Although it’s impossible to predict the future without PreCogs, it is possible to track trends. With 2019 coming to a close, it’s clear that a few emerging technologies are set to dominate the headlines in 2020. Right now, some of the world’s largest corporations and a host of promising startups are pouring billions of dollars into disrupting global industry with three specific innovations.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Technically, the notion of connecting machines wirelessly via small online-enabled sensors has been around for nearly a decade. According to Cisco, Internet of Things (IoT) first became solidified as a concept in 2008/2009. However, thanks to recent advancements, this technology is primed to experience a real breakthrough in 2020.
At present, there are more than 26 billion IoT devices in use, with a new 127 coming online every second. Thanks to companies like Amazon and Tesla, smart homes and smart cars have become commonplace. But next year, Walmart will roll out technology that uses cameras, artificial intelligence, and wireless sensors to check out customers.
In addition, Amazon will spend nearly half a billion dollars to bring IoT-powered convenience stores to America. Also, the e-commerce giant is looking to partner with Regal Cinemas and a host of sports stadiums to further the reach of its cashless retail technology.
As such, it’s possible that Generation Alpha will come of age without ever having traditional check out experiences.
Companies operating in a slew of other industries are doing amazing things with IoT technology. Waverly Labs has made a cloud-connected headset that performs two-way language translation in real-time. NXP Semiconductors is making vehicle area networking tech that will locate open parking garage spaces and pay the fee remotely. Even TV provider Comcast is getting in on the action next year by unveiling wearable health monitors.
It’s not hyperbole to say IoT tech will likely have a transformational effect on modern life next year.
In 2019, leading electric vehicle maker (EV) Tesla had several notable successes. The firm enjoyed record-setting sales in the third quarter, opened its third major production facility, and received more than 250,000 preorders for its first pickup truck. But in 2020, the automaker will need to perform at a higher level as new competition is rising.
Earlier this year, EV startup Rivian won two major awards at the International Auto Show for its all-electric trucks. Indeed, the company has received widespread praise for its 400-mile range R1T pickup and 750 horsepower R1U SUV. Next year, the public will get the chance to buy its highly regarded and regular looking vehicles.
Furthermore, major auto brands Audi, BMW, and Hyundai will bring stylish new EVs to the United States in 2020. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz is launching the first in a new line of electric SUVs to the domestic market next year. While most of those offerings are pricey luxury automobiles, Kia will introduce two budget EVs in the coming months.
With so many electric cars, trucks, and SUV options coming, technology looks to reach a tipping point next year.
Though transporting goods via remote or automated means has been the ambition of many companies for several years, drone delivery technology had a watershed year in 2019. In April, Alphabet subsidiary Wing became the first commercial enterprise to secure Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to deliver packages via drone. Six months later, the United Postal Service obtained permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a drone fleet.
As such, the path is now clear for other drone operators to attempt to launch their own delivery services. Also, retailers can actively pursue redesigning their logistics around the use of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs).
For instance, Nevada-based startup Flirtey will begin medication drone delivery operations in Reno next year. Notably, the firm has secured FAA approval to deploy beyond line of sight UAVs. As the company also provided food transportation services for Domino’s in New Zealand, it might try to strike an agreement with the company’s U.S. division. Indeed, the pizza franchise has already expressed interest in using autonomous vehicles to facilitate deliveries.
Furthermore, Amazon unveiled a new delivery UAV in July with the intent of finally launch Prime Air “within months.” Although that didn’t happen, the U.S.’s largest e-retailer still has airborne package transport on its roadmap. With the government relaxing drone delivery rules, expect the company’s’ aerial fleet to flight in 2020.
Technology continues to develop at a breakneck pace. Though these three trends will surely see further development and implementation in 2020, others are close on their heels. Next month’s CES 2020 will surely reveal even further trends to come in technology for the year to come.