This is a follow-on to ‘Your ultimate technology guide to watch in 2019’. If you’ve not read that, we suggest you read it too.
Businesses all across Australia are benefiting from increased digitisation in the workplace. Technology is quickly changing the way we work, increasing productivity, saving costs, boosting efficiency and creating a more mobile and agile workforce. Digitisation is also developing a more flexible way to work where adaptability and diversification are key to future success.
Such benefits also come with many challenges. Many organisations are now actively assisting employees to carefully manage increased communication and collaboration to avoid burn-out. Meanwhile, organisations also need to keep up with security, as well as the latest trends in technology that are relevant to their business.
Why keep up with technology trends in 2020?
Research has shown 37% of job candidates would accept a lower salary for access to appealing technology at work. In fact, many Australians are now looking for jobs where technology supports work-life balance, giving them the ability to ditch the commute and work flexible hours of choice. Indeed, the mobile population in organisations is dramatically increasing and businesses are expected to keep up with the tech to support this trend.
Top tech trends in 2020
There are some tech trends that sizzle hard then quickly burn out. Then there are those that gain traction and begin their journey into the mainstream. Let's talk about the ones to watch in 2020.
New trends in AI
Gartner foretells that AI will create more jobs than it eliminates in 2020. Svetlana Sicular, Research Vice President at Gartner, says that the dire warnings over AI and job losses tend to overshadow the "combination of human and artificial intelligence" and this is where the real benefits of AI reside.
Sicular goes on to say, "Many significant innovations in the past have been associated with a transition period of temporary job loss, followed by recovery, then business transformation and AI will likely follow this route."
So in a post-AI world, businesses are no longer wondering “if” they will adopt AI, but how can they do so responsibly. An empowered, capable, prepared and well-trained workforce is key to the successful adoption of AI and its consequences, including boosting economic growth.
In 2020, as we observe automation becoming business-as-usual, we'll see how it plays into many business's digital initiatives and how humans who work alongside machines will transform the workplace for the better.
As automation spreads further through organisations, leaders from all levels (C-suite to the frontline) will need to redefine workplace processes to take advantage of opportunities extending far beyond simply cost cutting. In fact, Mckinsey notes that successful automation “will become an important competitive differentiator” for companies into the future.
Internet of Things (IoT) becoming smarter and faster
Every second of the day, another 127 devices are connected to the internet. Gartner anticipates that 20.4 billion connected 'things' will globally be in use in 2020. This is what we call the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT is a network of objects including mobile devices, computers, appliances, vehicles and others, which are connected to the internet and can exchange data without the need for human interaction. Think about smart fridges that order your groceries for you, or your forgotten garage door putting itself down when it knows you've left the house.
As technology evolves and improves and the internet becomes faster, so do the ‘things’. Increases in processing power and the speed at which data can be relayed mean the market is becoming exponentially larger. And with more connected 'things' comes the inevitable increase in cybercrime that targets IoT devices. Malware designed to infiltrate connected devices has been around for a few years but as more things are connected, we’ll see an increase in these sorts of attacks. Making sure that IoT devices are properly protected is going to be vital into 2020.
In 2020, 5G will continue to roll out across Australia. It promises faster network speeds (capable of download speeds as fast as 20Gbps), lower latency, more simultaneous connections and the fuel to grow the IoT.
All this speed means that data is moving to and from devices in vast quantities while users will be connecting evermore devices. The emergence of 5G is also opening the door for an increase in data privacy and security concerns as more devices join the IoT.
Aside from fuelling IoT growth, 5G will also boost reliance on cloud storage in 2020 and give cyberattackers more opportunity to hack information.
3D Printing or additive manufacturing is now well and truly making its mark on the world. The Wohlers Report forecasts the industry will grow to $35.6 billion by 2024, perhaps due to an inflexion point brought on by companies increasingly using the technology for rapid prototyping.
There is particular growth in fields like manufacturing where 3D printing offers a vastly reduced time-to-market by significantly speeding up and reducing the cost of the prototyping and iteration process. Coupled with the advent and increased availability of accurate and lower cost 3D scanning options, the ability to replicate parts is now more accessible and achievable, driving the demand for 3D printing.
Additionally, an increased focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in education has seen a rapid take-up of 3D printing devices within educational institutions. Undoubtedly, this will continue as device and consumable prices drop further and the user experience is further simplified, availing itself to adoption by a non-specialist user-base.
Collaboration and productivity growth
Workplace behaviours are shifting and the tools required are advancing too. Workers are moving towards collaborative work management platforms and instant-messaging tools in order to work from anywhere at any time. Not only is this changing the way we work, but it's also improving it, with Mckinsey research determining that process and networking tools improve productivity 20 to 30 per cent. The ability to use these sorts of collaboration tools will become increasingly important in 2020 and beyond.
Advances in technology can be disrupting but also beneficial to a business. It's essential that your business stays in touch with the latest technology trends for 2020 - and prepares your workforce for what’s coming.
To learn more on how to prepare your IT department to support the future office, download the Workplaces of the Future eBook.
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