Top Tech Trends and Insights in 2020

Interested in the latest technology and the top tech trends for 2020? Take a look at our shortlist of trends as well as helpful tech industry insights. 

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  • Technology budgets are going to increase by 2.1% annually in corporate and governmental sectors
  • Australian companies may not be the most technologically advanced in the world but our relatively conservative attitude towards technological growth means that we’re seen as safer and more mature
  • Businesses are feeling the pressure to grow technologically but have not got the workforce to match; employees need to be highly skilled and have transferable skills

Where is the future of technology really heading?

It’s funny: there are industry whisperings that tech innovation is no longer driving the excitement it once was, and instead people are spurning in tech in favour of a more simplistic way of life. Fears around security, privacy and even ethical issues – think social media ‘trolls’ and the blurred edge between freedom of speech versus bigotry- are all reasons behind this tech backlash. But in reality, tech is still dominating our day to day lives, even if consumption is passive: 52% of people say that technology is a big part of their everyday life- and the average person spends a whopping 6.4 hours a day online – whether it be gaming or on social media.

So rather than fearing, loathing or even rejecting technology, what tech pioneers and leading global companies need to do is focus on where the synergy lies between humans and technology.

Businesses were previously guided by global technological progression but today, the fast pace in which technology is growing means that companies are relying more and more on AI, removing a human element to any business. This leads to two problems: firstly, companies that remove customer and human experience from their objectives, which is turning people off, and secondly rendering company workforces redundant, as they’re not skilled enough (or at least, not up-skilling at a fast enough pace), to keep up with their company’s demands.

What does this tell us? Well, in this decade the success of a company is going to be in part dependent on companies’ abilities and willingness to put their people first, educating employees and remembering that human experience is the epicentre of what they’re doing.

Luckily for us here in Australia, we’re actually leaders in the pack when it comes to reaching that synergistic point between human experience and technological advancement: last year, nearly 50% of Australian companies submitted that they’d reached ‘digital maturity’ : meaning that they’ve either hit over 20% in terms of scale – or they’re running their digital business for profit.

Having said that, we’re considered one of the more ‘risk-averse’ countries in APAC: compared to our Southeast Asian and Chinese counterparts who excel in technological dynamism and consistent re-invention, Australian companies are a little more careful and focus more on human experience rather than accelerating their technological prowess. This removes us the global trend of employee shortage in the job market due to a lack of training or education in the technology sector.

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OK so enough of our insights into the current technological situation. Let’s look at what the emerging trends are for 2020/2021, and how they may impact your future in Australia.

Businesses Are Recognising the Need for Context Over AI – Sometimes 

AI has been the golden boy of technology for the last decade, allowing various technologies to perform without human guidance. Whilst its development was the pinnacle of technological success when it first came to market, AI has now developed well beyond the automation of simple tasks. As machine learning lacks the human experience required in more progressive functions, businesses will need to learn the role of context and how that can be integrated with AI in order to utilise AI successfully – otherwise AI is at risk of breaching ethical conduct at many companies.

‘Fake News’ Is Causing Us to Question the Credibility Of AI

We’ve already examined the slightly cautionary tale of AI. Machine learning that doesn’t apply human context or experience can be frustrating, inaccurate and biased- even illegal.

The term ‘Fake News’ was coined in recent years, and whilst sometimes the application of that phrase can be questionable it does mean that as data is used to evidence , such data will be open to more public scrutiny and will need to be made much more available and transparent for it to be trusted. 

The data science community is aware of big data shortfalls and is working hard on both ensuring data quality going forward, as well as making sure the practise of data auditing is commonplace

We Want More Transparency Around How Our Data Is Being Used.

The truth is we like customisation – but we’re sceptical of it. We’ve all experienced something like it- how did ‘they’ know to serve me a Ben & Jerry’s ad…just minutes after I’d been telling my friend I was craving some ice-cream? Lack of transparency around where big companies are getting this data from – or what they’re doing with our personal data, is causing the general public to want changes: we want more ownership of what’s ours – and our own personal data is just about the most valuable commodity companies have

Man with virtual reality headset

Consumers No Longer Want A Product- They Want an Experience

The average (American) household has 4.7 Apple products per household. And that’s not by accident. In a world where we want to be connected 100% of the time, the only way that’s really possible is to make sure we’re buying into the lifestyle one company is selling us – and committing to that. Think about it with Apple: when someone gets home, they remove their Apple AirPods which are connected to their iPhone, and switch on their Apple TV via their Apple iPad and passively consume Apple TV whilst playing on their Apple MacBook. See where we’re going here? Whether you realise it or not, you’re paying for the Apple experience because Apple are pioneers in creating a lifestyle, an experience you want to buy into – rather than just one product.

Part of the reason behind this is that technology is progressing at such a rapid rate that companies are even in competition with themselves to create the newest, shiniest new product on the market – leaving all big tech giants in a constant state of technological flux, and consumers wondering which products are worth buying – versus what’s worth waiting for. 

So the future of consumable technology may be very homogenous, but ultimately it’s the most powerful way to convert a customer – and make them a customer for life.

Tech Is Going ‘Green’

In 2020, global companies are going to be under increasing pressure to curb their carbon footprint and be more environmentally friendly. AI, IoT and big data will all be used to measure consumption and offer insights into what alternative options big companies have.

  • In Europe, businesses are already moving towards renewable electricity and running carbon-neutral business operations
  • Tech companies will see increase spending on ‘green’ start-ups or ‘scale ups’.
  • Telco’s are playing their part by making accessible more apps that allow customers to track their energy usage and offer advice on how to be more ‘green’
  • Moreover, people are becoming increasingly attuned to the cost attached to the latest smartphones and the impact they’re having on the climate: the precious metals used to make the phones are having a significant carbon footprint: the UN claims that 80% of a smartphone’s carbon footprint comes from the manufacturing. As the world becomes more climate-conscious, especially in light of some seriously devastating weather conditions in Australia alone, customers are more likely to move away from buying a brand-new gadget in 2020 and sticking with what they have- or at least a second-hand version of the latest model.
leaf in glass next to laptop

Streaming Giants Go Head to Head

What’s your streaming channel of choice? Netflix? Stan? Amazon Prime? Hulu? Disney+, AppleTV+…maybe a combination of several of them. In the last few years, we haven’t been able to escape it: Streaming networks have officially taken over from ‘traditional’ broadcast TV, where revenues are declining- rapidly and consistently. In fact, in 2020 Netflix led the Oscars, with 15 nominations for movies that were exclusively Netflix.

As a result of this, we’re having quite a lot of fun watching the battle of streaming giants step up, with increasingly big budgets for productions, big stars and some shows that have had us glued to our screens.

Connected Apps and Devices Will Become More Than Helpful…They Will Become Life-Saving

As tech continues to dominate more and more parts of our life, it makes sense that the next big trend will be monitoring our mental and physical wellbeing through internet-connected apps and devices. Whilst some of these may be as simple as tracking how many steps we’ve done per day or reminding us to sit up straight at our desk, some of these will be genuinely life-changing, if not lifesaving.

There are already internet devices in market that monitor blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and sleep apnea. In 2020, these devices will go beyond just monitoring and move towards actual auto-intervention: the first example is insulin pumps, where a commercial system has been developed to close the loop between reading blood sugar levels and delivering glucose to the body.

If there’s the potential to start developing internet technologies which actually help save lives, we’re all for it. 

Ok, so that’s our top tech trends for 2020 covered. And what a mind-blowing list, no wonder you’re keen to be a part of it. But bear in mind too that there are some legal changes happening in Australia that may be impactful for you as an International Student looking to advance your career in the tech industry. The Australian Government announced in 2019 that only migrants working in tech would be eligible for Permanent Residency Visa within seven specific fields, under the Global Talent Independent Program (GTIP):

  • Agricultural Technology
  • Finance Tech
  • Medical Tech
  • Space and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Energy and Mining Technology
  • Cyber Security
  • Information and Communication Technology (data science, advanced digital and Quantum information)