The future is here and now! These are the top 3 new technologies that will make IT’s life that much easier in 2020.

IT staff, the tech-savvy or geeks as we are known, differ a little from the general consumer and rarely offer blind allegiance to a company, product or technology unless there are tangible benefits involved. We can get excited about a new first-person-shooter game, new piece of software, hardware or consumer device. Similarly, we can dismiss a new ‘innovation’ out of hand, being oh so knowledgeable about the technical, privacy or security failings involved. And we discuss all of these opinions online, on the Dark Web and in coffee shops. So, what are we excited about for 2020?

Well, it’s a long list so some cutting is necessary. Let’s start with the big one… 5G.Learn about the latest file transfer predictions for 2020. Sign up for this upcoming webinar.

1. Telecoms, Broadcasting, and 5G

I currently own a 4G phone (an Oppo R9+, if you’re curious) and have no plans to upgrade to a 5G smartphone. In theory, the rollout of 5G has many benefits, and ignoring possible health implications,  who doesn’t want more speed? The business benefits are obvious but theoretical speeds in the lab aside, how fast will it really be? How about coverage, and most importantly, cost?

Given the speed involved, will data plans increase exponentially along with the pricing? Until reliability and costs are known, then I believe 5G is firmly in the hands of early adopters. We wish you luck as, the same as 4G and 3G before that, your network access and speed will depend on your carrier, the subscriber numbers, and your location, given that 5G is generally operating from the same infrastructure as before. Of course, mass adoption will cause issues for data centers. How much storage is required (temporary or fixed) to stream 4K broadcasts to a few million users?

Forecasts that 5G will be a disruptive technology are quite true but disruptive in the traditional sense (i.e. cause problems)…unless carriers are prepared to offer cost-effective data plans without data caps under a fair usage policy that could be used in hours or even minutes. For example, AT&T offer a few ‘unlimited’ data plans, with the highest cap being 100Gb – after that, speed will be reduced if the network is busy.

One hundred Gbs might seem like a lot but not if you’re an avid streamer in HD or 4K. According to Android Central, streaming a 4K/UHD movie uses 7.2Gb per hour. You do the math. That said, most of us connect smartphones to Wi-Fi when possible so 5G could be useful for essential or sporadic use, perhaps during short commutes.

For business users, it will indeed be disruptive, in the modern sense, and could aid productivity, with users gaining precious microseconds when sending emails or using cloud services. In addition, 5G, once fully rolled out, will allow progression of autonomous vehicles and expand the IoT even further, which in itself could make our lives easier.

2. Who Needs Reality? The Case for VR, AR, and MR

When the daily drudge of working life creates the urge to go ballistic, escaping from reality is certainly an option in 2020. Cue fanfare… XR (extended reality) will be a thing in 2020 and I can certainly see the appeal, driven in no small part by Valve’s planned March 2020 release of Half Life Alyx, exclusive for VR (virtual reality).  

XR includes VR, AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality). If reality bites, then an alternative is worth considering and will certainly reduce workplace hostilities… much better than a power nap, in my opinion.

While up to now, XR has been limited to user entertainment, perhaps, in 2020, it could make our lives easier. Security awareness training is one area that could make it very useful. VR could make it a fully submersive experience or with MR, users could interact with digital objects in the real world i.e. opening emails with clicking links to malware. The technology could also be used to test candidate skills for IT roles or as a part of additional training in new skills. Given the cybersecurity skill shortage, inhouse training in this manner could certainly make life easier.

Here are just a few ways examples of how these technologies could be mainstream in the near future.