Humans have accomplished so much in the past ten years, let alone the past hundred. One hundred years ago, it was 1920; a time known not just for its roaring fun and fancy free outlook, but also for many revolutionary developments in technology. In the 1920’s, there were many incredible inventions: the radio station, the lie detector, convertible car, self-winding watches, instant cameras, and traffic lights. The decade also saw the invention of many items we take for granted today: bread slicers, pressure washers, electric razors and garbage disposal.
All of these items, whether big or small, played a part in shaping the world and creating some of the largest industries that have lasted to this day. As the world prepares to welcome the year 2020, one can expect many further advances in technology and business.
As 2019 draws to a close, here is a recap of new inventions that we may be seeing more of in the coming years:
Whether sidewalks, driveways, or roads, expect where you walk and drive to be lined with solar panels. Not only will they collect and convert the power of the sun into power that we can use, they can also be programmed to show markings.
Portable Water Generators
These units are useful for those hiking in remote locations without access to power. They can also give countries and communities with no previous access to power a chance to obtain power and electronic devices.
On a small scale, drones can be used as flying transportation for small items such as mobile camera and video devices. On a grander scale, they can be used to provide services and transport humans. Robots can be advanced enough to serve burgers, construct and repair structures and items in environments unsafe for humans, and can even perform surgery. Autonomous cars are also a form of robotic technology that can be used to transport humans from point A to B with little to no human interference whatsoever.
All of these inventions inspire awe, but it is also important to consider how they will contribute to the evolution of technology and business in the year 2020. Here are 5 predicted outcomes for technology in the future:
It wouldn’t be too far fetched to predict that the smartphone might become obsolete within 3-5 years. With advances in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple are investing in high-tech “glasses”. The concept of holding a phone may become a fad of yesterday, and users may soon literally see a “vision” of the future using these glasses rather than a phone device.
While the technology is still in early stages (SmartLenses released the “Google Goggles” in 2010, and Apple filed a patent and predicted the launch of their own glasses in 2022), technology advances faster and faster with each year. Soon, it may become normal to take calls, view displays, experience holograms, and receive updates on the news, weather, traffic, email and other forms of direct communications, all from the level of your eyes.
The 5G phenomenon has been spreading throughout the USA, Europe and Canada, with the technology upgrading almost daily. 5G will truly change the way businesses operate on a worldwide levels: faster download speeds (from 1.5G to 100G download speed and 50G upload speed). Companies worldwide are racing to develop and distribute 5G and its many applications, from operating cars to communicative holograms the likes of which we have only seen before in science-fiction films such as Star Wars.
Robotic Process Animation (RPA)
We are used to the idea of artificial intelligence (AI) by now, and many companies and services already utilize ‘live chat’ functions on their websites. However, as AI improves over time, people using chat screens may receive answers to their questions from actual programs acting like humans. AI systems are improving in intelligence all the time, as programs become better able to sort and understand informational data by putting keywords together. Businesses can have more accurate information at hand, and can quickly generate reports, respond to questions from customers, process orders, track pricing, and much more.
Cyber Security and Resilience
Technology has two faces; as technology advances, hackers acquire more tools for locking down servers, phones, and other such illegal online activities. Security breaches, hacked and stolen information and ransomware may become more commonplace as technology continues to seep into every aspect of our lives. This will become a huge issue for businesses as well. Online security must improve in order to protect confidential records and peoples’ personal information, as well as to ensure the smooth continuing operation of daily services (hospitals, city halls, banks, public/government buildings, etc).
2019 may have been the year of the Bitcoin craze, but in 2020, many companies such as Facebook and Google will want their own way for customers to pay online. Handling transactions is the financial aspect of technological advancement that many companies are working towards. While Apple credit is well known, other options will become more popular, such as Nike Pay and the Spotify Citibank Card.
While many advances in technology seem glamorous and exciting, not all changes are for the greater good. Newspapers and magazines will continue ceasing to exist in 2020. Regulations must improve to protect privacy and use of information on Social Media, with YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook all working on improving the transparency of HOW information is being gathered, stored, and used. Education may become less “face to face”, with time in the classroom replaced with more and more online education as the new way of learning. While there are many advantages of digital communications, there are some in-class experiences that simply cannot be replicated in an online format.
With all the vast improvements to technology in such a short amount of time, small businesses must rush to adapt to these tools in order to utilize them for better efficiency and productivity. As production and operating costs increase, technology becomes more and more important as a tool for success. In order to keep up with the potential of tomorrow, businesses today must continue to use technology to create value for their customers, and challenge themselves to not only advance, but profit as well.