A century ago, business owners might have thought of technology merely as a tool. But it’s safe to say that no longer holds, as technology has evolved at an exponential rate, becoming a force that exerts profound influences on every aspect of the business. Knowing where technology is heading towards is therefore essential to predict the future of a business and determine the required changes for improvement.
In this article, we identified major tech trends that will significantly impact business in 2020.
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1. 5G Networks
5G is the fifth generation cellular network technology capable of delivering a smoother experience with more speed and reduced latency.
The positive changes that come with 5G are hard to overlook. The speed that 5G offers will enhance the efficiency of online tasks that might be otherwise interrupted by a slow internet connection. It can also bring a better experience of remote working and collaboration. A study suggests that 70% of people globally work remotely at least once a week. Working away from the main office requires a strong Internet connection, especially if you have to frequently download and upload large files. With the help of 5G, it’ll be easier for companies to achieve business agility as well as make connecting, sharing and engaging teams simpler.
According to Qualcomm, 5G will generate up to $3.5 trillion in revenue by 2035 and is expected to create up to 22 million jobs.
It is predicted that the race to implement and optimise 5G will intensify in the year 2020, with more and more telecommunications companies ambitiously planning to develop 5G technology to meet the surging 5G demand.
A blockchain is a list of records that are connected using cryptography. It allows decentralized ownership and enhanced the security of data. For a long time, blockchain has captured the attention of analysts and business executives alike, being considered a revolutionary technology that can completely change the way companies of all industries do business.
In 2019, Gartner analysts did research into the development of blockchain across different industries and presented the Hype Cycle for Blockchain, revealing that “the business impact of the blockchain will be transformational across most industries within five to 10 years.”
As can be seen from the Hype Cycle, blockchain as a technology has moved past the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Meanwhile, in the middle of the peak are use cases in industries such as supply chains and insurance and applications such as smart contracts. The key industries in which blockchain is expected to experience high levels of interest from innovators are banking and investment services industries, gaming and retail, according to Gartner.
McKinsey&Company put blockchain use cases into six categories separated by its two fundamental functions—record keeping and transacting.
In 2020, the most impactful blockchain uses in business will include the following:
Information security is critically important to businesses when signing contracts and performing transactions. Thanks to blockchain’s immutability and irreversibility, businesses can secure transactions and improve their efficiency, regardless of how many contracts and cross-border payments are being handled at any given time.
Securing digital assets
Blockchain enables business owners to impart sensitive data to nobody but a trusted circle while increasing the speed of processing claims, which is a highly desirable application of blockchain in businesses like banking or medical services.
Supply chain management
Blockchain allows multiple people to access the same database which will increase transparency in the supply chains. Blockchain ledgers are immutable and all the valid transactions are appended with a timestamp which can help in auditing and stop theft and counterfeits.
- The majority of enterprises are prioritizing their blockchain pilots that concentrate on supply chain improvements (53%) and the Internet of Things (51%) according to Deloitte’s latest blockchain survey.
- By 2023, blockchain will support the global movement and tracking of $2T of goods and services annually based on a recent Gartner report.
3. Prescriptive analytics
Prescriptive analytics is defined as a type of data analytics that uses technology to analyze raw data to help businesses make better decisions. Specifically, it “factors information about possible situations or scenarios, available resources, past performance, and current performance, and suggests a course of action or strategy” (Investopedia).
In the near future, prescriptive analytics will further assist the development of automated analytics in which the decision-making process is automated and human influence on the final outcome is excluded. Business can anticipate several implementations of advanced analytical tools. For example, with intelligent instruments, employees can detect trends and find solutions to never before seen problems without the requirement for data expertise. Those tools can also help entrepreneurs visualise data in the form of vivid graphs, diagrams and tables. Companies will also get to see the cause-effect relationship between data as the tools develop and become able to connect the dots between all the collected data.
Prescriptive analytics will become even more crucial to the development of business. According to Ventana Research Assertions, by 2021, 66% of analytics processes will no longer simply discover what happened and why; they will also prescribe what should be done.
4. Augmented and Virtual Reality
Research by International Data Corporation (IDC) into the flourishing field of augmented and virtual reality predicted that global revenues for AR/VR will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate of over 181%.
Both of these immersive advances will profoundly impact on a wide variety of ventures and will possibly change the manner in which companies operate, improve internal efficiency and lessen business operational expenses.
Future-oriented companies are increasingly seeking new and efficient ways to innovate and surpass their competitors at every product or service. To quicken this process, companies might want to become an early adopter of these new technologies.
A few of the many industry sectors that are taking advantage of these technologies and exploring all options are the transport, manufacturing, e-commerce and healthcare industry.
5. Digital ethics and privacy regulations
Digital ethics and privacy is a growing concern for both individuals and organizations. Following the notorious data breaches that happened over the past two years where hundreds of millions of user records were compromised, people have become increasingly concerned about the safety of their personal information. This suggests that companies should demonstrate their proactive efforts in curbing privacy issues if they wish to gain and maintain their customers’ trust. In fact, Gartner has identified Digital ethics and privacy as one of the top strategic technology trends in 2019, and it seems that this will continue to be the trend for years to come.
Another growing trend regarding corporate data privacy is that companies will strengthen their cloud security. This stems from organizations’ concern about data exposure as the cloud technologies are being employed more and more widely. In the next several years, solutions for cloud and hybrid environments will become a focus area of many organizations. Businesses might also choose to switch back to the private cloud from public cloud formats as a way to tighten cloud security. Also, small companies will step up their security measures by moving to enterprise cybersecurity, reducing the chance of cyber criminals sneaking into enterprise networks through small companies themselves and thus enhancing supply chain security.
Technological advancements have presented both opportunities and challenges to enterprises and if anything is certain, it’s that technology is here to stay. Any company that wants to survive and develop can never stand outside the ever-evolving trend of technology. Business developers should keep up with the latest trends, figure out the implications they have for their business and try to leverage them to enhance business performance.