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digital trends

The top tech trends to watch out for this year

January 14, 2020

Emerging technologies continue to show the rapid rate of human innovation. The rise of social robots and widespread use of cloud-based services have dominated the news and creating real change in how we do business and go about our lives. But what are the tech trends to watch out for in 2020?

Much of the upcoming technological development expected looks at generating value by contributing to pre-existing systems and software.

Voice recognition

Voice recognition technology has improved and is expected to remain popular even though many services still suffer from poor usability providing only partial assistance for straightforward queries. Google reported that 62% of users carry out voice-based shopping and plan their purchases through smart speakers such as Google Home, a trend expected to continue on an upward trajectory.

Prescriptive analytics

Analytics tools have centred historically on descriptive and predictive applications. Commonly known as the use of technology to help businesses make better decisions through the analysis of raw data, prescriptive analytics is the final phase of business analytics and is likely to become increasingly mainstream in 2020. It has already been used in the oil and gas industry as well as in healthcare, but its potential is far reaching.  As models used continue to evolve, predictions will become increasingly accurate over time.

SaaS and AI services

Artificial intelligence (AI) has arguably become one of the most talked-about technologies of the decade. According to experts its role and application is likely to develop further still. Companies are already offering a range of AI services on a subscription basis. Machine learning solutions and training materials are part of Google and Microsoft’s product range with more to come in 2020.

Natural language processing

Many organisations have incorporated a virtual customer assistant or a chatbot utilising some type of NLP into their customer services. While their use is becoming more and more common, the way language is used remains limited. System integration is expected to improve results however and the use of AI in communication is predicted to lead to greater adoption of AI communication tools.

Mainstream technologies in use today will continue to be a major feature of the tools of tomorrow. To some, among the most important and interesting developments will be the extent to which new and transformative technologies are allowed to freely change the world around us. How governments choose to legislate the environment and protect users by securing their data (or not) will be worth keeping an eye on.

Mobile commerce

A growing number of consumers use their mobile device to conduct research prior to, or for, making a purchase. According to a report by Javelin, smartphone-enabled purchases are likely to hit $319 billion by 2020, compared to just $122 billion in 2015. Systems such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet are going to become a necessity for brick-and-mortar stores. One need only look to China, where panhandlers use QR codes and accept Alipay and WeChat as forms of payment, to get a sense of where the future is headed.


Mobile commerce is likely to grow in part following the introduction of 5G. As the network becomes increasingly mainstream and internet speeds soar, so too will the use of wireless handheld devices like cell phones and tablets to conduct commercial transactions online. 2019 already witnessed multiple network launches in the world’s biggest cities. The latest GSMA report predicted 5G to account for 15% of global connections by 2025.

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