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IT bloggers across the web are making predictions about what lies ahead for technology trends in 2021. So far, we’ve seen these topics popping up:
- Data analytics
- AI and machine learning
But wait a minute...haven’t we been hearing about these exact same predictions for years now? Yes, actually, we have. In fact, readers could be forgiven for seeing all these technologies as the digital equivalent of flying cars—bright, shiny high-tech dreams that seem to never quite come true.
In 2020, however, many of these predictions are likely to finally prove correct. That’s because the infrastructure is now finally in place for many of these technologies to start realizing their full potential.
5G is Really, Finally Here
For years, we’ve been hearing about the ability of 5G to enable benefits that extend well beyond faster mobile networks. Now, at last, 5G is ready to happen. Several Android phone makers already have 5G models, and huge investments are being made by the likes of AT&T, Nokia, Verizon, Huawei, Ericsson and Qualcomm. Along with faster broadband, we’ll also start seeing meaningful advances in the dozens of IoT innovations that been waiting for the power of 5G. Once 5G is widely available, scores of 5G-dependent devices and applications will immediately follow.
Clear the Way for WiFi 6
With the arrival of 5G, we can also look forward to the widespread adoption of WiFi 6. Although 5G and WiFi 6 are completely different technologies, they can be brought together to offer homes and businesses download speeds up to three times faster than the current standard. WiFi 6 will easily manage the ever-increasing device and data loads that are just too much for today’s networks to handle.
The Awesomeness of Analytics
As business heads into 2020, the time has finally come to accept that an investment in data analytics is an absolute must. Huge amounts of customer data are available to collect and convert into usable intelligence. Businesspeople who forgo the power of big data are simply handing that advantage to their competitors. Major players like Microsoft and Salesforce recognize the power of analytics, and have either launched or acquired their own platforms to make analytics accessible to businesses of all sizes.
Where AI and Machine Learning Come In
Part of the delay in adopting data analytics stems from the scarcity of people with the skills to make sense of the numbers. With the increasing sophistication of AI and machine learning, those rare human skills aren’t nearly as important as they used to be. Today’s algorithms offer fast and highly precise data analysis, and cloud hosting allows for the easy scaling of those operations. It’s expected that the speed and accuracy of today’s cloud-based analytics will get even better in 2020.
Blockchain Becomes More Than a Buzzword
Most people understand that cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain, and that has hardly inspired trust in the technology. As Facebook struggles to launch its Libra payment platform, blockchain remains mired in controversy. But cryptocurrencies are only one of blockchain’s possibilities. Blockchain’s built-in security makes it ideal for applications in healthcare, food safety, intellectual property and asset management. Global players like IBM, Microsoft, Samsung and Alibaba are involved. And now that Amazon is offering managed blockchain as a service, it’s clear that blockchain is moving very quickly past its awkward adolescence.