7 Must-Know Tech Trends for 2020 and Beyond
Futurists say we're on the cusp of the Fourth
Industrial Revolution, a term coined by Klaus Schwab,
chairman of the World Economic Forum, in his 2016 book
of the same name. It's an era when fast-evolving tech is
transforming virtually every aspect of our lives, creating
massive disruption as well as opportunity — and businesses
are investing heavily to be on the front lines.
Far beyond the Computer Age, this new era is taking digital
into an exciting new future of possibilities, from smart robots
to autonomous air taxis, personalized medicine and more.
Think of how, just 10 years ago, using voice commands to
search for a movie to stream on Netflix or Amazon Prime
would have seemed positively Jetsons.
Now imagine what might come next. A look at emerging new
technologies can give us a preview of things to come, and
2020 looks to be a significant year in the evolution.
“The overall direction is called digital transformation, all of
these existing trends coming together and being properly
integrated because of cloud technology,” said Hally Gruber,
Technology Programs Developer at UCI. “Newer tech trends
like 5G networks, blockchain and Internet of Things are
becoming more sophisticated, and at the same time becoming
more widely integrated in the cloud, working together to do
things never before possible.”
Digital transformation has been anticipated for decades,
Gruber said. “But now it's all finally happening, and it's super
For those who have the right preparation and knowledge, it
can be a time of tremendous opportunity. With that in mind,
here are seven top tech trends of 2020 and beyond, in no
Arguably the most anticipated new trend, 5G data networks
promise lightning-fast Internet speed and massive bandwidth
from cellular networks, which will have far-reaching impact
for smart vehicles, delivery drones and much more. Simply
put, 5G networks allow exceedingly rapid communication
between devices, speeding the evolution of autonomous
commerce and travel. But most of us will covet 5G for
personal applications like easier streaming, higher quality
movies and music, as well as Internet that's faster than home wi-fi. Consumer 5G was rolled out in 2019 but looks to
become far more mainstream in 2020.
Most everyone has heard about blockchain, mostly as it
relates to Bitcoin cryptocurrency, but what is it really? Think of
it as sort of digital, public ledger that maintains a permanent,
definitive record of encrypted and validated transactions
across multiple computers. Data history is easily verifiable,
making it a promising nascent technology for many businesses.
Might not sound too exciting, but big players such as IBM,
Facebook and Mastercard are betting heavily on it. And if
Facebook's proposed Libra cryptocurrency sees light of day,
that could give blockchain a huge boost in 2020 and beyond.
Manufacturers have been working to perfect autonomous
vehicles for years, and although we can't expect to routinely
see self-driving sedans cruising the freeways any time soon,
2020 looks to be a big year for increased use of autonomous
trucking and shipping. The trend could extend to delivery
drones, air taxis, home appliances and smart robots, as well.
Amazon has been perfecting auto-delivery drones for years,
Uber is developing its Elevate air-taxi commuter drones, and
Tesla chief Elon Musk recently said that his company plans to
unveil a completely autonomous Tesla model sometime soon.
Artificial Intelligence services
AI and Machine Learning are among the most impactful
and transformative new technologies of the new era, and
businesses will increasingly turn to them to improve their own
operations, customer experience, and marketing endeavors
along the way. But adopting your own AI remains an unwieldy
and hugely expensive proposition, leading to the rise of AI
service providers. Currently the outsourcing is being taken
care of by tech giants such as Google and Amazon, but
experts predict exponential growth in smaller AI services that
can provide businesses with custom algorithms crafted for
“Digital transformation has been anticipated for decades.
But now it's all finally happening, and it's super exciting.” Hally Gruber,
Technology Programs Developer, UCI DCE
Rampant advanced in technology, especially in the form of
AI and genomics, are transforming how healthcare is being
delivered in myriad ways. Wearable devices that can track
and capture patient data are providing more precise diagnoses,
often leading to effective and targeted treatments before any
symptoms are experienced. Medicine will become far more
personalized, crafted according to a wealth of new data,
provided through genetic analysis and predictive AI algorithms
that will streamline healthcare and, ideally, lower the cost.
Training in healthcare analytics can be a golden ticket in this
Shopping without cards or cash
Someday soon, the humble ATM card might seem a quaint
anachronism, and cash a soiled relic of the past. After all,
people are accustomed to shopping on their mobile devices,
so paying for products in real life with virtual currency is a
logical next step. For now, tech trends like QR codes and
facial recognition payment are mostly confined to China, but
they're slowly migrating west. Look for Google Wallet and
Apple Pay to become more widely accepted in 2020 and
beyond, providing more convenience for consumers while
increasing concerns over identity protection, creating
potential opportunities for cybersecurity experts.
Might not be as sexy as, say, 5G or AI, but it can form a solid
foundation for a long career as a data analyst. Those armed
with a strong background in data science will be well-positioned
to capitalize on the rise of prescriptive analytics — the
logical extension of descriptive and predictive applications.
This tech trend takes all the data in question and delivers
solutions of how best to capitalize on the results of the first
two applications. Already becoming established in the healthcare
industry, many experts believe predictive analytics will
begin edging into other fields, as well.
Interested in launching a new career in the tech world? UCI
Division of Continuing Education offers a number of cutting-edge
technology certificate programs that can position you
for success in 2020 and well beyond.
To view all available technology certificates and specialized
studies programs, visit ce.uci.edu/tech.