Technology today has sipped into every aspect of life. Not only is it rapidly changing the world, but also advancing towards making it a better place to live in. Constant development in technology has paved way to expand our outlook, leading to some ground breaking, life changing innovations.
As we enter a new decade, the year 2020 promises to actualise more the the emerging technology that we have been introduced to in the last year or two. This is definitely the decade where big tech terms like cloud computing, nanotechnology, Fifth Generation (5G) communications, virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics will be fully actualized and deployed to totally transform different sectors and economies. In fact, Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami has promised that Nigeria will explore all these emerging technologies in quantifiable terms.
Illustrating the benefits of deployment of and access to 5G, Pantami said with 5G, which was test run in Nigeria towards the end of 2019 by MTN, Nigeria’s largest telecommunications service provider, virtual surgery is possible in Nigeria.
The last decade (2010-2020) saw efforts being made to deepen broadband penetration levels as we moved swiftly from 2G to 3G and the 4G. It is safe to call the last 10 years, the decade of the smartphone. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMS) focused on creating devices with imputed biometric recognition technologies, enhanced camera operations and several optimized features; making smartphones more indispensable in both our private and work lives. We also a large penetration of smart watches, mobile software applications and the rise of financial technology (fintechs). The first mobile banking app appeared in 2011 and today, we have digital banks that do not operate any other way but online. However, with all these, saw a rise in cybercrime activities globally.
The last decade also ushered in a new wave of social media frenzy. Although platforms such as Facebook and Twitter existed before 2010, they became much more than friendly chat platforms and began to create job opportunities with the creation of millions of social media businesses. Today, there are over 25 million business profiles using Instagram world wide, up from 15 million in 2017, and over 90 million small businesses on Facebook. In fact, a new job category of ‘Social Media Influencer’ has been created for people with millions of followers on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and these people get paid to promote or market product to the millions of eyeballs on their social media pages.
Now, to what we should expect to see in the new decade, according to global tech experts and enthusiasts.
- 5G: The fifth generation of cellular technology is expected to provide internet connections that are at least 40 times faster than 4G long term evolution (LTE). In this new decade, 5G is expected to improve the bandwidth, capacity and reliability of mobile broadband. By 2035, it is estimated that 5G will enable $2.3 trillion of global economic output.
- Artificial Intelligence: 2020 will see more creation of intelligent machines that work and act like humans. AI will be used in almost every business sector to reduce human intervention. It also has a major role to play in digital marketing and cyber security.
- Wireless power transfer: This is the transmission of electrical energy without using conducting wires as a medium. It uses electro magnetic induction. Over the years, this technology of wireless transmission has eliminated the use of cables and batteries, increasing the mobility, convenience and safety of an electronic device for all users. In 2020, we will see the use of more wireless chargers produced by companies like Google, Apple, Samsung and others, as research shows that wireless power transfer is expected to reach USD $16.3 billion by 2025, from USD 3.08 billion in 2017, with a 23.10 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).
- Augmented and Virtual Reality: Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced watching of reality created by the use of technology to add digital information to an image. Virtual reality is the use of computer technology to created a simulated environment. In the future AR can be used for transitioning from PC base to stand alone mobile VR devices, mapping of real world to enable persistent AR mirror walls, eye tracking and facial expressions built in for natural communication.
- Cloud Computing: This is the process of using remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data. the new decade will see everything as a service (Xaas), Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), Communication as a service (CaaS), and Network as a service (NaaS), added to its platform as a service (PaaS), Software as a service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Cloud computing will provide the digital infrastructure for smart cities.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA): This is the process for automating anything and everything in business operation with the help of robots to reduce human intervention. This is an evolving technology that is expected to be mainstream in 2020. It is estimated that this year, 40 percent of large enterprises would have deployed RPA software.
- Internet of Things (IoT): This is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human to human or human to computer interaction. IoT will be more beneficial to sectors such as health, with IoT devices and sensors collecting health data, health sensors for analytics, etc. The future of IoT has the potential to be limitless.
- Blockchain: 2020 will see more adoption of blockchain which is used to increase the transparency of cross border transactions, verify authenticity, securely track, validate and execute oil transactions and reduce settlement time. According to online reports, at least five countries will have a national crypto currency in 2020.
- Natural language processing and voice technology: NLP can understand the language, emotion and sentiment of what a person is writing or talking about. In this new decade, it will be used for email assistance (grammar or spell checks), AI chatbots sign language translators and predictive police work. NLP in healthcare and life sciences is projected to grow at a CAGR of 21.2 percent between 2018 and 2025.