As the tech landscape evolves at a rapid pace, we’re seeing an increasing number of innovations and changes to the way we do things, the quality control, the expectations for existing and new products, and the very types of technologies that are created.
What will technology look like in 2020? Here are six predictions for this year.
1. Privacy Will Be a Larger Concern
With new reports of data breaches and security violations every day, consumers are increasingly concerned about their privacy — or lack thereof — when using nearly any technological device. Forrester predicts that privacy class-action lawsuits will see an increase of 300% this year.
Because of this, companies that offer tech products or use consumer data will need to find new ways of earning, maintaining, and honoring their consumers’ trust. Forrester notes that companies such as Apple and Mozilla are offering tools to prevent their data from being collected. Moreover, governments are establishing measures for protecting consumers and their data, too.
For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which was enacted in 2018, went into effect this year. The CCPA secures the rights of California residents in terms of how businesses collect and share their data.
2. AI and Automation Will Increase
AI is fast becoming more accessible to businesses and people. Today, a range of platforms, organizations, and individuals use the technology in areas like automating QA testing and voice assistance tools. Not only are we seeing products that are powered by AI, but we’re also seeing it change business processes.
This isn’t just important for automating repetitive tasks. AI is also driving consumer engagement through the likes of chatbots, which can handle relatively simple consumer inquiries. But rather than replace human workers, we’ll see more hybrid positions in which humans work alongside AI throughout the year. For instance, in HR, AI might comb through resumes via an applicant tracking system (ATS) and flag viable candidates for an HR specialist to scrutinize more carefully.
3. There Will Be More Regulation and Governance Over Tech Platforms
In October of 2019, Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress about Facebook’s Libra currency. The Facebook CEO was grilled about issues such as free speech, the tech giant’s diversity and inclusion efforts, and more. It wasn’t the first time Zuckerberg appeared before Congress.
Increasingly, we’re seeing governments demonstrate a stronger commitment to overseeing tech companies and their activities, in terms of how they handle consumer data, as discussed above, how they operate, their commitment to compliance, and more. This governance is likely to grow in 2020 and in the coming years.
4. Tech Will Become Increasingly Specialized
As more innovations are introduced, tech professionals are carving out niches for themselves. For example, a software developer might specialize in blockchain or AI, while a QA tester might focus on security testing.
As new types of products hit the market and some areas of technology become increasingly segmented, we’re likely to see tech professionals honing specialties in terms of the tools they work with, industries they focus on, and more. This will provide new opportunities for both the professionals themselves, who can make themselves more marketable and employers looking to hone their products and services.
5. 5G Will Provide Opportunities
Lower latency, increased capacity, and greater speed mean that 5G will offer plenty of opportunities. Given the network’s ability to overhaul the very way data is received and processed, we’ll see a huge number of businesses leveraging the technology to introduce new, innovative products.
5G is available in some areas of certain countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Germany, and it will expand in the coming year. Already, we’re seeing 5G mobile devices with the ability to download content at seemingly impossible speeds hit the market.
6. Remote Work Will Become More Possible
Increasingly, we’re seeing changes in the way people work. Tools like Trello, Dropbox, Slack, Zoom, and Skype are making it possible for team members to communicate and collaborate remotely. A 2019 FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics Report found a 159% increase in remote work since 2005, with a 44% growth in the previous five years alone.
There will be even more opportunities for remote work and tools that make remote work possible. This benefits both employers and workers. Employers don’t need to devote as many resources, such as workstations, to accommodate employees, and employees enjoy greater flexibility, among other perks.
As we kick off what could be the most innovative decade yet, we’re likely to see even more inventions and technologies come to fruition, as well as find new applications and ways to improve existing ones. 2020 will be a year filled with both opportunities and challenges for businesses and consumers alike, from grappling with security concerns to finding new, flexible ways of doing our work.
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