We take a look at the tech landscape of 2020 and beyond to highlight the most promising trends in the IT industry.
While we are yet to place our preorders for those cool hoverboards that Mr. Spielberg optimistically placed in the context of the then distant year 2020, the technologies of today are definitely impressive. No matter if you are on the demand or supply side, it’s important to understand what is going to drive the industry and global businesses in the near future and the long run. In this article, we take a look at the newest trends in technology that will be on everybody’s radar in 2020 and beyond.
Our selection was based on a few simple criteria:
- A technology must be disruptive enough to have left the conceptual stage and gained some market traction
- A technology must have been growing steadily over some time and have the potential to become one of the top tech trends over the next several years
- A technology must be people-centric and offer considerable value for users
Below is our vision of the most important emerging technologies in software engineering that will (hopefully) soon change IT as we know it.
5G & Connectivity
The advent of widely accessible 5G networks will be a quantum leap for a great many technologies and usage scenarios relying on ultra-fast, low-latency internet connectivity. Major communication service providers (CSP’s) around the world have long declared their commitment to a 5G future. However, the industry is still waiting for the certification of a multitude of protocols and various types of base equipment — something that will not happen tomorrow, but will rather take place gradually over the course of several years.
Source: Digital Trends
When 5G finally arrives, it will breathe new life into a good number of innovative areas that are currently bottlenecked by the restrictions of the present generation of communication equipment and standards:
- Immersive AR/VR experiences
The increased bandwidth and reduced latency of 5G networks will facilitate the streaming of digital assets and make AR/VR applications more responsive and interactive.
- Connected vehicles
5G networks can support an astonishing number of concurrently active units per square kilometer, making them a perfect infrastructure for fleets of self-driving, connected cars.
- Smart venues and cities
Smart cities rely on huge arrays of sensors and IoT devices feeding large volumes of data to cloud backends and digital twin systems in real time. 5G will help increase the density of such devices and their capabilities.
- Video streaming
Bi-directional streaming of high-definition video appears to be one of the most obvious tasks for 5G networks. These streams can be used for calls, remote surveillance and detection, as well as video capture on the go.
- Wireless broadband
5G promises to deliver high-speed, affordable Internet access to the most remote areas with no need to invest in land infrastructure.
Digital twins are the foundation of an innovative approach to digital urban planning and large-scale R&D in general. Based on a combination of advanced 3D visualization tools, IoT, remote sensing, big data, and AR/VR technologies, digital twins make it possible to create identical digital copies of objects, venues, and even entire cities. Once set up, users can run various simulations to see how particular changes will affect the original in the physical world and make educated decisions at all levels.
Digital twins are gaining popularity as a relatively affordable, effective, and scalable simulation tool with a wide range of application scenarios.
As hardware components get faster and more energy-efficient, it enables manufacturers to shift the most time-critical computing tasks to terminal devices without having to overload communication lines and cloud resources. Connected devices now have the power to run fairly resource-intensive applications, including those for audio and image processing or even making AI-based decisions.
Edge computing provides several very important advantages to businesses:
- High speed, low latency — extremely fast calculations performed right next to where the data is collected
- Increased security — no need to constantly transmit data over a network, only meaningful results are sent back
- Versatility and scalability — edge devices can be easily reprogrammed to fulfill a different function and their number can be increased at a relatively low cost
- Reduced costs — edge computing enables companies to dramatically reduce the amount of redundant data transmitted over the network and stored in the cloud
Edge computing is extensively used for creating digital twins, building reliable and fail-safe monitoring systems, increasing the safety of autonomous vehicles, and much more. Further miniaturization of powerful SoC’s will help deliver even more computing power closer to users and data.
Voice assistants have been around for years and have proved to be extremely practical and useful for home, office, and, of course, in-car use. Cortana, Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa are the most notable players on this market, but there are multiple implementations of proprietary voice assistive technologies tailored for a particular purpose or area of application.
The rapid evolution of their algorithmic cores is making them smarter, faster, and more natural-sounding all the time. And it’s not just the voice recognition engines that are getting better — corresponding software platforms are also offering more and more integrations with third-party services, letting users do more with voice commands and queries.
The next evolutionary steps for voice-enabled solutions are likely to be hardware-accelerated recognition and shifting of dictionaries and voice analysis modules to devices for extra-fast and accurate processing, which is in line with the general trend of pushing business-critical calculations to the edge.
Mixed Reality (VR+AR)
AR and VR are among the top upcoming technologies that are conquering the B2B market. Major manufacturers of AR/VR equipment are teaming up with leading collaboration platforms or developing their own tools that help users work, learn, and receive professional training in the field.
AR and VR applications have proved to hold massive value for remote assistance and inspections, healthcare, industrial design, architecture, and many other industries and professional areas. Further progress in this area will depend primarily on the affordability of high-quality headsets and the improvement of their primary specs, such as the field of view and resolution.
Hyper Automation via AI/ML
In simple terms, hyper automation is the evolution of robotic process automation — something that many companies have been using for years now. RPA is all about making document exchange faster and minimizing processing delays with the help of bots and scripts that keep an eye on designated corporate document exchange flows. However, RPA is only good for fairly simple, routine operations with well-structured data.
Hyper automation aims to overcome this limitation of the traditional RPA by bringing in AI and ML. It will enable hyper-automated systems to cope with far more complex tasks without human involvement and make decisions based on knowledge and previous experience as opposed to rules.
Serverless Architecture & Cloud Migration
Serverless architecture is one of the top emerging technologies in software engineering. Made possible by such cloud technology leaders as Amazon and Microsoft, it enables developers to fully focus on their primary goal without having to worry about the server infrastructure, its configuration, provisioning, support, and maintenance. Applications based on a serverless architecture are fast, scalable, easy to deploy and redeploy, and often free from the common bottlenecks occurring in systems with conventional designs.
The emergence and wide proliferation of serverless application designs is a direct result of the global trend of migrating applications and data storage to the cloud and embracing a totally different approach to building distributed web apps. There is absolutely no doubt that cloud computing is our future, and so is everything associated with the cloud paradigm, including serverless architecture and infinitely scalable storage.
Thanks to the impressive diversity of cloud technologies and platforms, there is no reason to stick to a single one. Some cloud platforms offer better storage options while others excel at providing developers with state-of-the-art tools for advanced software development. Fortunately, there is a way to use multiple clouds at once and delegate different functions within an application to different cloud services.
Multi-cloud configurations provide access to a wider array of tools and services offered by various cloud providers, enable companies to avoid vendor lock-in, and make for substantial savings thanks to the optimized distribution of computational load and data streams across several cloud platforms. In the future, switching from cloud to cloud is likely to be controlled by intelligent AI-powered tools as opposed to hard-coded choices and rule-based policies used today.
As more and more data is moving from secure on-premise data centers to public clouds, the topic of security comes to the forefront. Hardware and software security will be playing an increasingly important role for small and large businesses entering the cloud domain. With hackers targeting both confidential enterprise data and platforms like Twitter, end-to-end security will be addressed with never-before-seen scrutiny and attention.
On the hardware level, an increasing number of global hardware component and system manufacturers are starting to address security on the lowest level — take Intel and its v-Pro technology as an example.
Progressive Web Applications
First, there were native applications. Then, there were cross-platform apps. The future of mobile development could be with PWA’s or Progressive Web Applications. These apps are built with the conventional HTML + CSS + JS stack, which means they are not run in the operating system, but rather opened by a browser on the user’s device.
PWA’s can be installed directly to any device bypassing official application stores, and support virtually all standard features found in the majority of apps today. They can be designed and built by developers with no knowledge of native mobile development, which is great for companies looking for a way to release a simple app, but hesitant to hire a mobile developer for this purpose.
The future trends in technology are very diverse, very intertwined, and very promising. The cloud will play an increasingly important role in the global accessibility of services and data, while the long-awaited availability of super-broadband 5G networks will open a new chapter in the history of IT and make the dreams of today a reality of tomorrow.
We at Intellias always keep an eye on trending tech to make sure our solutions are ready for the future and our clients have a clear technology strategy for years to come. For more information about our company and the services we provide, please feel free to contact our business development team.