2020 Tech Predictions: Physical spaces, privacy laws and 5G


Rob Headshot

The past decade brought an incredible leap forward in technology: just 10 years ago, we were all celebrating the iPhone 3GS, with its “impressive” three megapixel camera.

Oh how the times have changed.

2020 – and the “roaring twenties” – will evolve technology to places that seemed like science fiction only a few short years ago.

A few trends to watch:

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality and virtual reality had a banner year in 2019. While entertainment is still the primary industry for VR and AR, there’s huge opportunity for these technologies across the board -- like enhancing the employee experience.

AR and VR can allow for greater collaboration in remote working environments (a work style that is becoming more and more the norm), and help those with disabilities participate on a level playing field.


Privacy and Security

The everyday consumer is becoming increasingly sophisticated about privacy concerns. While Europe and some U.S. states, like California, are passing new regulations to protect our data online, consumers are creating grassroots movements to force big tech companies to become more transparent with exactly what they know about us and how that information is being used.

Watch for a tidal wave of other states to follow California’s lead now that the California Consumer Privacy Act has become effective.


Physical Spaces

The biggest trend in emerging tech isn’t a new device – it’s the everyday stuff around you. The spaces around us are increasingly populated by sensors and devices that connect people to one another and to digital services.

In 2020, watch for physical things around you to have the ability perceive, interact, move, and manipulate the environment with various levels of autonomy. At the end of the decade, very few items around us will be “dumb.”


5G will set the agenda

5G, the fifth generation of cellular network technology, is as much as 100 times faster than the present 4G systems. That doesn’t just mean faster downloads and smoother streaming of your Netflix binges – it’s game changing for the enterprise. 5G will enable greater performance, connectivity, and efficiency that will empower new types of user experiences.

Look for 5G access to become a hot social issue as communities advocate for access to this utility. 


Rob Martens

Senior vice president and chief innovation and design officer (CIDO)