The 2010s have been a tremendous decade for technology, with both consumers and businesses benefitting from a plethora of new products and services developed. For example. a decade ago, you couldn’t order a taxi from an app or pay for goods with the tap of a card. The 2012 launch of 4G, in particular, unlocked a slew of capabilities from mobile streaming to apps such as Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb.
Whilst some technologies haven’t lived up to expectations, others have dramatically changed the way we live and work. As we sit on the precipice of the fourth industrial revolution, Dynabook looks back at key developments from the previous decade and predicts some of the technologies set to dominate the next.
The foundations of this decade of ‘technology transformation’ have been improved mobility and enhanced connectivity. Rewind to just over a decade ago and only 17% of people owned a smartphone and Apple released its first iPad back in 2010. Now devices are increasingly thinner, lighter, more robust, with enhanced storage and longer battery lives, transforming how consumers connect to the internet, consume content and even work away from the office.
Advances in connectivity have also been critical to the development of new products and services. The launch of 4G and the emergence of cloud computing have transformed our ability to communicate and access information beyond recognition so that we know to live in a superfast, ‘always on’ era.
One technology that has not reached its promised potential is the Internet of Things (IoT). Though advances in the IoT have certainly started gaining traction over the last decade, predictions for the technology have fallen short. In 2011, Cisco predicted that there would be 50 billion connected devices in play by 2020. As we come towards the 2020 milestone, experts now suspect there will be closer to 20 billion connected devices by then.
2020 Will Be the Year for 5G
To date, much of the forecasts around 5G have been in relation to investment and launches. However, next year with several telco companies officially launching the technology and 5G-compatible phones coming into the mainstream, consumers will start to see 5G ‘in action’.
It won’t just mean a faster download of your favourite Netflix show, the shift from 4G to 5G will change just about everything. Telecom experts are going so far as to herald 5G’s arrival as the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, providing the catalyst for IoT adoption and multiple technologies such as cloud and edge computing, wearables, and 8K technology.
Wearables and Living on the Edge
“Thanks to mobile edge computing as a gateway and the advent of 5G, the wearable technology sector and in particular smart glasses will continue to reach even more sectors,” said Damian Jaume, President Dynabook Europe GmbH. “For example, decision-makers within the police, fire, and ambulance services are beginning to recognise how they can best use wearable devices to enhance mobile productivity, improve first-responder safety and patient care.”
While edge computing has gained significant traction in recent years, if 5G, IoT and wearables are to be adopted at the rate predicted, it will require ‘the edge’ to remain central to enterprise operations. The value of edge computing comes in its ability to provide secure and powerful computing at the periphery of the network, reducing operational strain and latency. In 2020 and beyond, mobile edge computing will act as the gateway for even more IoT solutions to be used across the professional world. In the same way that laptops and smartphones created a new environment for office workers, mobile edge computing will do the same.
8K Technology Will Move Up the Agenda
Another key technology predicted to benefit from the connectivity provided by 5G is 8K technology. While TV broadcast and photography are obvious applications in the consumer world, 8K will also dramatically impact other aspects of our lives, from advanced facial recognition and surveillance to remote medical diagnosis.
“In the last decade we have undoubtedly seen disarming technological advances and 5G will be the forerunner for the next wave of innovation,” says Jaume. “Although these advances will probably not materialize soon, we are sure that 2020 will be the beginning of a new technological era that will revolutionise not only the way we work but more generally every area of our lives.”