By Lauren Klug, Account Executive, PR (Earned) – RPG San Francisco

With a few major technology events and tradeshows (or lack thereof) behind us in the first quarter of 2020, the start of this year has already witnessed several trends that are outshining in the field and show tremendous promise in the near future. Below, we take a look at some of these trends businesses and consumers are adopting, and where we think they are headed in 2020.

  1. Quicker, Faster Robots

From helping bring you toilet paper to providing emotional support, robots that assist with simplifying and automating a variety of mundane tasks will begin to make an actual impact in the tech industry and will soon have a larger presence in society. With the steady growth of demand and development for robotics, we will see a widespread use of platforms and chips that will enhance the most common robotics design, construction, operation and functions.

Deep learning is a sub-set of machine learning, which is a sub-set of artificial intelligence (AI) that is achieved to perform tasks related to AI. This technology is achieved with software, such as computer vision, voice recognition, speech synthesis, machine translation, game playing, drug discovery, and robotics. Deep learning chips are specialized Silicon chips, which incorporate AI and machine learning technology.

  1. Automation of Everything: Smart Cities and Smart Homes

Automation is aimed to augment people and propel standard processes and operations. It combines both software and hardware integrated with automation tools to deliver optimal results. In the next couple of years, automation of data science will empower scientists to churn out advanced analysis and bolster efficiency in businesses.

We are already seeing automation in cashier-less AMAZON Go stores across the US, and according to CNBC, there will be 3,000 AMAZON GO stores by 2021. To compete with cashier-less stores, businesses in retail will need more sophisticated automation. According to a PWC report, automation will go through three waves of automation:

  • Algorithmic displacing around 3% to 30% of jobs from the early 2020s to mid-2020s.
  • Augmentation increasing these percentages higher as technology improves itself.
  • Autonomy wave that is predicted to surface in the mid-2030s.

Chipsets will allow smart devices to develop “contextual awareness,” allowing them to recognize cues such as shattered glass that could be associated with a burglary. AI chipsets will allow for smart homes to truly learn about their owners or occupants, eventually anticipating their needs. Developments in robotics will create machines that offer a helping hand with cleaning, cooking and more. New sensors will keep tabs on well-being.

  1. Human Augmentation

Human enhancement can be defined as a process by which a person’s physical and cognitive ability is strengthened. Once this technology is implanted in a human being, it will enable the person to execute tasks that were earlier difficult or impossible. Cases of human augmentation in soldiers is a highly anticipated trend and is already being developed silently by the armed forces of many countries, as per reports. The augmentation technology will not only enhance the physical endurance of a person but also amplify their ability to think and decide better. Hence, we can say that human augmentation does hold substantial potential in the future of technology.

Physical augmentation falls into four main categories: Sensory augmentation (hearing, vision, perception), appendage and biological function augmentation (exoskeletons, prosthetics), brain augmentation (implants) and genetic augmentation (somatic gene and cell therapy).

For instance, miners now can use wearables to enhance their safety, such as robotic exoskeleton that allows the average person to lift or manipulate heavy loads in excess of 100 pounds, all while using natural body movements, reported ZDNet. The industrial exoskeleton will help boost productivity, while reducing injuries. Additionally, AI-powered prosthetic hands will work with an amputee's brain waves and muscle signals to intuit movements they want to make.

Technology Trends and Predictions for 2020

  1. AI-Driven Personalization

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to be predominant in 2020, experts say. In particular, the industry is looking forward to more expansive use in cybersecurity, collaboration technology and telepresence, and production quality. A recent Computerworld poll on technology trends for 2020 found 43.9 percent of people are most looking forward to AI-enhanced cybersecurity. It’s no wonder, considering increases in the number of cybersecurity incidents. In 2019, at least 5.3 billion records, including credit card numbers, home addresses and phone numbers, were exposed through data breaches. Organizations need help identifying threats and preventing breaches, and given the shortage of cybersecurity professionals, AI can help them bridge that skills gap.

Look for AI and ML to be used to detect threats and other potentially malicious attacks and for AI to be used with multi-factor authentication (MFA) to provide access to users. ML is also effective for learning/analyzing mobile endpoints. Using AI and ML in enhanced meeting/collaboration management allows you to calculate floor space needed for meetings.

Advances in AI and CGI have allowed for digital human avatars to become increasingly lifelike. Films like Star Wars have resurrected dead actors using CGI, and AI-generated Instagram influencers are also a thing.

  1. Industrial IoT

Expect the internet of things (IoT) and industrial internet of things (IIoT) to grow in 2020. Taking it a step further, companies like Semtech are creating a powerful combination of GNSS, Wi-Fi, and LPWAN to provide geolocation and device management services for monitoring IoT-powered systems.

AI chipsets will benefit by improved sensor-input based decisions. This will be a boon for industry verticals that will come to rely upon unmanned aerial vehicle such as those used in the field of agriculture, where decisions such as spraying crops for thirty more minutes may make the difference between acceptable yields or annual losses.

  1. Automotive Software

Self-driving cars have entered the market, but soon, we will see that expand further into commercial areas. Traffic signals that communicate with vehicles and vehicles that not only communicate with each other but to “everything” around them. This could alleviate traffic congestion and minimize the possibility of an accident, ultimately eliminating “rubber-necking” making it soon a thing of the past, if your vehicle is being signaled to keep it moving.

We all have heard about companies like Tesla, Alphabet, and Waymo, and the one thing that is common among them is their aim, which is to craft impeccable autonomous vehicles. The idea of a driverless car in itself generates a considerable amount of excitement. Functions like automated braking, lane-changing and automation of the other in-car systems are on its way to being streamlined with the guidance of data capture and analytics.

Semiconductors have enabled most of the recent innovations in automotive technology, including vision-based, enhanced graphics processing units (GPUs) and application processors, sensors, and DRAM and NAND flash. As cars become even more complex, demand for automotive semiconductors will continue to rise steadily and provide a major new long-term growth engine.

  1. 5G Is Here, but Will Be Meaningful to the Future

Rolling out 5G, will expand beyond just AI on edge devices for machine vision and machine learning, as a myriad of IoT device technologies can all be integrated via 5G connectivity to enable safer, more efficient smart transportation services.

Right now, 5G is trickling out in a handful of cities across the United States, but that trickle will turn into a stream by the end of 2020, as many of the largest network providers have concrete plans to expand their 5G networks. 5G promises speeds that are five times faster than peak-performance 4G capabilities, allowing users to download movies in five seconds. This lightning-fast connection could revolutionize mobile communication.

About the Author

Lauren Klug

Lauren Klug is an Account Executive at RPG San Francisco and has extensive experience working with high-profile campaigns for both individual personalities and brands within the technology, entertainment and lifestyle industries. Lauren holds a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from California State University-Long Beach.