2020 Technology Trends and Predictions

Here are my technology predictions for 2020. I try to predict technology trends that are outside the mainstream, and with high expectations. It seems to get harder every year.

Every year I score my own previous year’s predictions– see how I fared for digital predictions for 2019 and work backwards. Hopefully my technology predictions for 2020 will fare a little better!

1. Alerts from voice assistants

Alexa prank to set an alarm at 3am
Alexa practical jokes were invented in 2015

If 2018 was the year of mass adoption of Alexa and Google Home devices, 2019 was the year of releasing a lot more skills. At the end of 2019, the Google Home device in our kitchen started answers requests with more suggestions of other skills. Cross-selling perhaps.

But this is nothing compared to where these devices are heading. I predict that by the end of 2020 these devices will be making proactive recommendations to us.

“Rain is due today, take an umbrella.”

“You still have 30 unread emails, why not deal with some of them?”

“You ordered XYZ from Amazon recently, and it’s due to arrive today”.

2. Wearables beyond your wrist

In 2020 we’ll see many more wearable devices.

In 2019, several devices for pets became available, from activity trackers to GPS trackers to smart collars.

Next year we’ll start seeing many more devices, such as spectacles from Vue or ByNorth (my favourites). With the announcement of the iPhone 12, we’ll probably hear Apple launch a new type of wearable beyond the Apple Watch.

And remember the $2.1 billion Google acquisition of Fitbit? Expect to see a new type of wearable from Fitbit in 2020.

3. Real business models to return

The ripples from WeWork will continue through 2020, so we’ll see a return to investments requiring a profit.

Companies such as Peloton will be acquired by a profit-making company, probably a leading sports companies such as Nike or Specialized bicycles. Uber and Pinterest are still losing huge amounts of cash, so we’ll either see them become profitable next year, or be acquired by companies that are.

4. Working at home

We’ll see even more home workout devices appear in 2020. At the moment we can cycle or run with Peloton, row with Hydrow, strength train with Tonal, or other ‘stuff’ with Mirror.

Next year we will see a lot more options to work out at home. We’ll see more connected cycles, rowing machines, and probably some kind of Smith machine. The devices listed above are all expensive, so expect to see the prices tumble with more competition, despite the loss-leading business models (see #3 above).

5. Facebook version 2

In terms of user experience, Facebook will relaunch itself next year. It will be unrecognisable from where it is today.

The messenger apps, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram will all communicate with each other. We may even see content shared across platforms.

Facebook stories will replace the news feed altogether, moving Facebook closer to Instagram.

In Facebook, there will be more focus on groups and pages. Expect to see much more ecommerce links inside Facebook’s suite of apps (Instagram and maybe WhatsApp), maybe even launching a full-on marketplace such as Amazon or eBay.

These changes will all be fuelled by DAU (Daily Active Users) stagnating or even dropping.

6. The environment

In 2020, wastage will become socially unacceptable

In 2020 we will start to see a change in the public perception of environmental support. It will become socially unacceptable to see wastage, whether that’s food, electricity or any other resource.

Companies will publicise their efforts of reducing waste. There will be a priority on reusing more than recycling.

Technology will help consumers to reuse unwanted stuff, from food to furniture. We already have websites such as freecycle (which is excellent, and highly recommended for anything you want to dispose of), but we’ll see a new wave of apps and services in 2020.

7. Apple accepts payments

Just imagine if the new iPad, the iPhone 12, or the next Samsung Galaxy will accept contactless payments. This will turn every handset into a payment device. It would significantly replace the number of cash transactions with cards.

Fraud might be a simpler issue than expected because every mobile device is tied to a person’s digital identity.

This could be a game changer for payments and enable the phone manufacturers to compete on something other than cameras.

8. Nostalgia

Our media is full of nostalgia, and I expect this to spill over into other areas of life. Top Gun 2 will be released in 2020, and I’ve heard the latest trailer being described as “The Nostalgia Trailer”, and “The Last Skywalker” was full of nostalgic moments.

How will this affect technology? Maybe we’ll see a return of Nokia (where standby is measured in months not hours!).

Oh, apparently old TVs are still much better than LCDs (or OLEDs) for games.

9. I’ll write more articles

Finally, I haven’t been writing many articles for the last couple of years, but my [only] New Year’s Resolution is to write more in 2020. At least this prediction is in my control!

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