Five Top Tech Predictions for 2020 and beyond.
The five top tech predictions for 2020 and beyond are (in no particular order):-
- 5G will be the norm
- Electric Vehicle charging points will match gas stations
- Humans will be augmented
- Personal Flying Transportation will take Off
- Climate change will transform tech
5G will be the norm
5G is the fifth generation wireless technology for digital cellular networks and is the fastest wireless technology, but provides the shortest reach meaning more antennas are required than 4G technology. 5G provides potential speeds of up to 10Gbits/s which is much faster than 4G. EE are leading the way in the UK on 5G rollout and have a target of having 5G live in more than 70 cities and large towns by March 2020 in time for the launch of a number of 5G devices.
Not all mobile phones support 5G. Samsung have a range of 5G phones including the Galaxy S10, A90 and the fold. Apple have not yet released any 5G devices but rumours lead us to believe they will release a 5G device in September. Huawei, Oneplus, Xiaomi and Oppo have all released 5G handsets.
5G has a number of other uses which will help revolutionise tech. Uses include; Driverless Cars, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the Internet.
5G is already in some of the busiest places in the UK including:-
- London Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Charing Cross, Highbury, Islington, New Cross Gate Overground and Shoreditch High Street Overground
- Market Street on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile
- Bristol Parkway
- Cardiff’s St David’s shopping centre and Morgan Arcade
- London’s Picadilly Circus, Clapham Common and Hampton Court Palace Gardens
- Manchester’s Albert Square
- Belfast’s Great Northern Mall and City Hall
- Birmingham’s Victoria Square, the Mailbox and Brindley Place
Electric Vehicle charging points will match Gas Stations
The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged no Electric Vehicle driver should be more than 30 miles from a charger. According to Zapmap, there are about 15,500 public charging points in the UK with most having multiple connectors which means there are actually 26,500 plugs to use as of Jan 2020. When measured against the number of petrol stations and pumps in the UK it is clear how quickly the Electric Vehicle revolution is moving. As of January 2020 there are 8,400 fuel stations in Britain with 68,000 pumps.
The UK government have made proposals exploring the idea of charging points coming standard in new homes and offices and suggested new street lighting could include charging points for off street parking.
If you own an electric vehicle and want to plan the route of a long distance journey before travelling ZapMap provides a route planner detailing all the charging stops on route. If you own a Tesla you’ll have access to their journey planner which can calculate the route based on the range of the car as it’s specific to Tesla.
Humans will be Augmented
Use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will dramatically increase throughout 2020 and beyond. Humans will be augmented frequently rather than replaced altogether. The Augmented Humans (AHs) International Conference is held in Germany in March and focuses on physical, cognitive and perceptual augmentation of humans through digital technologies.
The Augmented Humans website states “The idea of augmenting the human intellect has a long tradition, the term was coined by Douglas Engelbart in 1962. Today, many of the technologies envisioned by Engelbart and others are commonplace and looking towards the future, many technologies which amplify the human body and mind far beyond the original vision are within reach”.
The US Department of Defense has recently declassified a report from late 2019 that details plans for “human / machine fusion”. These Augmented Human beings will have enhanced senses such as eyesight and hearing and could be equipped with wearables to make them stronger and enhance performance beyond the normal human baseline.
The slightly more terrifying part is the potential for direct neural enhancement of the human brain for two way data transfer. This could be compared to connecting soldiers minds to computers so information can be instantaneously transferred or the control of driverless vehicles through thought. These ideas are of course a little further afield than 2020 and it’s extremely unlikely they could be implemented any sooner than 20 to 30 years.
Personal Flying Transportation will Take Off
Hyundai have claimed they will mass produce an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft they have displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Not only will they mass produce this car but they will produce them for Ubers network of air taxi’s. Uber have stated they will perform test flights in 2020 with plans to launch a version of the service in 2023.
This all sounds extremely ambitious as Uber have plans to launch their service in 2023 and Hyundai’s vehicle is still only a prototype. The technology is in the early stages and there are a number of challenging regulatory issues both companies will face. Around a year ago Uber released images of its own concept aircraft with the hope of attracting partners to manufacture the vehicle.
Uber are not the only company with ambitions to produce a flying taxi / car. AeroMobil are on their fourth prototype, Airbus Vahana have ambitions to create a self piloted ‘Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft (VTOL), Kitty Hawk have a prototype which doesn’t require a pilots licence to drive it and Canadian firm Opener have developed a VTOL that combined piloting with a number of automatic features including auto landing and automated return home functions.
Climate Change Will Transform Tech
Climate change awareness will birth many new tech companies focused purely on climate change technology. Last year, California generated 19% of its electricity from solar power when 10 years ago the figure was less than 1%. Solar energy production worldwide has increased nearly 2,000% from 10 years ago.
UK law dictates that by 2050 carbon emissions will be almost zero and any remaining emissions will be offset. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed disbelief that technology will solve the problem but many say the technology may certainly emerge at scale but it should be a bonus.
Electric Vehicle Batteries are playing a critical role in climate change. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded three scientists a Nobel prize in October for their work in developing lithium-ion batteries. Lithium batteries are smaller and lighter than earlier rechargeable batteries and charge faster and more often. As weight and price of these batteries continues to fall they are helping to drive down the price of electric vehicles.
Solar panels and wind turbines which turn sun and wind into electricity without releasing greenhouse gases have come down in price to become cheaper than fossil fuels. Not only is it cheap, it is reliable and as technology advances, storing and distributing it will improve as the primary challenge is generating and storing electricity with no sun or wind.
What do you think of these predictions? Let us know in the comments.