1. The year that no one could have predicted. As we brought in a brand new decade there were many high hopes and a lot of anticipation as we waited with bated breath to see what the new generation of technology had in store for us. Yet, due to the global pandemic which no one could have predicted, a lot of key areas in technology have been forced to a standstill while others are thriving in areas that we didn’t think possible.

As we continue down the path of 2020 and into a brand new decade there are a lot of key areas where we expect to see growth and change. Here are some of our predictions for technology at the start of the decade.

AI to go from experimental to essential

Artificial intelligence has embedded itself into our daily lives. It’s no longer a prediction, but a given. As people become more and more aware of the power of AI, it will soon be an expected element in business software. The customer service sector has already harnessed the power of AI and we expect to see a lot more than chatbots and customer call centres in the near future. 

AI systems are quickly being developed with the capabilities to solve problems and create solutions rather than simply making predictions. Right now we are seeing some CRM platforms using AI to make predictions such as the likelihood of closing a deal as well as offering tasks in order to increase the chances of success. 

We expect to see a lot of development in out of the box applications that are equipped with AI. These apps will allow customers to enjoy a point and click experience rather than having to start from scratch. The use of AI is going to be a game-changer as it continues to enrich data, improve productivity and practically guarantee efficiency. 

The driving power behind 5G

If there was one thing that carried a buzz around it going into the new year it was the mainstream introduction of 5G. With super-fast connection speeds, affordable devices and an increase in capabilities the wait for the 5th generation of cellular network was a long one. But are things as far along as we think? So far, the limited access to 5G has been slow and underwhelming. Though devices with 5G capabilities are already on sale we don’t expect to experience much of a change in the coming months. 

It was expected that 2 thirds of companies would deploy 5G in 2020 and though numbers are much higher than initially anticipated as the workforce moves online there is still a lot left to be desired. With more businesses testing out 5G we believe that we have yet to crack the surface of this powerful new network. It’s expected that it will, in fact, take up to 5 years before it is fully deployed and as we are only in the 2nd year of this journey we are expecting a lot of new improvements that will shake the world of technology. As we continue to experience the power of 5G we expect to see more flexibility, capacity and reliability leading to opportunities that we could never have imagined previously.

Gesture Controls

Whether we talk to the device, touch the screen, or immerse ourselves in a completely different environment, gesture control and the physical movement will certainly become the way that we interact, explore, learn, create, and engage. As the world starts to look at touchless technology we believe that sensors will begin to play a key part in everyday life.

We expect to see a lot of advances in gesture technology of the coming year and are curious to see which route designers will take as they turn their creations touchless. With voice recognition causing issues due to different dialogues and accents, will we see an increase or decrease in the number of devices that are voice-controlled? Is our world going to turn contactless in more areas or are we stuck in an area or pandemic paranoia? Only time will tell.

Computer Vision

We’re expecting to see a huge increase in the number of computer vision projects. From the medical field to the factory floor, computer vision is proving to not only meet the standards to the human eye but overtake it in many different ways. We’re seeing computer vision identifying breast cancer, flagging flaws on the production line and, though it is typically used in the business world, it is slowly starting to leak into the consumer world as well. 

Even with the huge growth computer vision has seen these past few years we are expecting big things as technology starts to take a leading role in many occupations. Though the connection between artificial intelligence and computer vision is a very complex and delicate relationship we think that there will be more to come as rigorous research continues to push the limits of modern technology.

Saying hello to the digital workforce

With companies like Twitter and Facebook already taking steps to allow their employees to work from home even once the pandemic ends, the question needs to be asked, are we saying goodbye to traditional office space? With more and more companies seeing the benefits of a remote workforce we expect to see a lot of people moving their work lives into their homes.

As virtual teams and remote working become more common, the popularity of working from home is yet to be seen. Though many are enjoying the novelty of working from their front room, there are others who may be struggling to focus and concentrate while working from home. 

We are also expecting to see a large increase in the number of widely distributed teams. As businesses seek skills and talent from overseas. Over recent years there has been a steady increase in the number of remote positions offered to those working abroad. With ongoing or one time contracts offered to virtual assistants, businesses are seeking those who can tick all the boxes rather than those who are close by.

Next Level Video Conferencing

As the world continues to remain in lockdown there is no denying that business has become heavily reliant on video conferencing. As the reliance on video skyrockets, we are expecting to see a lot of movement in both the software and hardware that will accompany the different video conferencing platforms. 

Not only do we expect to see improvements in the software itself with better noise suppression, clearer presentation of content and better field support, but we also hope to see a positive effect on the way that we conduct our business meetings. With the simple, easy access that video conferencing offers we expect to see meetings become shorter, more interactive and more productive bringing the days of “this could have been an email” to an end.

We are also expecting to see huge strides in the area of telemedicine. With fewer people willing to make that necessary trip to the hospital we expect to see that accessibility and affordability of telemedicine improving greatly over the course of the year.

Bridging Virtual and Physical Reality

There have been huge strides in the area of virtual reality. Though many will associate it with the gaming industry, businesses are now honing in on the benefits that VR offers. As virtual showrooms, museum tours and hyper individualised experiences become the norm, we expect to see a lot of growth in the already impressive VR industry.

One area that we expect to see accelerated innovation with regards to virtual reality is the construction industry. Offering buyers and project managers the opportunity to see their designs come to life in a 3D viewing before building takes place will not only save money but also time. 

Data-driven decision making

The days are gone where data is simply used for analytical purposes. We are now seeing a growing trend where data is instead becoming a decision-making tool and accelerating functions within businesses. Rather than collecting dust in files, businesses are now seeing the potential of the data and using it as a way to guide their decisions.

The traditional route of meetings and conferences where individuals share ideas and opinions is slowly fading into the past. Now, data collected from past projects, deals, investments and customer feedback is allowing businesses to make intelligent discussions where they can nearly guarantee their success. Who better to tell you what the consumer needs and wants than the consumer themselves?

 Not only do we expect this trend of data decision making to continue to grow, but we also expect a healthy price tag to come with sales of data. With each successful project that is completed and each deal that is closed, we expect to see a new market of data sales. As more businesses are built and sold on, we expect the value of the business to be decided from the data collected as this is where the money truly lies.

Privacy Concerns 

As our use of artificial intelligence and technology increases, so do our privacy concerns. Though online security is more powerful than ever, there are still frequent high-security data breaches reported weekly. As ransomware incidents increase due to their monetary success and cybercrime remains as profitable as ever, we expect to see privacy concerns increase as we dive further down the technology rabbit hole.

Though there are plenty of firewalls and security programs available for our devices, more and more people are finding themselves, victims of cybercrime, through the simple act of phishing. So what can be done to protect our personal data as our lives continue to move onto the virtual world? With few answers available that can pacify the masses, we expect to see more concerns as more areas of our lives turn digital.

An increase of those who speak the language

There is no avoiding the digital revolution. Businesses will either need to adapt and pivot or risk being left behind. As technology becomes more complex and the engineers behind these creations more important, we expect to see a huge increase in positions for those who can ‘speak the language’. Though many of us enjoy a ‘point and click’ experience, those types of platforms are not easily made or managed. Businesses who wish to continue using technology, not just in their products but their own growth will need to know that their assets are being taken care of.

As the digital revolution continues, we expect to see a high jump in the number of high-level positions throughout companies that require their employees to understand not only how to use the technology but the intricate detail that allows it to tick. As 2020 starts a new decade we expect this decade to belong to the chief technician officers who will rise through the tiers of business at an accelerated rate.