies also referred to as 5G networks, will completely change how we use the internet and enable the next generation of IT workloads in a technologically reliant society that hates to wait.
It has been referred to as the “cable killer” meaning that 5G technologies have the potential to reduce or eliminate the need for wireline services for basic broadband services. According to Huawei, 5G networks may “support 1,000-fold gains in capacity, connections for at least 100 billion devices and a 10 Gb/s individual user experience of extremely low latency and response times.”
Starting in 2020, 5G wireless networks will open up the possibilities for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies including smart cities and smart homes. In the next ten years, 5G will impact nearly all businesses and industries in the future from manufacturing and logistics to transportation, retail, energy and healthcare. Think autonomous vehicles, wearables, smart devices and more.
But to take these kinds of speeds, top 5G mobile carriers will need to invest heavily in building out their wireless networks consisting of fiber, hardware, data center locations, small cell, and traditional cell towers. How many additional cell towers will be needed in the United States for 5G networks? The answer is an additional 250,000 cell towers.
Where are we now with 5G? Most mobile carriers began rolling out 5G to select cities nearly two years ago. 5G has already started making appearances in cities around the U.S. this year with many more rollouts expected in 2020.
Here’s a list of cities where 5G mobile is available.
Prediction: We predict that 5G wireless will be fully built-out and adopted over the next 5-10 years. However, a lot more rollouts of 5G in major cities will happen by the end of 2020 by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. New generations of 5G enabled cell phones and tablets will also make their way on to shelves in a big way in the second half of the year.
Furthermore, just like what 4G LTE is to 5G – we will see the introduction of 6G wireless in 2030. Look out Gigabit per second (Gbps) Internet. Say hello to a Terabit per second (Tbps).
Who knows what applications we will have then? Will it be streaming holograms, fully autonomous automobiles and commercial vehicles, drone deliveries, human chip implants? In any case, 5G wireless will pave the way for some pretty outrageous technologies in the not so distant future.
#2 – Higher Levels of Autonomy for Autonomous Cars
Here’s a couple of quick questions for you…
How many autonomous miles has Tesla logged since introducing its autopilot software? According to Forbes Magazine, “Tesla’s total autonomous miles logged has grown exponentially from 0.1 billion in May 2016 to an estimated 1.88 billion as of October 2019.”
Which car manufacturer or technology company has the next highest number of autonomous miles logged? It’s Waymo, a division of Google Alphabet, with just over 1.3 million miles. Time to buy Tesla stock? They have the best data on autonomous driving.
Did you know that are several different levels of autonomous driving? The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) created a scale of 0 to 5 to address the different levels of autonomous driving with Level 0 being no automation and Level 5 being full automation. When you hear CEOs of car companies speak about their autonomous vehicles, they’re typically referencing Level 3 or Level 4. According to SAE, “Level 4 automation is a car that can drive itself almost all the time without any human input but might be programmed not to drive in unmapped areas or during severe weather. This is a car you could sleep in.”
Predictions: There’ve been a lot of bold predictions on autonomous vehicles over the years. Many of which have not come true and are still very far off in the future. In 2020, we predict that there will be a lot more developments and improvements to Level 4 autonomous vehicles and software. We may even see the introduction of Level 4 autonomous vehicles in the commercial applications on a regional basis.
However, we’re probably 5-10 years out where Level 4 and Level 5 are widely available among car manufacturers. This is due in part to major roadblocks for autonomous vehicles such as laws and regulations that will hamper the autonomous technologies and its progress.
#3 – The Edge Takes Shape
What’s with all of the hype around the edge? In today’s digital economy, it’s all about being first to market, making it easier and faster to transact business, and providing the ultimate experience for your customers. Edge computing is the technology that will help you get there.
For nearly all businesses, staying competitive and fighting delays that impact management, operations, and sales revenue is critical. Many CEOs and CIOs are focused on future-proofing their technology infrastructure by focusing on pushing IT applications and data closer to stakeholders – employees, partners and customers to improve efficiency and performance.
If Amazon AWS is investing in edge infrastructure, should you? In addition to aggressively building their own data center facilities, AWS is leasing colocation space from their data center partners like Equinix, Digital Realty and other colocation providers to more compute and storage closer to their customers’ customers.
Here’s a list of all of the Amazon AWS Regions, Availability Zones and Edge Locations. AWS has more than 199 Edge Locations compared to 22 Regions and 69 Availability Zones.
Prediction: In 2020, edge computing is fueled by the rapid evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G wireless networks. Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge Computing which incorporates modular data centers at the base of mobile carrier cell towers. In the future, the edge will power new distributed computing models, blockchain technologies and even autonomous vehicles and drones.
Regional cloud facilities and edge data centers will process data and send it back to central cloud facilities and data centers for additional processing and storage.
#4 – Democratization of Technology
What is the democratization of technology? Think about the word democracy. The term democratization of technology simply means giving people more access to technology. As technology becomes more accessible, it to more rapid developments and innovations.